Interview Transcript

Last question, what do you think is the biggest risk to Airbnb growing in that five to seven-year range?

I think the biggest risk right now is to the health of the overall travel market in general. In terms of the current situation with Covid-19, I’m really actually worried, not necessarily about Airbnb itself, but a lot of these smaller players and these smaller operators and the property managers and the hosts and the hotels and the individuals that could be affected and might not actually come back from this. How do you actually recover from that, as well? They’re a huge part of what actually drives the local tourism forward. Losing a lot of those players, it’s going to be interesting just to see how the travel market overall recovers from that and how people start to think about travelling. We could still be dealing with the hangover affects of this in five years’ time for example. To use one that’s very topical right now.

We haven’t even discussed the impact of COVID-19 much. We’ve been focused on the story. I think Chesky released or the press released this week around Airbnb expect revenue to decrease by 50% this year.

Yes. Airbnb are saying they’ve just laid off 25 percent of their permanent full-time staff, as well. They were obviously a big company in the tech world and the travel world. Put up as this hugely successful company and they’re laying off folks. I am very worried about some of the smaller players and the smaller folks in this environment and how they can actually continue and survive.

That’s the majority of Airbnb’s supply, like you said, right?

Yes, they’re still individually renting their home. They might be able to weather this better, as well. It’s just also the providers and other folks that help and support those things, as well, how do they get through this over the next 12 months?

How do you think consumer behavior will change post-Covid, in terms of travelling properties you may choose, how you may travel?

That’s a very good question and one that could probably be debated for many hours. I think ultimately, we’re going to start seeing that international travel is going to be one that’s going to be affected for the longest period of time. It’s going to be people focusing on more taking those shorter trips closer to home over the next 12 months or so. I think it will be interesting how people start thinking about cleanliness in a home in a post-pandemic world, as well, and the steps that people need to go to, to ensure that you feel comfortable staying in those places. I actually think Airbnbs will be uniquely placed to accommodate some of those things and some of those unique needs that people might have.

It could be the reverse though. Where I know a hotel’s cleanliness standards, but I don’t this person’s standards.

Yes, for sure. As I said, it’s a good question. I think if I did have the exact answer to that, I’d probably be out there starting a business to focus on it right now.

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