Despite the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb said 2021 was the “best year in Airbnb’s history” as the home-share giant posted its Q4 and full-year financial results.
Revenues for both Q4 and full-year 2021 were up nearly 80% year-over-year and surpassed 2019 levels, with Q4 revenue clocking in at $1.5 billion, up 78% year-over-year, and full-year 2021 revenue notching $6 billion, up 78% over the same period last year.
Overall, Airbnb ended 2021 with 25% year-over-two-year revenue growth.
The company also achieved its highest ever Q4 and full-year adjusted EBITDA, with Q4 adjusted EBITDA of $333 million, up from adjusted EBITDA Q4 losses of $21 million in 2020 and $276 million in 2019.
For the full year, adjusted EBITDA was $1.6 billion, or adjusted EBITDA margin of 27%, an improvement from negative 5% adjusted EBITDA margin in 2019.
Net income for Q4 2021 also hit a record for the fourth quarter at $55 million compared to a net loss of $3.9 billion in Q4 2020. For the full-year 2021, net loss improved $322 million compared to the same period in 2019.
Nights and Experiences booked for Q4 2021 were 73.4 million, up 59% year-over-year but down 3% compared to Q4 2019. In a call with analysts, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said that excluding the APAC region, nights and Experiences booked for the quarter were up 8% compared to Q4 2019.
For the full-year 2021, nights and Experiences were up 56% year-over-year to 300.6 million.
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For the fourth quarter of 2021, Airbnb saw gross booking value – defined as nights booked prior to cancellations and alterations – jump 91% year-over-year and 32% year-over-two-years to $11.3 billion, which the company attributes to strong recovery in nights and Experiences booked combined with higher average daily rates.
Gross booking value for the full-year 2021 was up 96% year-over-year and 23% year-over-two-year to $46.9 billion.
As more guests blend life and work, Airbnb said it has seen the average trip length increase by about 15%. Nearly half of nights booked in Q4 were for a week or longer, and one in five nights booked were for stays of a month or more.
Long-term stays remain the platform’s fasted-growing category by trip length and accounted for 22% of gross nights booked in Q4 2021, up 16% from the same period in 2019.
Airbnb said the Omicron variant had less of an impact on bookings and cancellations than it experienced with Delta last summer, and gross nights booked in December 2021 grew more than 40% from 2020 and the cancellation rate for the month was lower than the year prior.
The company said its Host community had six million active listings at the end of 2021 and earned a record $34 billion last year.
Sales and marketing expense for Q4 2021 decreased by 70% year-over-year to $217 million.
Its “Made possible by Hosts” marketing campaign, which launched in early 2021, launched new ads in the fall, resulting in an increase of traffic to the platform by about 20% in the countries were the campaign ran compared to Q4 2019.
Thanks to its “Ask A Superhost” program, the number of new active Hosts recruited through the initiative more than doubled in Q4 2021 compared to the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, Airbnb says its I’m Flexible feature has been used nearly 800 million times, up from the 500 million times reported in Q3 2021.
Chesky said Airbnb’s single priority in 2021 was to prepare for the travel rebound. To that end, the company unveiled more than 150 updates to improve the end-to-end experience for Hosts and guests.
Looking ahead, “in 2022 and beyond, we’re going to accelerate our pace of innovation and focus on three key priorities,” which are live anywhere on Airbnb, unlock the next generation of Hosts and Airbnb becomes the ultimate Host.
Chesky said the company has listened to thousands of people to understand what obstacles there are to becoming a Host and plans to systematically address the concerns.
As for Airbnb becoming the ultimate Host, Chesky said Airbnb “can be much more than a marketplace,” and its goal is to anticipate guest needs through a more personalized service.
“We are amidst the biggest change to travel since the advent of commercial flying," Chesky said. "Airbnb’s adaptable model and relentless innovation are making it possible for us to grow this new category of travel we created.”