Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the San Francisco-based startup Airbnb was on its flight to success. Going into 2020, Airbnb was a behemoth in online travel with around 13,000 employees and 31 offices around the world. Like many others in the industry, Airbnb suffered a significant blow during the pandemic as travel came to a halt in many parts of the world. Its valuation reportedly dropped from $31 billion to $18 billion a month later. It laid off almost 1,900 employees, or nearly 25% of its workforce, in May. However, as the company emerges from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it has filed to go public in a long-awaited listing.
On Wednesday, the company confidentially submitted its filing for an initial public offering (IPO) to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company has not decided anything on the price range and size of the offering.
Airbnb remains one of the most highly anticipated stock listings of the year. CEO Brian Chesky originally intended to initiate the listing process with the SEC on March 31. It was before Covid-19 closed borders, grounded flights to a halt, and left the company with more than $1 billion in cancellations. With the markets in turmoil, plans were put on hold.
Airbnb’s revenue fell to $335 million in the second quarter. It was down at least 67 percent from more than $1 billion the company reported in the same period last year. The company also recorded a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $400 million for the three months that ended in June. The shift reveals the magnitude of the impact of the pandemic on global travel.
“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime,” Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky said.
However, a comeback for travel after the pandemic hit the peek was faster than expected. The company began to notice signs of recovery in June. The booking rate was only down to 30 percent when compared to the previous year. While for May, the decline was 70 percent. Additionally, on July 8, guests booked more than 1 million nights of future stays at Airbnb properties. It is the first time the company has hit that threshold since March 3.