Airbnb CEO Warns Travel 'Will Never Go Back To Normal'

gray and white airplane on flight near clear blue sky

Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky told Reuters Thursday that domestic travel will never go back to the way it was before the virus pandemic. 

Chesky spoke with Jonathan Weber, Reuters global technology editor, via Zoom, who said business travel is shifting to leisure travel because technologies like Zoom can make teleconferencing possible. 

He uncovers the next big trend in travel, which by the way could start this summer - indicating that people aren't going to be travel to the top largest 50 cities in the world and stay in crowded hotels - what they're going to do is "many people will travel by car - some will travel by plane - and they're going to travel to thousands of smaller communities. And many of these communities are going to be smaller cities and or even rural areas." 

Chesky said, "farm stays are huge right now." He said most Americans have never visited the national parks, with another suggestion that these parks will be huge among travelers in the coming months. 

An in-house survey completed by Airbnb said 54% of Americans are either planning to travel in 2021, or they're currently planning their travel plans for the summer months. Chesky, citing the survey, said travelers are "yearning for what was taken away from them." He said, "they're not yearning to see Times Square. What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time."

Here's the full interview (for Chesky's comments on travel go to 28-minute mark): 

After the startup put its IPO plans on ice in March due to the pandemic and collapse in travel and tourism. By April, room bookings had plunged 72%. Airbnb rolled out a blanket refund policy and doled out more than $1 billion in cancellation fees. 

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Wendell Brown 1 month ago Member's comment

Seems awfully self-serving for him to claim that the future of travel is exactly what only his business can provide, ie places to stay in small-town America etc....