Airbnb sees Q1 revenue above Street estimates on strong international travel

By Aishwarya Jain and Doyinsola Oladipo

-Short-term rental company Airbnb forecast first-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates on Tuesday, as it expects a boost from strong cross-border travel and longer-duration bookings.

International travel demand is expected to remain strong this year as global air connectivity increases and travelers flock to Asian and Latin American countries, while domestic travel demand plateaus in North America.

The San Francisco-based company expects revenue between $2.03 and $2.07 billion, compared with the average LSEG estimate of $2.03 billion.

"Making sure that we invest in these expansion countries where we're under-penetrated, I think that's going to continue to drive growth for us for the rest of the year," CFO David Stephenson said on a call with analysts.

The company, which now has over 5 million hosts and 7.7 million active listings, said it expects the growth rate of nights booked in the first quarter to moderate compared to the fourth quarter of 2023.

Shares of Airbnb fell 5% in extended trading, reversing course following a 9% rise after the company's earnings beat. Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share, excluding non-recurring tax items, came in at 76 cents, above estimates of 62 cents.

Travelers booked 98.8 million nights and experiences during the quarter ended Dec. 31, up 12% from a year earlier, with the strongest growth in Asia Pacific and Latin America. Nights booked in China were up nearly 90% year-over-year.

Average daily rates, or the cost per night, rose 3%, while nights booked for long-duration trips jumped 20%. Revenue came in at $2.20 billion, higher than its previous forecast.

The company, however, posted a quarterly net loss of $349 million, as outstanding income tax obligations in Italy weighed on its earnings.

Airbnb said in December it would pay $621 million to the Italian Revenue Agency for the 2017 to 2021 tax years, and warned the amounts that may need to be paid for 2022 and 2023 could be "material."

(Reporting by Aishwarya Jain in Bengaluru and Doyinsola Oladipo in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)