What happened

Investors apparently didn't expect much from Airbnb's (NASDAQ:ABNB) Q4 results on Thursday. During market hours, they pushed the stock's price lower by over 9%. But after those figures were released following market close, the shares were rising by nearly 3%.

So what

In its first earnings release as a publicly traded company, Airbnb revealed that it took in revenue of $859 million. That was a queasy 22% drop from the same period one year ago, but it was far higher than the average analyst estimate of just under $740 million.

A family headed to the beach.

Image source: Getty Images.

On the bottom line, the do-it-yourself (DIY) accommodations platform operator booked a net loss of $3.9 billion, which was narrower than the $4.6 billion shortfall from the year-ago quarter. It was, however, deeper than the roughly $3.1 billion expected by prognosticators following the stock.

Airbnb's top line was higher than the company expected. In its observation, "Travel is coming back and we are laser-focused on preparing for the travel rebound." It also pointed out that the net loss was deeply affected by $2.8 billion in a non-cash, stock-based compensation charge stemming from the company's IPO.

Now what

People are indeed hungry to get away and they're doing so propelled by two strong tailwinds -- the desire to escape stay-at-home situations engendered by the coronavirus pandemic, and a wealth of deals presented by desperate airlines, travel operators, tour operators... really, nearly any business involved in the travel business. Airbnb is effectively harnessing this trend.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.