Has Airbnb (ABNB 0.20%) become more than just a digital travel company? In this video clip from "The Virtual Opportunities Show" on Motley Fool Live, recorded on May 3, Fool.com contributors Rachel Warren and Travis Hoium share their thoughts on why Airbnb should be considered a tech platform, and one that is very enticing for investment.
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Rachel Warren: As you mentioned earlier, Airbnb is about to report its earnings for the first quarter of 2022. I think there's a lot of investors, including myself, that are watching this stock very closely. The company previously said they are expecting to report revenue between $1.41 and $1.48 billion. Analysts are estimating somewhere in the middle of that about 64% year-over-year revenue growth. Right now, analysts have been projecting that the company reports a loss per share of about $0.28. Just a couple of key numbers to keep in mind as we head into the earnings report here very shortly.
I will say looking at the company's report for the full year and fourth quarter in 2021, there has been such strong recovery, not just compared to 2020, where obviously travel slowed to a screeching halt. But another thing that I liked that Airbnb has been doing is they have been providing two-year comparisons, so as to enable investors to get a more accurate view of what is this growth actually looking like.
For example, in the fourth quarter of 2021, while nights and experiences booked were up 60% year-over-year compared to the same quarter in 2020, that segment, nights and experiences booked was only down 3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Really robust recovery there. Gross booking value was actually up 32% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Revenue was up about 40% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
The company actually reported positive net income in the final quarter of 2021. It was record net income. This is something where I've been very pleased to see Airbnb continually moving toward sustained profitability. That's something I'm definitely going to be watching. What does that bottom line looking like here in this most recent quarter? What kind of guidance are they giving for upcoming quarters?
I think it's been a really strong recovery. I mean, obviously, a company like Airbnb was going to be hit tremendously hard when the pandemic hit, and to see how quickly those metrics have recovered, over the course of 2021 I think it's very encouraging.
To hit on Joe's question, how should an investor look at Airbnb is it a tech platform or is it a travel company? I think it's essentially a tech platform that's public-facing as a travel company. This is maybe my opinion because I think the way it's built is very much like a tech platform, this is something that management has even said.
I think it has some unique competitive advantages against some of these companies like what is it? Booking Holdings (BKNG 0.27%), for example, because I think the way in which Airbnb is being used is different than some of these larger companies, like hotel companies Marriott (MAR -0.91%). You don't necessarily have people booking a Marriott to live in and work in for a long period in most cases.
Whereas that cohort of people that are living and working or just booking stays of 28 days or longer on Airbnb are accounting for more and more of their overall platform growth. I think there's a very specific need that Airbnb fills while also drawing regular vacationers, people that are staying for shorter periods. I think that does give it a bit of an edge over your traditional travel stock.
Travis Hoium: That goes to their pricing structure too and their fees. I know Bill Mann had a tweet that went viral over the weekend that was talking about how the fees, if you stay one night at an Airbnb, can be really exorbitant. That's kind of intentional I think. I mean, they don't necessarily want them and their hosts as well would much rather have somebody stay a week or a month, rather than staying one night, having to turn the place over, one other person stay one night.
I do think that they are being much more clear that the customer base is very different. But I agree that it is a tech platform, especially if you look at it in the case of like, you have the customers on one side, you have the suppliers on the other, and they are the choke point in the middle. That's where I'm not going to meet a customer or a host randomly on the internet. I have to go through Airbnb, so that's the definition of a platform.