Airbnb’s pandemic slingshot nears completion

Today after the bell, home rental giant Airbnb reported its Q4 2021 performance. Its numbers detail a company that endured an awful start to the COVID-19 era, survived, and has come out the other end of demand disruption in perhaps better health than it entered.

The company’s profitability and improved revenues when compared to 2019 are a somewhat stark contrast to recent layoffs at Hopin. Hopin, a company that provides software that supports virtual or hybrid events, saw demand for its service soar at the same time when Airbnb was seeing its own operating results deteriorate. And this week Hopin cut a double-digit percentage of its staff.

The pandemic giveth, and then pandemic taketh away. Or perhaps it taketh away, and then re-giveth. You get the idea.

Let’s chat through Airbnb’s quarterly results’ highlights and our occasional quibble as we digest a world for technology companies that appears increasingly like the pre-pandemic days.

Airbnb’s Q4

In the fourth quarter, Airbnb saw $11.3 billion worth of total platform activity (GMV), which led to revenues of $1.53 billion, and net income of $55 million. For the full 2021 period, Airbnb recorded $46.9 billion worth of platform activity, $6.0 billion in total top line and a net loss of $352 million.

Analysts had expected Airbnb to report $1.46 billion in top-line for the fourth quarter, and adjusted earnings per share of $0.03 — Yahoo Finance pegs the company’s adjusted EPS at $0.08 for the quarter, so Airbnb racked up a top-and-bottom beat in the fourth quarter. The company also beat GMV expectations by around $200 million.

That all looks good, yeah? Well, there areĀ some reasons to be modestly critical of the company’s financial performance. Let’s chat lesser results and then consider how far Airbnb has come from its own pandemic low when it cut staff and took on expensive capital to ensure its survival.

OK, let’s get mean

Some might find it in poor taste to dig up the less salubrious bits of an earnings report that was generally positive, especially when the company in question’s stock is up in after-hours trading. To which we say, what’s life without a little nitpicking?

Shares of Airbnb rose 6% during regular hours, and another 4% after its earnings dropped. The street is happy.

The other side of the sunny Airbnb coin includes the following: