Airbnb revenue surges as countries open up for vaccinated travelers

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FILE PHOTO: Airbnb logo is seen on a little mini pyramid under the glass Pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris

(Reuters) - Airbnb Inc's quarterly revenue topped Wall Street expectations and the short-term home rental company said on Thursday a rebound in global travel amid rising vaccination rates in the last three months of the year would drive growth in 2022.

International travel search volumes have been rising as countries, including the United States, start to ease pandemic-related restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors.

Easing lockdowns have helped Airbnb recover from a steep drop in business early last year as leisure-seeking domestic travelers booked homes away from major cities. It now expects cross-border travel to further boost its revenue.

"We are seeing recovery in both longer-distance and cross-border travel this year, while domestic and short-distance travel continue to be more popular than 2019 levels," the company said in a statement.

The vacation rental said the recovery was dominated by North America and Europe - regions with higher average daily rates. It rose 15% to about $149 in the third quarter from a year earlier.

For the Thanksgiving week in the United States, Airbnb said as of Sept. 30, nights booked are 40% higher than same period in 2019.

With the pandemic causing a permanent step up in the lodging industry mix, analysts expect Airbnb to continue to grow in the alternative accommodation market, in which it has a more than 50% share among global online travel agents.

In the third quarter, gross bookings rose 48.8% to $11.9 billion. However, it missed market expectations of $12.23 billion.

Revenue rose 66.7% to $2.24 billion and beat estimates of $2.05 billion. Net income surged nearly four times to $833.9 million from a year earlier.

Airbnb forecast fourth-quarter revenue between $1.39 billion and $1.48 billion. Analysts on average estimated $1.44 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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