Airbnb pressing ahead with floating on stock market

Airbnb pressing ahead with floating on stock market, even as coronavirus pandemic hammers bookings

Airbnb is pressing ahead with floating on the stock market, even as the pandemic hammers bookings. 

The accommodation booking app has long been expected to list in New York but delayed the move because of the coronavirus outbreak in March. 

Pressing ahead: The accommodation booking app delayed plans to float because of the coronavirus outbreak in March

The business has now filed paperwork to begin the process again, although no details on timings or price have been confirmed. 

The company was recently valued at $18billion (£13.8billion) in a fundraising, potentially making its stock market debut one of the biggest in recent years. 

The hospitality industry has been left reeling as virus lockdowns and travel restrictions have stopped people going out and torpedoed their holidays abroad. As a result Airbnb suffered $1billion worth of cancellations earlier this year and was forced to lay off a quarter of its staff. 

It prompted the firm to pledge a $250m relief fund for its hosts and raise $2billion from investors to help keep itself afloat. 

However, the company recently claimed bookings are recovering and that customers are more comfortable staying in private accommodation than hotels. On July 8, guests booked more than 1m nights’ worth of future business – the first time that threshold had been reached since March 3. 

San Francisco-based Airbnb was founded in 2008 by roommates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, who put an air mattress in their apartment and turned it into a bed and breakfast. It has since grown to offer 7m properties in more than 200 countries through its website and app, catering for 2m guests per night on average before the pandemic.

It has also faced criticism for poor oversight of ‘party flats’ in some cities – including an empty block of London apartments that was effectively being run as an unlicensed hotel. 

Chesky, 38, has since pledged to take the company ‘back to basics and apologised for its impact on some cities. ‘We grew so fast, we made mistakes,’ he told The Sunday Times earlier this month.