'Mass travel is going to be replaced by meaningful travel' -Airbnb CEO

Traditional tourism and sightseeing at top global destinations would be significantly reduced by travelers who will drive to smaller communities and fly less for business meetings.

The startup was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and its business dropped by 80% in a little over eight weeks.

However, as lockdowns eased, more travelers opted to book homes instead of hotels, helping Airbnb post a surprise profit for the third quarter. The San Francisco-based firm gained from increased interest in renting homes away from major cities.

Video Transcript

- Before the pandemic, business travel dominated travel. If you look at the majority of profits of hotels and airline, it was business travel. This interview would have been for me a business travel trip, for me to physically go to a conference with you. Now it's on Zoom. So business travel shifting to leisure travel.

What's going to happen is instead of people traveling only to the top 50 cities in the world, crowding in hotel districts, staying in hotel lobbies, going to see landmarks, what they're going to do is many people are going to now travel by car. People will get back on planes but they'll also travel by car. And they're going to travel to thousands of smaller communities.

And many of these communities are going to be smaller cities or even rural areas. Farm stays are huge now. National parks. There's 400 national parks in the United States. Most Americans have never visited one. This summer, I think you're going to see a lot more people visiting things like national parks.

We surveyed a sample size of Americans. And 54% of Americans said they either plan to travel in 2021 or they're currently planning their travel plans right now as we speak. But what they're telling us is the first trip they're yearning for was taken away from them. They're not yearning to go to Times Square. What they're yearning to do is see their friends and their family. They haven't seen them in a long time. And they want to spend time with them. So mass travel is going to be replaced by meaningful travel.