The Market Is Sleeping on This Popular Travel Stock

Mar 13, 2022

In October, I made a slightly controversial statement:

Things weren’t looking great for Airbnb (ABNB).

Even though travel was picking up as the pandemic waned, Airbnb mentions were stalling versus those of its peers.

It just didn’t have the same level of growth and momentum as traditional names in the travel industry that were getting their wings back.

The market agreed. ABNB shares have shed as much as -18% in value since then, and currently trade -10% lower versus where they traded in October.

But the best part about LikeFolio data is that it allows me to revisit a stock in real time to see if things are continuing as expected or turning around when it comes to consumer demand and sentiment.

And based on my last check of ABNB, I’m impressed.

See for yourself.

Airbnb Demand Is Surging in the Current Quarter, Outperforming Traditional Peers

After comparative stalling for a year, mentions of booking a reservation via Airbnb have increased by +25% year-over-year (YoY) and +30% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ).

When we look at a more near-term view of that moving average, ABNB’s demand growth is even more impressive.

Take a look at how ABNB is performing versus peers.

While the Purchase Intent line chart above shows +25% YoY growth on a 90-day moving average, the Outlier Grid below shows more than +50% growth on a 30-day moving average, which indicates ABNB demand growth is accelerating.

To be fair, all traditional lodging sites are gaining steam on a YoY basis – but ABNB is gaining the MOST steam.

Airbnb Sentiment Is Improving

But ABNB has the lowest sentiment, you might say.

True.

But the company is getting better.

Airbnb consumer happiness has improved by +4% YoY, and this is alongside an uptick in usage. That’s definitely what you want to see.

But perhaps the most convincing are the major consumer macro trends that are propelling ABNB.

Airbnb Has Major Consumer Macro Tailwinds

COVID-19 fears continue to wane.

And COVID-19 fears related to travel are falling off the map.

At the same time, trends related to international and leisure travel continue to boom.

This means consumers are more likely to visit urban and even international locations again – which bodes well for Airbnb.

On its last report, Airbnb confirmed our suspicions: “Q4 nights booked at urban destinations have recovered to — nearly recovered to Q4 2019 levels. And cross border travel also continues to recover and improved each quarter in 2021. Guests are planning to travel despite variants and surges.”

The Bottom Line

Consumers are traveling. Airbnb is stepping up to meet demand. And LikeFolio data is on top of it. This is a great case study for using real-time consumer insights to keep up with trading and investing hypotheses.

While we were once worried that ABNB didn’t have quite the momentum as traditional peers, this is no longer the case.

In fact, now it appears the market may be undervaluing the peer-hosted alternative lodging network. LikeFolio members can keep an eye out for any official alerts regarding ABNB — and other names, for that matter.

Regardless, we’ll rest easy knowing we’ve got the voice of consumers backing up our strategy.

Megan Brantley
Head of Research, LikeFolio