Airbnb is planning to go public next month with the wind against its back. Promising news about a Covid-19 vaccine this week has sent travel stocks soaring. Investor demand for initial public offerings is likely to remain high, particularly for a household name like Airbnb. Of course, those good vibes could dissipate quickly if people focus more on the pandemic’s current resurgence.
But what shape will Airbnb take in the coming years? That has become particularly cloudy. The travel industry leader in short-term home rentals once plotted a road map that aimed to turn it into an all-in-one travel app. In this scenario, people could have used Airbnb to book flights, ground transportation, event tickets and hotels. Airbnb mostly has blown up that plan, given the toll Covid-19 has taken on its business. It is now focusing on its core market, home rentals, which raises the question of how to gauge its business and market opportunity going forward.