Airbnb looks like it has shaken off the worst effects of the pandemic more than Uber, judging by third-quarter numbers released this afternoon. Neither company showed they were yet back to their pre-Covid position in terms of business volume. But they’re both looking much healthier financially, thanks both to cost-cutting prompted by the pandemic and higher prices.
Airbnb’s report showed that the number of “nights and experiences” booked fell short of the third quarter in 2019 by 7%. But Airbnb customers paid a lot more for each one of those “nights and experiences,” allowing the travel firm to report significantly higher revenue. That translated to $518 million of “free cash” generated in the quarter—a wonky term for cash flowing from operations, less capital expenditures. That’s a contrast to the same period in 2019 when Airbnb was burning through money.