Reading last month’s headlines, such as “Airbnb soars to near $100bn valuation as shares more than double in IPO [initial public offering]. Company trades at over $150 a share from initial $68 price,” and you would be hard-pressed to say there had been the covid-19 disease limiting travel around the world over the past year.
Stock markets, of course, try and price future earnings. As a result investors have discounted the Financial Times’s estimated $710bn year-on-year loss of revenue to the travel industry from covid and whether it will continue to bleed money if people struggle to travel still. Of crucial importance to accommodation and travel companies is whether the disruption in corporate travel will revive or is more akin to the accelerated decline of bricks-and-mortar retailers at the hands of their online rivals.
Airbnb’s advantage, of course, is it leverages other people’s assets to build its business. By renting out people’s homes rather than spending capital on infrastructure, such as planes and hotels, Airbnb can potentially adjust if there are more or fewer travellers.
Other business models are less clear-cut to succeed and so dealmaking slowed considerably last year with money and interest instead shifting towards virtual business operators, such as online event platforms, such as Hopin and Brella (which will host the GCVDigitalForum.com from 21-27 January), and video calls, such as Zoom.
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