Despite continuing to suffer losses in the wake of the pandemic, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky expressed optimism about an upcoming summer full of pent-up travel demand.

Property investors rode a wild wave during the pandemic, with the short-term rental market stopping, then restarting, and property prices in many second-home markets soaring. What does the future hold for new second-homeowners and for managers of more robust property portfolios? We’ll explore that and more, all May long, at Inman.

The short-term rental industry is poised for a record-breaking summer. But industry giant Airbnb is still working to recover from a downturn in demand as a result of the pandemic.

The company reported a $1 billion net loss for the first quarter of 2021, according to a report released by the company on Thursday. Airbnb’s Q4 2020 earnings report revealed a net loss of $3.9 billion at that time.

Airbnb specified that the loss resulted from a $377 million repayment of term loans, a $292 million mark-to-market adjustment for warrants associated with a term loan, a $113 million impairment tied to leasing its office space in San Francisco and $229 million of stock-based compensation.

Still, with plenty of pent-up travel demand on the horizon, Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky expressed optimism.

Brian Chesky | Airbnb

“We are proud of our strong results,” Chesky said in a statement. “We surpassed 2019 revenue levels even though urban travel and cross-border travel, two of our strongest segments historically, have not yet recovered. We expect a travel rebound unlike anything we have seen before. Travel is coming back and Airbnb is ready.”

First-quarter revenue rose 5 percent year over year to $887 million, a factor the company largely attributed to higher average daily rates and fewer booking cancellations than during the first quarter of 2021. Revenue was also up 6 percent from Q1 2019.

In its earnings report, the company noted the significant and immediate impact vaccines and eased travel restrictions have had on bookings made through the platform. Once the U.K.’s restrictions eased in February and travel restrictions were eased in France in May, Airbnb noted a sharp increase in bookings in these regions. Similarly, searches made by guests 60 or older in the U.S., which were some of the earliest to get vaccinated, rose by over 60 percent between February and March.

Another trend that gained ground during the first quarter was a greater volume of long-term stays, which the company defines as 28 days or longer. About 24 percent of stays were long-term stays during Q1, up from 14 percent in 2019.

Bookings were up 13 percent between January and March from the same period the year before, and 21 percent from the same time in 2019. Those bookings brought the company $10.3 billion, up 52 percent from 2020 and up 3 percent from 2019.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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