Airbnb ‘very happy’ with brand spend as bookings hit record high

Airbnb is poised to “modestly” increase marketing spend in the second half of the year as it eyes expansion into new markets.


Airbnb is plotting a “modest increase” in overall marketing investment during the second half of the year, with CFO Dave Stephenson claiming the business is “very happy” with its approach to brand spend.

Speaking with investors yesterday (2 August) on the publication of Airbnb’s second quarter results, Stephenson said the company is currently “investing fully” in marketing and intends to expand the countries where this investment is being made.

“Later this year and into early next, you could see us expanding into more countries because we’re seeing such good success with our investment right now,” Stephenson added.

The company’s sales and marketing spend increased over the second quarter, up to $379.8m (£315m) from $345m (£283.5m) last quarter. The travel giant said it has worked on maintaining “high marketing efficiency” during the quarter.

Airbnb CFO: We were right to shift spend from performance to brand-building

Almost 104 million bookings were made between April and June, a record high. Second quarter revenue hit $2.1bn (£1.7bn), growing 58% year on year and exceeding the same period in 2019 by 73%. The company’s net income of $379m (£315m) makes this Airbnb’s “most profitable” second quarter to date.

In the company’s fourth quarter 2021 results, it said it had made the right decision to shift its marketing strategy from being “dependent” on search engine marketing to being more brand-driven.

Stephenson reiterated yesterday that the business is confident in its approach to brand spend, describing Airbnb’s ability to market to guests and hosts at the same time as one of the company’s “big strengths”. He claims 90% of Airbnb’s traffic is either direct or unpaid.

“I think this brand strategy, frankly, it’s more of a product marketing strategy that we have to market the features and capabilities that we have in Airbnb what makes us different. That has been a huge strength for us,” Stephenson added.

Airbnb is expecting to generate the highest quarterly revenue in its history in the third quarter, of between $2.78bn (£2.28bn) and $2.88bn (£2.36bn). This represents year on year growth of between 24% and 29%, and a 69% to 75% increase compared to pre-Covid levels in 2019.