While the hospitality industry takes a beating due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown, Airbnb is rather uniquely positioned as a business model and seems to be going off fine, in an otherwise battered scene. In line with that, the company is today announcing a $1 billion fundraise from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners, in the form of debt and equity.
The fundraise, which is unique in current times, will be deployed by Airbnb to “community of hosts who share their homes and experiences, as well as the work to serve all stakeholders in the Airbnb community”.
Announcing the fundraise, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said, “We’ll see a new flexibility in how people live and work, which means they won’t have to be tethered to one location. And with an emerging interest in travel that’s closer to home, our customers will look to nearby places to visit, and for local experiences to take part in.”
What Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners seem to have invested in, is a changed post-coronavirus reality, wherein remote working would take priority. And if one were to work remotely, there is always a preference to find places near to place of business, and one that is homely. Airbnb kind of provides just that, and hence presents a bright prospect in an otherwise grim hospitality scenario.
According to Chesky, the company will now look to focus on a few “core areas”. There will be an increased focus on long term stays and company’s recently announced ‘Airbnb Experiences’ verticals. “In the future, dreams of living in another community will become a growing reality—in homes that come with the benefits of Airbnb”, said Chesky.
Secondly, the company is also increasing focus on ‘Airbnb Experiences’. Ever since launch, the ‘Experiences’ vertical seems to have shown great promise, and hence deserved more focus. While there have been non specifics around what in particular, the company intends to do, you could see a more aggressive, dedicated business development support to hosts under the ‘Experiences’ section.