Skift Take

Airbnb's revenue stream wasn't as internationally diverse in the second quarter as it was pre-pandemic, but it is slowly creeping back to that level as international markets open.

From the onset of a U.S. Treasury Department probe into attempted payments to hosts at sanctioned Russian banks to restructuring costs related to its work from home policy, Airbnb’s second quarter financial filing had interesting factoids that didn’t receive broad notice.

  1. Office of Foreign Assets Control Probe

Airbnb said the Office of Foreign Assets Control, a unit of the U.S. Treasury Department, began a civil investigation into “certain payment instructions involving attempted payouts to Hosts’ bank accounts at sanctioned Russian banks.”

Airbnb said it “identified certain transactions that may potentially implicate” the economic sanctions against Russia that the U.S., UK and European Union put into place earlier this year because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine beginning in February 2022. The company said it notified regulators about the issue.

A U.S. Treasury Department spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

Airbnb stated in its financial filing that it doesn’t believe resolution of the issue would have a material impact on its financials. 

2. Work From Home Restructuring Costs

Because Airbnb adopted a work from home policy for employees, permitting them to work from anywhere in the country where they are employed, the company incurred an $88.7 million restructuring cost in the second quarter related to impairment of “operating lease right-of-use assets.”

Airbnb undoubtably would have future cost savings from operating out of less office space.

3. Half of Airbnb’s Revenue Came From U.S. Stays

Airbnb became less of a U.S.-centric company in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, but because cross-border travel is just starting to pick up and parts of Asia are still closed to international travelers, Airbnb’s revenue has not yet approached the non-U.S. bent it had pre-pandemic.

Airbnb’s revenue from U.S. stays was just less than 50 percent of total revenue in the first six months of 2022, and stood at 57.6 percent of revenue in the first six months of 2021. The company was way more geographically diverse in full-year 2019, for example, when only 36.8 percent of revenue was generated in the U.S.

4. Airbnb Is Sticking With Its Vow Not To Let Marketing Costs Soar

As also discussed during its second quarter earnings call last week, Airbnb is on pace in 2022 to keep in check its sales and marketing costs as a percent of revenue.

That mark was 34 percent of revenue in 2019, but although its marketing spend is increasing, in the first six months of 2022, Airbnb spent just 20 percent of total revenue on sales and marketing.  

During the second quarter of 2022, Airbnb increased its digital marketing spend in search engines, as well as on advertising campaigns for its expanded categories search, and Made Possible by Hosts.

“We anticipate marketing as a percentage of revenue in 2022 will be consistent with 2021 (20 percent of total revenue),” Chief Financial Officer David Stephenson said last week.  “So a very modest increase in the back half of the year.”

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Tags: airbnb, earnings, future of lodging, russia, sales and marketing, sanctions, ukraine, work from anywhere

Photo credit: Family travel in Airbnbs. The company is reducing is reliance on U.S. revenue compared with last year.