All of Airbnb's competitors are vying for new listings, as well, so the company has some high targets to reach. And 2026 sometimes feels like it's a decade away; plenty of unknowns will shape prospects.
Whoever has the most short-term rental listings wins, right? OK, that’s a simplistic view. But with Airbnb’s revenue per available room forecast to decline a tad over the next four years compared with 2019, it would have to count on listings growth to hit analysts’ bookings expectations in 2026.
That’s the view of one financial analyst, Jake Fuller of BTIG Research, who thinks it’s more likely than not — “we bias to the downside” — that Airbnb would be unable to expand its listings fast enough to meet forecasts.
Fuller argued in a research note Wednesday that Airbnb would need to add 5 million new listings through 2026 to hit $104 billion in bookings, the current consensus forecast. That’s a heavy lift considering the estimated 3.3 million listings that Airbnb onboarded from 2017 to 2022, Fuller wrote.
Fuller said Airbnb would need to add an estimated 1 million listings per year to reach consensus numbers by 2026.
Fuller characterized the task as “feasible, but hard to see.”
Source: Similarweb and BTIG Research
Fuller sees website traffic as an indicator of Airbnb’s room night trends. “Airbnb traffic comps went negative in April (-4 percent) and the decline in May has widened (-13 percent),” BTIG found. The declines in May were more severe than at rivals Booking.com (-4 percent) and Expedia (-6 percent), according to the research note.
Airbnb declined to comment about the BTIG report.
However, in its most recent earnings call last month, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said that making it easier to host and turning hosting into a mainstream endeavor is a key focus for the company.
“I think our long-term growth is going to only be as strong as our supply,” Chesky said.
Airbnb said in early May that listings climbed 16 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, and 18 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Still, the share price of Airbnb stock swooned in conjunction with first quarter earnings when it published what Bloomberg characterized as a “cautious revenue outlook” based on economic uncertainties that may finally dampen travelers’ desire to hit the road.
The BTIG report cast doubt on whether Airbnb could keep up the necessary listings growth.
The skepticism about Airbnb’s potential listings growth comes as some platforms worry about oversupply given some softness in demand in certain geographies for vacation rentals. And Airbnb seems to be matching demand in some well-visited markets.
Still, it’s a long way to 2026.
Photo credit: An Airbnb host in Malindi, Kenya. Adding new listings and hosts is a key focus for Airbnb. Source. Airbnb