Airbnb CEO: Travelers will opt for smaller towns over big cities after COVID-19

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Airbnb’s CEO predicted on Thursday that travelers will begin to seek out smaller towns over big cities in the future due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Brian Chesky said that more people will opt to drive to smaller communities and spend more time visiting family and friends than travel to big cities for tourism sightseeing. He also predicted that people would use air travel less for business meetings, according to Reuters.

Travel has decreased during the coronavirus pandemic as stay-at-home orders and social distancing mandates have forced people across the globe to remain in their homes. Many Americans have refrained from seeing their families and friends for fear of spreading or contracting the virus from their loved ones. 

Chesky expressed that people are “yearning for what was taken away from them.”

“They’re not yearning to see Times Square,” Chesky said during an interview at Reuters Next conference. “What they are yearning to do is to see their friends and their families they have not seen in a long time.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Airbnb’s business plummeted by 80 percent in nearly eight weeks, according to the outlet. However, after more cities began to ease restrictions and reopen businesses, the company began to see more travelers book homes over hotels. 

Many of those home rentals were in small towns as opposed to larger cities, Reuters reported.

Airbnb recently announced that it would cancel reservations made in Washington, D.C., during the week of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration following the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

The service has banned people connected to last week’s violent riot at the Capitol from renting on its platform. 

Tags Airbnb Joe Biden

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