Nathan Blecharczyk on the future of short-term rentals

We sat down with Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk on Free Lunch By The Peak to talk about travel trends as the cost of living rises. Here's a sneak peek into the conversation: 

How did Airbnb come out of the pandemic? 

“We’re in a very good place right now, but when your revenue drops 80%, you have to make hard choices. We doubled down on our core business. We shortened project cycles, which let us adapt to changes in user behaviour. People weren't travelling internationally, but they wanted to leave their houses. They were going to nearby, rural areas. A home is a great way to do that. People still have flexibility in terms of where they work. So that trend persists.”

What do you think is driving the rising cost of travel? 

“When there's a lot of demand and finite supply, prices go up. There’s also inflation, so the underlying costs of everything have gone up. Airbnb exists in the context of the real world and the real world has gotten more expensive. I think we’ll see a resurgence in room rentals, because people are thinking twice about their budget. We started as being kind of a budget alternative, so the launch of Airbnb Rooms goes back to the founding story.”

Does Airbnb take housing supply off the market? 

“All the Airbnb listings in Canada account for less than 1% of the housing stock. Generally speaking, most hosts are ordinary people, and 45% say they use the income to offset their rising living costs. Governments generally support this, but there have to be guardrails to make sure that large-scale operators aren't coming in and having a disproportionate impact. Two years ago, we launched a city portal to help governments better enforce their rules.” 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. To catch the full interview with Nathan Blecharczyk, subscribe to Free Lunch by The Peak wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also read our story on the launch of Airbnb Rooms from Wednesday’s edition of The Peak.