The Travel Brands Excited About Airbnb’s IPO
On Monday, Airbnb — the home-sharing, hotel-destroying startup founded in 2008 — submitted paperwork to the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering. This news alone doesn’t indicate a rebound, but a profitable third quarter sends an encouraging signal to businesses who cater to globetrotters.
The sun will rise again
Despite being a brutal year for the travel and tourism industry, this week brought some good news: Airbnb is looking to go public in mid-December and turned a profit of $219 million for the three months ended September 30. The company lost almost $700 million during the first nine months of 2020, so the most recent quarter’s results were welcomed news.
Airbnb is projected to achieve a valuation of approximately $30 billion, an unfathomable number during a time in which 71 percent of hotels say they won’t make it another six months without government assistance. With the winter months (and Christmas season) quickly approaching, hopes are high for a booming and prosperous start to 2021 as families look to get to warmer destinations, students anticipate spring break, and the rest of the world comes out of lockdowns.
Here are a few businesses that may benefit after getting hit hard.
Away and RIMOWA
The luggage startup Away, which was valued at $1.45 billion in 2019, saw its sales decrease by over 90 percent in the first few weeks of the pandemic. It also had to furlough or layoff roughly have of its team. In September, the company hosted its first-ever sale, with deals up to 50 percent off. Away also launched accessories like wallets and a travel kit, and is expected to launch apparel in the near future.
Luxury suitcase maker RIMOWA also did a first this year in releasing products outside of the luggage category. The 122-year-old company owned by LVMH released sunglasses and iPhone cases.
Businesses that rely on people needing travel goods are looking for an uptick in cross-country flights and weekend trips.
The security startup commonly seen in airports has arguably had the most bad luck this year. In April, the number of travelers a day screened by TSA was below 100,000 for the first time in history. For example, on April 16, 2020, total traveler throughput was 95,085. A year prior on the same weekday, that number was 2,616,158. In October, screens hit one million for the first time since March.
In addition to a potential rise in airport travelers, CLEAR is hoping to get employees back to the office. It launched its coronavirus-screening tool Health Pass in May which allows workers to easily complete health surveys and maximize safety.
The millennial-focused workwear brand hasn’t been helped by the rise of Zoom meetings. With offices being closed and little-to-no business travel, M.M.LaFleur has had to pivot its marketing angle.
Founder and CEO Sarah LaFleur told Worth about their wrinkle-free pants typically used for travel: “They have an elastic waistband and are easy to pull on. It was how a lot of us were wearing them at home anyway. After renaming them and marketing them as joggers, sales increased by eight times, and they became one of our bestselling products. We’ve realized that recontextualizing inventory can go a long way.”
Despite sweatpants and loungewear having a banner year, professional attire is bound to return. And when it does, M.M.LaFleur will be there to combine the two.
Even though 2020 was a perfect storm for many, a silenced travel industry is bound to come roaring back with new innovations and thoughtful measures for safety and convenience. Next month’s Airbnb IPO may give more information as to when things will be operating at full capacity again.