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Airbnb’s predictive abilities

I recently discovered and subscribed to Packy McCormick’s “Not Boring” newsletter. So far it’s quite good, and so here I am mentioning it to you all on the blog. In his latest newsletter, he makes the case for why Airbnb and Zillow — the two largest residential real estate tech companies — should merge. Naturally this new company would be called Zillbnb. You can read all about why he thinks this is a good idea over here, but I would like to point out one thing that I found interesting.

Packy makes the argument that “easiest-to-book, shortest duration reservations” are a leading indicator for changes in demand. In other words, platforms like Airbnb can start to tell you where people might want to live and platforms like Breather can start to tell you where people might want to work.

To support this argument he uses the example of his Airbnb rental outside of New York City. Sure, demand initially fell off a cliff at the beginning of lockdown, but then it started to surge as New Yorkers sought refuge outside of the city. And while I think that this particular change in demand will likely end up being short-term in nature, a similar trend is being reported around in the world. Did we hear it first on Airbnb?

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