Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says business class travel is dead

It’s the part of the travel most of us have a love-hate relationship with.

Travelling for work has its perks, but the early starts followed by long days and spending time in a hotel room can get old pretty quickly.

The pandemic stopped the concept of business travel in its tracks – with companies around the world turning to Zoom calls instead of in-person meetings to compensate.

But as the world of aviation slowly starts to kick back into gear – what will it mean for the lucrative dollars that come from the business traveller?

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Business travel will change forever, according to Airbnb CEO Brian CheskySource:istock

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Since the pandemic largely brought business travel to a halt, experts have been raising the alarm that the past year of aviation woes will lead to the death of business travel as we know it. The argument is that it will be a long time before the virus is really gone and that business people have become used to meetings on Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. As a result, many of them no longer see the need for constantly crossing the globe – or even interstate – and living out of a suitcase.

Australian business travel may not ever return to pre-pandemic levels, according to one billionaire CEO.Source:Getty Images

But Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says travel both domestically and internationally will never return to be the way it was – especially for business.

Speaking to, the 39-year-old billionaire said while travel will never go back to what we knew in 2019 – the concept of travelling for work is all but dead.

“We have seen a redistribution of travel,” he said.

Have we seen the end of business travel?Source:istock

“I think there are three big trends we will see in the permanent change of travel. In a world of more flexibility, we are never ever going back to the world of 2019.

“It means business travel as we know it has changed forever. People are not going to get on a plane for single meetings as much as they used to. The bar is now higher.”

Mr Chesky said the world has realised how much can be done remotely.

“I think that people now have what they didn’t have a year or two ago,” he said.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the way in which the world travel has changed forever.Source:Supplied

“We don’t need to all be in a city and be so closely tethered – people can live, work and travel more places now.”

Mr Chesky predicted that there would still be some business travel – but most likely to bring staff together for large, occasional corporation-wide events.

In response to the pandemic, Mr Chesky said Airbnb had to pivot and focus on flexibility for guests in terms of destination, dates and listings, while hosts will now be able to list their property in 10 simple steps.

More people will continue to conduct meetings from home rather than fly around the world.Source:istock

“We are in a whole new world and we are never going back. Travel and living will continue to blur together and people will increasingly have fewer one year leases.

“Fewer people will think travel is something you do one or two nights, and you will see longer and longer term stays by living nomadically and less tethered.”

In addition to changes in business travel, Mr Chesky said he believed more travellers will look outside top destinations and consider smaller communities, and they’ll be more interested in meaningful travel versus tourist spots.

“Travel and living are starting to blur together,” Mr Chesky said.

“Hosts in cities all over the world have taken a hit, while hosts outside of the cities have seen more business than they ever have. The pandemic lead to the acceleration of adoption of the internet to really fundamentally change travel in a way we have never seen.

“This is the biggest change in travel since World War II.”

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