Travel demand is rebounding, according to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, but he doesn’t anticipate business travel to ever return to the way it was before the outbreak of coronavirus. “It doesn’t mean business travel is dead, just business travel as we knew it isn’t coming back the way it was,” Chesky stated in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow on May 25, 2021. “The reason why is the bar is higher to get on a plane to do a meeting.” People have been grounded for more than a year, and Chesky says they’ve realized that most of what they used to accomplish at work can now be done online.

Chesky also added that people now have what they didn’t have a year or two ago. They have a lot of freedom in terms of where they go, live, and work, and they’re starting to incorporate all of that. Chesky believes that once individuals have something, they are unwilling to give it up. Despite the lack of a complete reopening of cross-border travel, Airbnb, a platform for locating and reserving lodgings in 220 countries and regions around the world, has already seen travel activity return to 2019 levels, according to Chesky.

Airbnb is now betting that flexibility is key to the future of travel. The company announced more than 100 changes and upgrades to its service to better cater to both guests and hosts, including new ways to search and a simplified onboarding process for new listings. People are becoming more flexible in terms of where and when they travel, as well as staying in places for longer periods of time, according to the business. During a press conference on Monday, Chesky stated that over a quarter of bookings in the first quarter of 2021 were for stays of 28 days or more.