Airbnb is worth more than the 3 largest hotel chains combined after its stock popped 143% on its first day of trading

Airbnb is worth more than the 3 largest hotel chains combined after its stock popped 143% on its first day of trading
The Airbnb logo is displayed on the Nasdaq digital billboard in Times Square in New York on December 10, 2020.Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images
  • Airbnb was worth more than the three largest hotel chains globally after its trading debut on Thursday.
  • Airbnb's share price closed at $144.71, giving it a valuation of $86.5 billion — Marriott, Hilton, and Intercontinental were worth $84.1 billion combined when the markets closed Thursday.
  • After a long awaited and uncertain road to its IPO, Airbnb's stock on Thursday traded as high as 143% of its initial asking price of $68 per share.
  • But some strategists warned the massive debut rallies of Airbnb and DoorDash this week suggest the IPO market is approaching dot-com era levels of "euphoria and greed."

Airbnb's stock soared on Thursday in its highly anticipated public market debut, closing at $144.71 per share, more than double its initial offering of $68 per share.

That price also gives the short-term rental giant an approximately $86.5 billion valuation. Or, more than the combined market capitalization of the top three hotel chains globally: Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Marriott International, and Intercontinental Hotels Group, which were together worth $84.1 billion when the markets closed Thursday.

Airbnb also surpassed its largest rival among online travel agencies, or OTAs: closed at $86.2 billion on Thursday.

Airbnb's private valuation fluctuated dramatically this year, dropping from $31 billion to $18 billion as the COVID-19 pandemic devastated its business, forcing the company to lay off 25% of its workforce and raise more than $2 billion in debt and equity financing, and even calling the timing of its IPO into question.

But after announcing a surprise $219.3 million Q3 profit when it publicly revealed its IPO filing earlier this month and initially hoping to raise $3.5 billion, Airbnb's stock traded as high as $165, roughly 143% of its initial asking price of $68.


Read more: Airbnb has navigated the pandemic better than its rivals - but the company's uncertain future depends heavily on forces beyond its control

Airbnb's successful opening day comes amid a broader tech IPO frenzy this year despite massive economic fallout from the pandemic. On Wednesday, DoorDash and posted substantial gains of 78% and 174%, respectively. And in September, Snowflake completed the largest software-technology IPO in history with a 258% surge and has been on a tear since its debut.

But top strategists said the massive debut rallies of Airbnb and DoorDash revealed an unsustainable optimism in the markets.

Paul Schatz, president and chief investment officer of Heritage Capital, told Business Insider's Ben Winck the rallies showed "euphoria and greed" that's likely not been seen in the stock market since the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s.

"It's silly season," Rich Steinberg, chief market strategist at The Colony Group, told Winck. "Investors need to distinguish the difference between a great company and a great price or value."


Still, Airbnb's IPO was a huge boon for its three cofounders, who are now worth $10 billion to $11 billion each, as well early employees, executives and investors.