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Airbnb has been a clear market favourite as optimism starts seeping back into travel industry with vaccines close at hand. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

New York: Airbnb Inc. shares have rallied to a record high and pushing its market valuation above $100 billion.

The lodging-rental company rose as much as 9.8 per cent to $176.60 in trading in New York, bringing its market capitalization to about $105 billion. Airbnb shares have gained 18 per cent in the past two days and more than 150 per cent since the company's initial public offering on December 10.

Travel-related stocks including TripAdvisor Inc. and Expedia Group Inc. have rallied over the past month on optimism about a rebound in demand later this year as more and more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Airbnb's market cap is now bigger than Booking Holdings Inc. at $89 billion.

Airbnb now has 12 buy ratings, 19 holds and 2 sell recommendations with an average share price target of $147, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Capitol cancellations

Meanwhile, Airbnb will cancel all reservations in the Washington area next week during the inauguration of Joe Biden and prohibit any new rentals from being made, moves designed to minimize further attacks at the capital.

The company said it learned names of people confirmed to have participated in criminal activity at the US Capitol on January 6 and investigated whether they have accounts on Airbnb. It identified several people who are either associated with known hate groups or were otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol, and they have been banned from the site.

Officials in Washington are preparing for inauguration week with heightened security, including thousands of troops from the National Guard, among other measures. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser encouraged people this week to watch the inauguration from home instead of visiting.

Airbnb said guests whose inauguration week bookings have been canceled will receive full refunds and that it will pay hosts for the money they would have earned from those reservations.