Is Airbnb no longer a sharing economy platform: Evidence from Europe s top 10 Airbnb destinations


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Demir E. , Emekli G.

Anatolia An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol.32, no.3, pp.470-488, 2021 (Journal Indexed in ESCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13032917.2021.1890626
  • Title of Journal : Anatolia An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research
  • Page Numbers: pp.470-488

Abstract

This article contributes to the ongoing debate on the increasing professionalization and commercialization of Airbnb through multi-unit hosts who offer more than one listing. The process of professionalization brings the question of whether Airbnb is still considered as a sharing economy platform or it has already lost sharing economy ethos. To answer this question, this study focuses on Europe's top 10 Airbnb destinations (respectively London, Paris, Rome, Copenhagen, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan and Madrid). The descriptive analysis reveals that although Airbnb positions itself under the positive value of sharing economy, there are indications that it has become increasingly professional through commercial listings. In contrast to the original concept of sharing, the visibilities of multi-unit hosts, specialized in short-term rental business, have increased on the platform, and this situation indicates the tendency of Airbnb's operating model from consumer-to-consumer to business-to-consumer. This change from peer producer to professional suppliers may open the door of the platform to be defined as a lodging corporation rather than a sharing economy company. This comparative study also shows that the commercialization level of Airbnb in the cities is quite different. This may be due to different regulations for the short-term rentals.