COMPETITIVE DEVELOPMENT The case study of “Airbnb” and its impact on the tourism economy

Foteini Tatsi and Kostas Karamanis Introduction

Sharing assets and resources with other people who need them at a specific time through digital platforms have become a phenomenon of our era. Through the sharing economy, people are allowed to realise business desires and dreams in contrast to the classic job. Individuals involved in the sharing economy can generate additional sources of income from different jobs and products.

The increasing use of technology, as well as changes in travellers' behaviour and perceptions, have shifted the focus from products and sendees to the experience economy. As a result, there has been a constant debate about the impact of the sharing economy on tourism and the consequences of the emerging shift in travellers' preferences from traditional tourism services to new short-term rental models.

Many factors affect the spread of the sharing economy, with technological developments being most decisive. Mobile devices are fast becoming the main medium through which people manage their lives online. In recent years, consumers have become increasingly comfortable with the efficiency and convenience with which they can buy goods and sendees from places they have never visited and from people they do not know, with “trust” being their only means of transaction (Badger 2015, 29).

Airbnb is a digital platform that allows people to register, find, and rent accommodation in the short term. Using this platform, individuals can offer any space they own to other people, in the form of a rental (Bocker and Meelen 2017). Airbnb has now risen to a global phenomenon due to the expansion of platforms and sharing around the world (Schor 2016). Tourism has been proven to be one of the areas most affected by Airbnb for a variety of reasons.

According to the United World Tourism Organization (UNWTO 2019), more than 1,300 million tourists worldwide travelled in 2017, with international arrivals rising sharply over the past eight years, marking a boom in tourism.

Airbnb’s impact and the disruption that it has caused in various places where it has appeared, due to the increase of visitors, has sparked intense debate about how much it affects the hotel industry (Quattrone et al. 2016; Nieuwland and Van Melik 2020).

The rapid expansion of Airbnb, which has extended the sharing economy, and has brought Airbnb into the focus of academics and researchers of tourism and hospitality. This chapter aims to contribute to the discussion of the effects of Airbnb and its impact on the hotel industry, by studying scientific research in recent years.

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