Skip to main content

To share or to access a home-sharing facility? An analysis of travelers’ choice



The idea behind sharing economy is that individual consumers share the under-utilized resources with their peers. The sharing nature of such a business promotes the interactions between the service provider and the customer(s).

One selling point of a home-sharing service, for example, is that it gives travelers unique social interactions with the host, which is usually not found in hotels. Early literature about home-sharing services also confirms that travelers appreciate the interactions with the local hosts.

An argument, however, arises that the “sharing” economy is actually an “access” economy. Some travelers only pay for permission to use someone else’s facility with no interest in social interactions. If travelers merely want to “access” a home-sharing facility, the differences between a home-sharing stay and a regular hotel stay become nebulous.

Today, more hotel chains and entrepreneurs are getting into the home-sharing business. It becomes crucial for relevant stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of such a social-interaction phenomenon in the sharing economy. For example, marketers may be able to promote state-of-art facilities, convenient locations, and differences in prices to travelers who tend to access a lodging facility. Meanwhile, they may also be able to highlight the public space for socialization for travelers who value social interactions.

The research study and the research questions

With that in mind, I worked with three researchers, Drs. Karen Xie, Chih-Chien Chen, and Jiang Wu, on a research project. We aimed to use consumers’ real booking data on a home-sharing website to answer two research questions in this study:

1.    Do travelers tend to choose the same type of home-sharing facilities for the next trip as what they stayed in the past?  (There are three types of home-sharing facilities identified in this study: to share with a host, to share with other travelers, or to access a facility.)
2.    Do travelers’ frequency of visits to a destination affect their choice on the types of home-sharing services for the next trip? That is if travelers visit a destination more often, will they become more independent and hence choose to access a home-sharing facility?

The research setting, the data, and the analysis

We collected the consumer data from Xiaozhu.com, which is also known as “the Airbnb in China.” The website allowed us to obtain individual travelers’ travel history as well as a broad measure of the home-sharing services in which they stayed. Different from Airbnb. Xiaozhu chronologically archives the travel history of individual travelers.

Our sample includes 1,005 home-sharing facilities that were actively operated by 261 hosts in Beijing, China, from July 31, 2012, to April 27, 2016. We built two datasets. One comprises the information on travelers’ past stays of home-sharing facilities from their travel history. The other one includes the characteristics of the home-sharing facilities, as well as the host information of the facilities.  

The dependent variable is a traveler’s choice on the type of a home-sharing facility in a given visit (i.e., to share with a host, to share with other travelers, and to access the facility). The independent variables include the traveler’s cumulative number of past stays in each type of the home-sharing facilities as well as the traveler’s frequency of past visits to Beijing, plus a series of controlled variables about the host who runs the facility and the facility itself.

We performed a series of analyses using econometric models of multinomial logistic regressions. The results were published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The results

1.    Close to 70% of travelers choose to access a home-sharing facility (to share with no others), whereas 20.9% and 10.45% of travelers choose to share the facility with a host or with other travelers, respectively.

2.    Travelers tend to choose the same type of home-sharing facilities that they have used in the past.

3.    Regardless of how many times the travelers have visited a destination, those who stayed with either a host or other travelers in the past would very likely choose the same type of home-sharing facility for their next stay.

4.    The travelers who merely accessed the home-sharing facilities in the past, however, would become more likely to choose to stay with a host as they visited a destination more often.

The implications

The above findings add empirical evidence to the debate of whether sharing economy in the lodging sector mainly for “sharing” or for “access.” Practically, we recommend:

·      Policymakers and hoteliers must pay significant attention to the home-sharing facilities in the market because close to 70% of travelers chose to access the home-sharing facilities over the other two types.

·      When travelers search for a home-sharing stay, home-sharing websites and OTAs (online travel agents) should feed the same type of accommodation options as what they chose in the past.  

·      For the travelers who visited a destination often in the past, home-sharing websites and OTAs may also consider feeding the facilities with shared space with the host.

·      Hotels and OTAs should promote the functional space for social interactions to the travelers who usually share with a host or with other travelers in a home-sharing facility.

·      Hotels and OTAs should promote the physical environments and the upkeep of the facilities to the travelers who usually access a home-sharing facility.

·      On the one hand, hosts managing a facility with shared space with the travelers may want to highlight their friendliness and the friendships that they built with the past customers in their profile descriptions. On the other hand, hosts managing a facility with no shared space with the travelers may want to focus their marketing messages on how nice the place looks.

Do you notice people tend to stick to the same type of home-sharing facilities when they travel?

Recalling your previous stays in a home-sharing facility, did you stay in a place where you will share some space with a host, with other travelers, or with nobody? For what reasons?      

Note: This article is also available on MultiBriefs.com

Comments

  1. The idea of utilizing home sharing facilities is based solely on the customers' preferences and the cooperation of the host. In today's society, home sharing has become a popular and fast growing movement, due to flexibility in prices and location, and privacy. I personally believe that once people find a space, where they are comfortable and familiar, they tend to stick to the same type, or even return to the same property consistently. People stick to what they know. When I read the finalized implications and points of evidence, I was not surprised that the percentage of travelers, who chose not to share a facility, was higher than those who wanted to. People often times travel for pleasure, leisure and business, because of this, people tend to lean towards their own set routine, and would prefer privacy. I find myself to be the same way; Every airbnb I've stayed at, consisted of just me and my other guests, whether it was family or friends, we all preferred to be in charge of our own routines, and we felt more comfortable knowing we weren't going to run into any problems with any additional guests. The competition between hotels and home sharing, are based on the quality of their marketing and execution of service. Hotels offer a great deal of services, and are always accommodating their guests, home sharing facilities on the other hand, offer better prices, and a private space. The complexity of this debate continues to motivate the industries, and allows both markets to conjure up better and newer strategies to attract their audiences.

    Carissa Sanchez
    HRT 3020.03

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing, Carissa. I also believe people have the tendency of doing something they feel most comfortable.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Yammer: A Social Networking Site Exclusively for the Workplace

Effective internal communications among employees are related to some desirable organizational outcomes, such as robust morale, a clear vision, low turnover, and high employee engagement. The question is what platform can serve the purpose. This ABC News video introduces “ Yammer ,” an exclusive internal communication tool for companies. A user must use a valid company e-mail address to sign up for an account. Once an account is validated, the user will be led to the company page that is pretty much like a Facebook page. The difference is that only the users whose e-mail addresses share the same domain can see the wall and communicate with each other. I have no question about whether Yammer could be a useful internal communication tool for companies, but I just wonder: how many social networking sites do people need for communication? Why people have to “create” so many platforms or channels for “effective communications”? To many people, Facebook is only for “friends,” whe

Can leisure and work-from-home demand stimulate extended-stay hotel growth beyond COVID-19?

The lodging industry is   struggling   to fill the empty rooms in 2020. For months, U.S. hotels are running at an occupancy of 50% or lower.     Not every segment   suffers the same impact from the pandemic, however. Demand for   home-sharing  facilities had already bounced back over the summer. Airbnb reported a higher booking than last year. Marriott’s home-sharing arm is also doing well, seeing a sevenfold increase in booking over last summer.     Similar to what a residential rental or home-sharing facility   offers , guestrooms in extended-stay hotels also feature a full-size kitchen or a kitchenette. Extended-stay hotels are designed for travelers who want to stay at a “home” when away from home. A guestroom at the Residence Inn Miami Sunny Isles Beach   Extended-stay hotels vs. home-sharing facilities     Because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect human contacts, people are highly encouraged to avoid unnecessary human interactions, leading to more   con

Will restaurants of the future still need a dining room?

It does not seem the coronavirus is leaving us soon, although we have seen good   progress in developing the vaccine . In recent weeks, many places reported   a surge of new infected COVID-19 cases . Some even resumed   lockdowns   and the mask-mandate order, forcing restaurants to   shut down indoor dining   services again.     As a short-term remedy, restaurants immediately shifted their offering to   curbside pickup and delivery  services. Meanwhile, restaurants are testing new concepts to embrace the   contactless self-service  trend for the future. Here are some examples,     Chipotle opened its first digital-only restaurant     The new prototype, known as the   Chipotle Digital Kitchen , debut in Highland Falls, NY, earlier this month. Different from the traditional Chipotle restaurant, the Chipotle Digital Kitchen features:     A lobby designated for pickup services through off-premise orders.   A see-through kitchen, allowing customers to see, smell, and hear what is going on b