Have you ever used Airbnb or other peer-to-peer accommodation services when travelling? If yes, you are likely to travel more than you used to, you choose your destination from among a wider set of alternatives, and you are more active in your destination.
Peer-to-peer accommodation services such as Airbnb have changed travel patterns in many ways, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland and Washington State University. The study provides new insight into how the availability and use of peer-to-peer accommodation services affect travel patterns. The findings were published in Journal of Travel Research.
The study found that tourists are interested in peer-to-peer accommodation services due to social and financial reasons. Users of peer-to-peer accommodation services are often in social interaction with their hosts, and peer-to-peer accommodation services are a cost-effective alternative to, for example, hotels.
Financial savings achieved by using peer-to-peer accommodation services make it possible to broaden the selection of destinations and the number of trips, while the social aspects inspire people to travel more in general and to stay in their destination for a longer period of time. Financial savings - together with tips from hosts - also increase tourists' activeness in their destination.
From the viewpoint of destinations, the findings are extremely positive. The availability of peer-to-peer accommodation services in the destination increases the number of tourists, makes them stay for a longer period and increases the demand for tourism-related services and activities.
Extensive US and Finnish data
An extensive set of tourist data was collected for the study both in Finland and in the US.
In Finland, 1,246 persons took part in an online panel, and 295 of them had used peer-to-peer accommodation services. In the US, 799 persons completed an online survey, and 155 of them had used peer-to-peer accommodation services. The study focused on respondents who had used peer-to-peer accommodation services.
The popularity of peer-to-peer accommodation services has witnessed rapid growth throughout the world. For example, Airbnb offers accommodation services in 190 countries and in more than 34,000 cities. There are over 60 million Airbnb users around the world, and its popularity is not showing any signs of decline.