Value co-creation and co-destruction in the Airbnb sharing economy

The increasing use of technology as well as people’s behavioural changes have shifted the focus from products and services to the experience economy and experience co-creation.
As tourists increasingly search for emotional experiences, they are travelling to alternative destinations, choosing properties that engage them on a personal level, to dedicate themselves in the experiential aspects of consumption. But not much is known about the processes in play when customers co-create value with each other.

What’s mine is yours

As the sharing economy implies,  a “what’s mine is yours”-culture arised. The idea of temporary use and sharing of resources has attracted consumers because of lower prices and convenience. Hereby the internet represents the key catalyst of change. With the Web 2.0 people can connect with communities and share information online.

The traditional hospitality sector has faced competition with a consumer-to-consumer sharing hospitality platform, such as Airbnb or HomeExchange. Airbnb symbolises a collaborative lifestyle.  Staying at an Airbnb means that guests can create their own personalised experiences with hosts. Together they can share and exchange space, experiences, knowledge, skills or culture.

Most of all, Airbnb is effecting business and the way they create their value propositions. But not only that, this platform is changing the way people fulfil their needs.

The thought of a genuine welcome by local inhabitants is a great source of satisfaction in tourists’ experiences leading to a possible value co-creation. This means that the customer is not a passive reciever of pre-existing value but is a creator of value. Experiences and value can’t be delivered to consumers, value propositions from one actor to another are needed. The main  interest of consumers lies in using resources to get value, as value is not in the object of consumption, but in the experience of consumption. Experience and value co-creation can be gathered through an integration of resources and application of competences. This is why tourists and travellers seek to cooperate with the host and so co-createtheir own experiences.

Co-creation increased in the hospitality and tourism domain

Value creation an experience in the context of Airbnb is still little understood. Even less attention co-destruction is receiving. The analysis of Airbnb reviews in the context of the Mediterranean destination of Malta how value is formed through this collaborative consumption activity. With this study a comprehensive theoretical framework of “Airbnb Value Co-Creation Practices and Value Formation” has been developed, leading to several theoretical and practical contributions.

There exist six dominant social practices that characterise the Airbnb sharing setting:


“expressing feelings”;

(3) “evaluating location and accommodation”;

(4) “helping and interacting”;

(5) “recommending”;

(6) “thanking”

However, Airbnb does not always lead to a value co-creation. The host-guest practices do not necessarily led to a positive value co-creation. They can result in value diminishing outcomes too.

This study therefore highlights in detail what specific guest–host practices lead to value co-creation, co-destruction, co-recovery and co-reduction outcomes.

Airbnb accommodation does not possess superior value compared to traditional accommodation offers like hotels.

It is just that an integration of operand and operant resources and social practices can lead to enhanced value guest-host co-creation.  This study is relevant for Airbnb hosts and  the hospitality sector because it presents  an understanding of what guests seek  when choosing  an accommodation at a location through this platform.

This can be helpful for hotels and other accommodation providers to understand what travellers seek for and so implement this knowledge in own offers and service provisions. As already mentioned,  greeting  guests, providing basic food and drinks and accommodating  guests’ requests on arrival and throughout their stay would make for a more valuable experience, while at the same time, removing any potentially value co-reducing sources.

You can cite this study as follows:

Camilleri, J. and Neuhofer, B. (2017). Value Co-Creation and Co-Destruction
in the Airbnb Sharing Economy. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Research.

If You are interested in this reasearch paper, feel free to continue reading it on:

Research Gate


You can download and read the full text too on:

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management


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