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.
We also see that tourists do not just want to buy into all packaged experiences, but seek  to actively co-create their travel experiences.

Tourists increasingly search for emotional experiences. They travel to alternative destinations, choose properties that engage them on a personal level, and dedicate themselves to 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…

The sharing economy gave rise to  a “what’s mine is yours” culture. The idea of temporary use and sharing of (excess) resources has connected consumers around the world 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, goods, services and experiences easier than ever before.

The traditional hospitality sector has experienced increasing change with the proliferation of consumer-to-consumer sharing hospitality platforms, 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 and authentic culture.

Most of all, Airbnb is effecting businesses 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 possible value co-creation. This means that the customer is not a passive reciever of pre-existing value but is a co-creator of value as they stay at locals’ houses, interact and create meaningful experiences through this interaction.

Experiences and value can’t be delivered to consumers. Experiences are highly subjective. What is of value to one person, may not be value to another person. What can be delivered instead are value propositions from one actor to another, based on which experiences are co-created.

In research, we often refer to the widely known service-dominant logic perspective, which suggests that 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 thus 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-create their own experiences.

Co-creation and co-destruction in the hospitality and tourism domain

The practice of value creation in the context of shared experiences within  Airbnb is still little understood. Another phenomenon that is even less researched is the idea of ‘value co-destruction’. Why do we talk about co-destruction?

Have you ever been in a restaurant where other guests (co-consumers) did not enhance your experience but actually diminish your experience, did a long queue of tourists or over tourism ever diminish or destroy your travel experience? If your answer is yes, then we speak about value co-destruction, in which case value is not being created, but destroyed.

Study and Findings

In our research we wanted to take a holistic look at value creation, that may be positive or negative, in the Airbnb context.  Our study used an online content analysis of Airbnb reviews in the context of the Mediterranean destination of Malta to investigate 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.

We identified six dominant social practices that characterise the Airbnb setting in which value co-creation and co-destruction may occur:

“welcoming”

“expressing feelings”

“evaluating location and accommodation”

“helping and interacting”

“recommending”

 “thanking”


The study found out that shared Airbnb experiences do not always lead to value co-creation but they can result in value diminishing outcomes too.

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

Airbnb accommodation does not necessarily possess superior value compared to traditional accommodation offers, such as hotels. Airbnb offers particular value propositions that offer the space in which superior experiences may be co-created.

It is about the integration of so-called operand and operant resources and social practices that 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 not only for Airbnb providers but for hotels and other accommodation providers to understand what travellers seek for and so implement this knowledge in their own offers and service provisions. Social practices including personal pick-up, greeting  guests at the home, providing basic food and drinks and accommodating  guests’ personal requests on arrival, and showing guests the local neighbourhood are only but a few practices that would make for a more valuable experience, while at the same time, remove any potentially value co-reducing sources.


You can cite, download and read the full text on:

Camilleri, J. and Neuhofer, B. (2017) Value Co-Creation and Co-Destruction in the Airbnb Sharing Economy. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Research, 29: 9, 2322-2340.

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

Research Gate

Academia

 

 

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