Analyzing value formation between guests and hosts in Airbnb

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
This study aims to analyze how value is formed by the guests and hosts in the Airbnb settings. Airbnb is a famous peer-to-peer sharing platform in the travel industry. Airbnb connects the hosts - people who have vacant and idle housing resources, with the guests - travelers who want to experience the feeling of “being local” and also achieve other values. Airbnb acts as a platform to facilitate value formation but the formation depends on several conditions. First, there should be a presence of operant and operand resources. Operant resources are intangible, for example, the hosts’ communication skills, operational skills, destination knowledge, or responsiveness. Operand resources are tangible, for example, towels, Wi-Fi, food, free beverages. The two resources should be at a balanced level. Second, the resources should be integrated through interactional social practices. The resources themselves cannot create value. They must be utilized before, during, and after the service encounter between the hosts and the guests. The congruency level of how the guests and the hosts interact will define how value is formed. Third, because human interaction can be both matching and mismatching, values will not always be co-created. When the social practices between the hosts and the guests are incongruent, values will be co-destroyed. However, after that, if the interaction becomes matching again, values can be co-recovered. On the other hand, if values are co-created by congruent social practices but after that the interaction becomes mismatching, values will be co-reducing. By analyzing the Airbnb guests’ online content reviews, this thesis can identify which social practices are dominant in the Airbnb settings, the operant and operand resources that are integrated by the hosts and the guests, and how values are formed. A theoretical framework will be presented and also several practical recommendations will be discussed.
Thesis advisor
Tuunainen, Virpi
value formation, Service-Dominant Logic, social practice theory, sharing economy, Airbnb, platform, value proposition
Other note