The use of the Airbnb collaborative platform in Romania: a survey-based research
Recent years have witnessed a wide and strong development of the sharing economy in various industries. As a result of the wide spread of intelligent mobile devices and customers’ increasing digital skills, the use of collaborative platforms in tourism, in particular for accommodation services, has become an important alternative for many tourists. In this paper we try to investigate relevant aspects of the profile, motivations and habits of the Romanian tourists who are using Airbnb for renting accommodation services. Survey-based research was conducted during the summer of 2021, a period when very few COVID-19-related restrictions were being enforced in Romania regarding people’s mobility and travel. The questionnaire was designed to capture not only the demographic, economic and social profile of the consumers, but also and more importantly the main aspects related to the type of travel (leisure versus business), the motivations of getting involved in the collaborative use of platforms etc., from a demand-side perspective. We have grouped the motivations for using Airbnb taking into account the following main classes of factors: price; comfort; ease of use and functionality; authenticity and local connection. Other investigated issues pertained to analyze the place of Airbnb compared to classical accommodation units, considering factors such as trust and efficacy. We found that there is a certain amount of conformity among the population in making the decision to book accommodation, but there is also an innovative trend, expressing people's desire to try other forms of accommodation that offer authenticity and new experiences, characteristics that are less common in traditional accommodation forms. Indirectly, we can identify several trends in respondents' preferences for tourist accommodation and consumption habits. Trends may include greater availability of accommodation alternatives, including through collaborative platforms and, gradually, the transformation of these alternative experiences into tourism consumption habits.
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