Why travellers choose Airbnb and how do they use it?

There have been plenty of industry surveys produced looking at the Airbnb phenomenon – but the academic analyses have been slower to emerge.

One such study was published by Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, in August this year, covering an in-depth survey and analysis on just under 1,000 respondents in Canada.

Dr Daniel Guttentag, an assistant professor Ryerson’s Hospitality and Tourism Management unit, says the emergence of Airbnb has “quite rapidly shifted the entire tourism accommodation landscape”.

“It has done so by introducing an innovative product that appeals to a broad range of consumer motivations, which are felt at varying levels by different guests.”

Airbnb, coupled with wider use of the internet and mobile, “presents a special challenge traditional accommodations”, he says.

But he adds:

“While the threat that Airbnb poses to traditional accommodations remains a matter of much debate, it would be short-sighted for hoteliers to dismiss Airbnb or discount its potential future impacts.”

The full study by Dr Guttentag is available here, but we are featuring some of the charts from the exec summary:

Trip characteristics:


Accommodation characteristics of most recent stay:


Fellow traveller details:


Airbnb history:


Reasons for using Airbnb:


Impact on other accommodation type guest nights:


Brand awareness:


Satisfaction levels:


Loyalty levels:


Brand perception:


Travel segments and reasons for choosing (1 = “Strongly disagree” to 6 = “Strongly agree”. Green signifies that a segment agreed much more strongly than the sample average with the motivation in question):


Expectations of performance:


NB: Full study here.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.





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  1. BPR

    While this is a good read and the analysis is comprehensive but it is not reliable and useful. The study has asked a lot of loop holes. Starting with the sample it self and the method . The study was done on people primarily acquired through facebook and they have received 900+ Completed responses the from an online survey!!!
    “research instrument used for this study was a ten-minute online survey that was
    completed by tourists who had stayed in an Airbnb accommodation during the previous year.
    Respondents were recruited through various sampling frames, with most of the final sample
    coming from Facebook and Mechanical Turk”
    The profile of the respondents is not homogeneous and their responses in an online survey may not be accurate. Homogeneous sampling couple with Interviews would have been more reliable

  2. Fz All

    Interesting and good statistics. Even though dissatisfied % is at 5, not likely to use Abnb % is at 2; this reflects a positive perception for Abnb or for any other similar hosting site for that matter. Travelers will continue to leverage Abnb and other hosting site primarily due to low cost and spacious attributes.

  3. Mike Thiel

    Looks like the only commercial lodging sector that may not suffer a significant threat from AirBnB is the luxury end.

  4. Alan Young

    These are some amazing statistics. 53% word of mouth marketing is staggering!

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @alan – makes sense though, especially in its early days.


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