Research in Hospitality Management

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What motivates people to become Airbnb hosts – do we know enough? — an exploration of the literature

Simon Lind Fischer, Henrik S. Pahus, Anne Bager


Airbnb hosts open their doors to provide hospitality for strangers in 7 million homes in more than 100 000 cities around the world. On top of that, Airbnb hosts offer 40 000 guided local experiences across more than 1 000 cities around the world. Yet, in this article, we found that only a limited number of peer-reviewed studies exist on what motivates people to host. Sharing makes a great deal of sense for the consumer, the environment and for communities if managed and balanced fairly by companies and governments. The holistic and thematic map of Airbnb host motivators offered by this article provides hands-on value to those companies and governments and numerous other stakeholders affected by the sharing economy. The findings map a large span of motivational factors that hosts experience, ranging from financial, safety, and security risks of having to submit and renegotiate one’s intimate, affective space and private sphere – to escaping loneliness, connecting with people, making new friends and earning money as a micro-entrepreneur. Finally, the article finds that the thematic categories are interrelated, as the existence of an assurance structure for financial transactions does seem to reduce uncertainty among hosts, allowing them to participate.

Keywords: Airbnb host motivation, Airbnb micro-entrepreneurship, collaborative consumption, sharing economy

AJOL African Journals Online