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Airbnb and hotels during COVID-19: different strategies to survive

Gyódi, Kristóf (2021): Airbnb and hotels during COVID-19: different strategies to survive. Published in: International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the traditional hotel industry and Airbnb in nine major European cities. The author examines differences between the two business models and analyses various strategies of Airbnb hosts to cope with the crisis. Design/methodology/approach: A detailed empirical analysis is presented based on data from STR and Inside Airbnb for the period January 2018–September 2020. To assess the impact of the pandemic on the hotel industry, year-to-year changes in various performance metrics are presented. The author also investigates the impact of the pandemic on Airbnb prices with panel data regression analysis. Using text-mining methods, signs for new use-cases are explored, including renting flats for home-office or quarantine. Findings: The results support that Airbnb supply is more flexible. While hotel supply quickly returned to a level close to 2019, the average number of Airbnb listings was lower by more than 15%. Furthermore, the price analysis showed that Airbnb rates decreased more moderately than hotel prices. These findings suggest that a significant share of hosts pivoted from short-term accommodation provision and used their property differently, e.g. rented on a long-term basis. The analysis of listing characteristics revealed that the role of longer stays increased; however, the results do not support a shift towards advertising listings for home-office or quarantine purposes. Originality/value: This paper presents the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality sector in a wide sample of European cities, explores the adjustment of hotels and Airbnb and provides new evidence on the differences between the business models.

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