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Ryerson University research: Why do Canadian travellers choose Airbnb and how do they use it?

20 September 2016

Research published by Dr. Daniel Guttentag of Ryerson University (Toronto, CA) in August 2016

This report is 283 pages long, so I'm going to hit just the very highest points. For more, please see the full report.

Objective: Find out why tourists choose to stay in Airbnb accommodations vice hotels, etc.

Methodology: Survey past Airbnb guests via self-administered online questionnaire containing multiple-choice and Likert-scale (1-6) questions.

Final sample size: 844 respondents

4 primary questions to be answered:

  1. Motivations for guests or choosing Airbnb?
  2. Can segment by motivation?
  3. Characteristics of segments with regard to observable variables?
  4. Compared with hotels, what are Airbnb guests' expectations in regard to various accommodation attributes?


Top 3 motivations:

  1. Low cost
  2. Convenient location
  3. Access to household amenities

Motivation-based segments:

  1. Money savers 18.8%
  2. Home seekers 23.3%
  3. Collaborative consumers 19.1%
  4. Pragmatic novelty seekers 21.7%
  5. Interactive novelty seekers 17.1%

Demographic characteristics (overall - see report for characteristics by segment - but nothing astonishing):

  • 67.9% female
  • 53.2% aged 30 and under
  • 63.2% college graduates
  • 77.7% household financial status above average

Trip characteristics (overall):

  • 80.4% leisure
  • 60.2% international destinations
  • 82.2% non-backpacker (self-described)

Accommodation usage characteristics (overall)(excerpted):

  • Mean stay of 4.24 nights
  • 57.6% accompanied by spouse/partner
  • 10.3% accompanied by children

Brand perceptions (overall):

  • Coolness of Airbnb: 4.49 out of 6.00
  • Coolness advantage of Airbnb over hotels: 1.97/6.00 (E.g., if someone thought hotel coolness rated 3.00 out of 6.00, on average they thought Airbnb coolness rated 3.00+1.97=4.97.)
  • Self-congruity with Airbnb: 4.64/6.00

How respondents heard about Airbnb:

  • Word of mouth 53.0%
  • Social media 28.2%
  • Mass media 11.5%
  • Advertising 5.3%
  • Guidebook 0.3%
  • Other 1.8%

Where respondents would have stayed absent Airbnb:

  • Stay home 2.3%
  • With friends/family 3.4%
  • Couch-surfing 0.8%
  • Hostel 16.6%
  • B&B 9.9%
  • Budget hotel/motel 17.5%
  • Mid-range hotel 43.1%
  • Upscale hotel 4.3%
  • Other 2.1%

Satisfaction with most recent Airbnb stay:

  • 89.8% satisfied or very satisfied
  • 91.3% likely or very likely to recommend to others
  • 86.0% likely or very likely to use Airbnb again within 12 months
  • 53.4% likely or very likely to use hotel within 12 months

So from this we learn:

  • Airbnb users tend to be young college graduates with above-average household incomes.
  • But their #1 motivation is low price.
  • Majority are women.
  • Most trips are for leisure
  • Airbnb is perceived as "cooler" relative to hotels.
  • Most Airbnb users say they're satisfied with the experience, and would use the service again.
  • Mid-price hotels are taking the biggest hit from Airbnb.

Good stuff.

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And if you have questions or comments, you can easily send them to me with the Quick Reply form, below, or send me an e-mail.

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External Article: https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/10684/Guttentag_Daniel.pdf

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