Sharing Economy in Travel and Tourism: The Case of Home-Swapping in Italy

Forno F., Garibaldi R., “Sharing Economy in Travel and Tourism: The Case of Home-Swapping in Italy”, in Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, vol. 16, ISS 2, 2015.

Contemporary societies have witnessed the expansion of unconventional, non-institutionalized travel trends, which oppose mainstream tourism by providing travellers with a broader range of alternatives. Among these, home-swapping seems to have received little scholarly attention, despite its recent and rapid growth even in countries where this phenomenon had long remained confined to small niches of travellers. With this formula, tourists are able to organize made-to-measure tours without seeking the services of travel mediators and with the only cost of making their own home available. This article presents the results of an in-depth study into Italian home-swappers and discusses their socio-economic pro- files, motivations, and lifestyles. As the data analysis points out, home-swapping is an alternative form of tourism which requires trust, open-mindedness, inventiveness, enthusiasm, and flexibility. While the economic aspect is arguably one of the key driving factors when opting for this type of travelling accommodation, it cannot account for the current popularity of the social phenomenon alone.

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