Travelling the world sharing your home

Garibaldi R., Forno F., “Travelling the world sharing your home”, in “ATLAS Annual Conference Book of extended abstracts”, 2015.

Means of acquisition and consumption alternative to ownership, in which access is enabled through the sharing or pooling of resources, products and services redefined via the use of technology and peer communities, is increasing. The number of people involved in the so-called sharing economy is growing steadily, and will only continue to increase. The travel industry is the sector most affected by the meteoric growth of sharing and collaborative consumption, with peer-to-peer travel sites like Airbnb and CouchSurfing literally booming. More and more frequently contemporary tourists go beyond the conventional filters and service intermediaries. In fact, thanks to the rapid expansion of information technology, nowadays tourists do not need the intermediation of conventional operators to find what they want and choose between different options. However, the lack of traditional intermediaries increases the real and perceived risk of travelling for tourists, and raises the need to find ways to lower such risk. This article presents a study on the phenomenon of home-swapping, one of the collaborative trends born as a consequence of the spread of new forms of tourism, that we will introduce and examine in detail. It will investigate how trust is built between people engaging in this form of tourism, the so-called home-swappers, and how security is provided in such a system. Moreover, given the lack of empirical studies analyzing the characteristics of the home-swappers this article contributes to define what their socio-economic profiles, motivations and lifestyles are.

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