Airbnb: Why Tourists Choose It and How They Use It

Author: Daniel Guttentag
Ryerson University and University of Waterloo
Date Published: August 2016

Why did we select this research?

This study may help you understand why short-stay platforms have come up in the first place. None of the platforms would still exist today if they would not satisfy a consumer need. Note that this study focused on the guests, not the providers of short-stay platforms.

This study finds out why people are choosing peer to peer services over hotels by data collection and analysis based on an online survey of over 850 Airbnb guests in 2015. It aimed to identify Airbnb users into categories such as money savers, collaborative consumers, and home seeker. This study answers questions like:  Who are the users of Airbnb?  Why do they choose Airbnb over hotels? What is the criteria for users’ decision making? 

Key findings

  • The majority of Airbnb users choose the platform as a substitute for traditional accommodation.
  • 80% of Airbnb users choose the platform for leisure trip. Only 4% of the guests use the service for business trips.
  • Majority of the guests (70%) choose to rent an entire home/entire apartment over staying with a host which suggest contradicting ideas from ‘sharing economy’.
  • In contrast to the advertisement, Airbnb benefit rely on local experiences, instead, guests are attracted by practical factors such as the cost, location, and amenities. 
  • 26% of travelers to spend longer time in a destination when staying with Airbnb accommodation.


Guttentag, D. (2016). Why tourists choose Airbnb: A motivation-based segmentation study underpinned by innovation concepts. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. Retrieved from: