Why do people choose Airbnb over hotels? This study by Daniel Guttentag investigates user motivations and how different market segments use the peer-to-peer accommodation service.

Guttentag’s study, based on an online survey of nearly 850 Airbnb guests in 2015, identifies five segments of users: Money savers, Home seekers, Collaborative consumers, Pragmatic novelty seekers, and Interactive novelty seekers. Overall, the study finds that the majority of these individuals use Airbnb as a substitute for traditional accommodation, while only a few rely on the service to take a trip they would not have otherwise taken. However, Airbnb does lead as many as 26% of travelers to spend longer in a destination.

Study highlights and key findings:

  • Vast majority of Airbnb guests use the service for a leisure trip (80%).  Just 4% of guests use the service for business trips.
  • Most Airbnb guests rent an entire home (70%), rather than staying together with a host, even though entire home rentals are somewhat divergent from classic “sharing economy” ethos.
  • Most Airbnb guests stay from two to four nights and stay with at least one other guest, most commonly a spouse/partner (58%).
  • Airbnb guests are most strongly attracted to Airbnb by its practical attributes (e.g., cost, location, and amenities), and somewhat less by its experiential attributes (e.g., novelty and interaction). The author suggests that the comparative importance of Airbnb’s practical benefits contrasts with Airbnb’s advertising, which focuses on authentic local experiences and interaction with locals.

A more in-depth version of this study can be found here.