Customer Value in the Sharing Economy Platform: The Airbnb Case
The sharing economy is a platform-based business model in which users are directly connected for creation, sharing, and exchange of goods or services that draw on underused resources. While this emerging phenomenon has been studied from several perspectives, including the technical, social, and economic, limited investigation has been conducted from the customer perspective. A study was carried out to narrow this research gap by applying the customer viewpoint to explore and analyse how the sharing economy reconfigures value creation. To reach the goal for this research, an interpretive approach was taken to the case of Airbnb. Customers’ experiences of using the sharing economy were examined to disentangle the economic, functional, emotional, and symbolic benefits and sacrifices that together capture the diversity of customer-perceived value of the sharing economy. Customer value is discussed as an important conceptual tool to identify and pinpoint the distinguishing characteristics of the sharing economy and to explore how conventional businesses and emerging sharing-economy platforms can recognise and capitalise on their competitive advantages. While the sharing economy gives customers alternatives that involve easier consumption methods at lower cost, it also provides a unique, personal, and socially integrated experience. This can contribute to values that extend beyond traditional hospitality management and thus imbue sharing-economy platforms with a unique and sustainable competitive advantage.
KeywordsCustomer value Sharing economy Service platform
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