For the forthcoming book From Overtourism to Undertourism: Sustainable Scenarios in Post Pandemic Times edited by Dr. Valeria Pecorreli, I have written a chapter entitled “Capitalizing on Crises. Airbnb’s Transformations from the Great Recession through the Covid-19 Pandemic”.
In this chapter, I outline the social, economic, and political consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for tourism’s platform economies, and use Airbnb as a case study. The chapter argues that Airbnb’s business model and travel philosophy have always already been predicated upon and productive of crisis conditions. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented new challenges and opportunities for Airbnb, circumstances of uncertainty, precarity, and inequality have been central to the platform’s functioning since its establishment in 2008. The chapter continues to examine how Airbnb’s economic practices and relationships have changed, proliferated, or become embedded in the current times of crisis. It traces some of the most recent changes in Airbnb’s communications, standards, and protocols, and shows how the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the platform with new opportunities to make profits from previously relatively insulated realms of social life. Finally, the chapter also considers how the crisis might act as a potential catalyst of structural change in relation to the platform economies of tourism.
For the time being, a preprint of the chapter can be accessed here. The book is to be published by Unicopli (Milan, Italy) in September 2021.
Recommended citation: Maartje Roelofsen (2021) Capitalizing on Crises. Airbnb’s Transformations from the Great Recession through the Covid-19 Pandemic. In: Valeria Pecorelli (ed.) From Overtourism to Undertourism: Sustainable Scenarios in Post Pandemic Times. Unicopli: Milan.