Accommodating Guests during Pandemic Times

In a recently published study, Simon Lind Fischer and I examine how Airbnb-hosts navigate the new landscape of hospitality within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We question how they have adapted their hosting practices since the outbreak of the pandemic, and how their adaptive practices change according to their subjective living circumstances and the type of accommodation that they offer through the platform. In order to answer these questions, we carried out interviews and a focus group discussion with a group of hosts who were affiliated to the Airbnb Host Community in Aarhus, Denmark.

Participants’ adaptive practices vary according to their motivations to host and the type of accommodation that they rent out. Although all hosts in this study now implement more intensive cleaning practices, hosts who stay with their guests onsite tend to take stricter preventative measures to avoid contamination and transmission of the virus in their social interactions with guests. On the contrary, hosts who rent out their entire properties and have minimal contact with their guests found themselves less affected by the pandemic’s impacts and have had a continued demand for their properties.

Social implications

The COVID-19 pandemic has unevenly affected Airbnb hosts. Hosts who share their homes with guests require different adaptations to their daily behaviour and cleaning practices at home than hosts who do not stay with their guests and rent out entire properties. However, unlike professional hosts who largely or solely rely on Airbnb for their income, occasional home-sharing hosts tend to be more flexible in coping with cancelled or fewer bookings.

The study has been published Open Access and can be found here.

Bibliographic details:

Fischer, S.L. and Roelofsen, M. (2022), “Accommodating guests during pandemic times: a case-study of the Airbnb Host Community in Aarhus, Denmark”, Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.