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Papers in this special issue offer a wide range of political economy and sociological perspectives to explain the development and impacts of short-term rentals (STRs) in European cities. Empirically, they provide insights regarding STR providers, socio-spatial impacts, and regulation. Authors reveal the professionalization of the sector vis-à-vis the connection between STRs and the wider financialization of housing. STRs are predominantly supplied by professional property managers as well as by middle-class individuals for which renting on digital platforms is their main professional activity. Furthermore, the increasing professionalization of hosts and the intrinsic competition among them is largely stimulated by the business model of digital platforms which has progressively favoured professional operators. Understanding how STRs are shaped by platform capitalism helps to explain the socio-spatial impacts of this market as well as why current regulations have not mitigated such impacts. In terms of impacts, contributions to this special issue document processes of displacement, gentrification, and how the penetration of visitors/home/epn in neighbourhoods is experienced by residents as a process of loss and dispossession. However, due to the lobbying campaigns of professional operators and industry players, regulation has led to the legitimization of this new market rather than to the limitation of the activity. Therefore, the special issue challenges the use of a 'sharing economy' and 'peer-to-peer platforms' as analytical categories, and, instead, provides evidence of why the STR market should be seen as part of the wider expansion of platform capitalism, consolidating the neoliberal and financialized urban paradigm.
Short-term rentals as a new urban frontier evidence from European cities
Agustin Cocola-Gant
Centre of Geographical Studies, Universidade de Lisboa; & School of Geography, University of Leeds
Angela Hof
PLUS University of Salzburg, Department of Geography and Geology, Research Group on Urban and
Landscape Ecology
Christian Smigiel
PLUS University of Salzburg (Austria), Department of Geography and Geology, Working Group Urban
and Social Geography
Ismael Yrigoy
Department of Geography, University of Santiago de Compostela; Department of Social and
Economic Geography, Uppsala University
Original Citation:
Cocola-Gant, A., Hof, A., Smigiel, C, & Yrigoy, I (2021). Short-term rentals as a new urban frontier
evidence from European cities. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. Vol. 53(7): 1601-
1. Introduction
The idea for this special issue, which begun to develop in 2017, followed the celebration of two
international meetings organized by the guest editors. The first meeting was the session ‘Holiday
rentals and the right to housing’ at the RC21 Conference that took place in Leeds in September 2017.
The second one was an international workshop held at the University of Salzburg in November 2017
entitled “Reshaping European cities? – Exploring policies, practices and everyday realities concerning
‛Airbnbification’”. In total, we received 21 oral presentations from ten countries, which
demonstrated the interest that this emerging topic was, and still is, attracting.
In 2008, the most visible company and most potent player in the short-term rental (STR) market was
founded in California, USA: Airbnb©. As with other digital platforms, the company hit the Zeitgeist of
the so-called ‘sharing economy’ and put the narrative of ‘living like a local - not in a hotel’ at the
heart of its marketing strategy. However, it seems that this marketing strategy has been, to a certain
extent, uncritically assumed by many as a conceptual category to explain the rise of STRs.
Additionally, early research on the topic framed Airbnb as a market disruptor in the tourism
accommodation sector (Guttentag, 2015), suggesting how a digital platform and a new business
model were effortlessly connecting nonprofessional hosts with guests. While we acknowledge the
power of platforms in connecting supply and demand, papers in this special issue offer a wide range
of political economy and sociological perspectives that challenge the ideas of both the promise of
the sharing economy and pure market innovation as the processes that explain growth.
To start with, it is worth noting that the big platforms that are dominating the market have grown
aggressively backed by venture capitalists, who have found in digital platforms new investment
opportunities since the 2008 financial crisis (Langley & Leyshon, 2017). In line with this, and beyond
the sphere of digital platforms themselves, papers in this special issue offer a fine-grained
understanding of both investment in this industry, and which key actors are involved in this
particular form of property-led accumulation, thus providing evidence of the professionalization of
STR suppliers. While digital platforms help property owners to reach a global demand and to extract
profits from rental markets, the special issue further shows that they have flourished in a neoliberal
and financialized housing market context (Clancy, 2020). For instance, in this issue, the work of
Mller et al. (2021) reveal how in Pollença (Majorca, Spain) a local rentier growth coalition adjusted
regulations to facilitate the expansions of STRs. Therefore, papers in this special issue challenge the
use of a ‘sharing economy’ and ‘peer-to-peer platforms’ as analytical categories, and, instead,
provide evidence of why the STR market should be seen as part of the wider expansion of platform
capitalism (Srineck, 2017; Sadowski, 2020) and platform real estate (Shaw, 2018).
To further delve into this debate, this introduction is divided into the three main topics discussed in
the special issue: STR providers; socio-spatial impacts; and regulation.
2. Short-term rental providers and the Airbnb landlord
In the early urban research on STRs, scholars mainly applied spatial and quantitative analyses and
relied on what has been seen as the most reliable evidence to describe the phenomenon: data
scraped from the Airbnb website. This research suggests that, in central urban areas of major tourist
destinations, the tendency of the market is toward increased commercialization of entire
apartments available all year round and that the majority of Airbnb revenues are generated through
entire homes supplied by multi-listing hosts (Deboosere et al. 2019; Dogru, et al. 2020; Kadi et al,
2019; Gil & Sequera, 2020). These authors have further suggested that the number of people
actually practicing home-sharing is decreasing and that, instead, it seems that a professional STR
market has been consolidated. Therefore, evidence shows that STRs create new opportunities for
some players to extract profits from real estate, yet, when using data scraped from the Airbnb
website, there are several limitations in understanding who these players are.
By using qualitative methodologies, papers in this special issue shed light on the debate. Contextual
difference is important in understanding the specificities of each case, but in short, papers reveal
that: (i) when STRs are supplied by individuals these are either middle-class people capitalizing on
housing assets or buy-to-let investors who are attracted by the profitability and flexibility of this
market; and (ii) when STRs are supplied by commercial operators these are professional property
managers. These findings not only question the Airbnb rhetoric of 'ordinary people sharing their
homes', but also the category of 'hosts' because it would be more accurate to refer to them as
landlords and property managers. In relation to individuals renting on Airbnb, papers of the special
issue contribute to revealing their privileged position. In recent years, scholars have stressed that
individual hosts are usually white, middle-class, and highly educated people (Mermet, 2021;
Roelofsen, 2018), who possess substantial cultural capital and 'cosmopolitan capital' (Ladegaard,
2018) and that, in turn, renting on Airbnb reinforces the process of income inequality as only a
minority of middle-class citizens benefit from the platform (Schor, 2017). For instance, in cities in the
United States, it has been found that in predominantly black neighborhoods, Airbnb landlords tend
to be white individuals, and disruptions in the housing market tend to be more likely to affect black
residents (Hoffman & Heisler, 2020; Törnberg & Chiappini, 2020). Semi and Tonetta's paper (2021) in
this issue explores STR suppliers in a peripheral, gentrifying neighborhood of Turin, Italy, and applies
a social class perspective to understanding why middle-class homeowners become STR providers.
Interestingly, the authors found that these individual suppliers are able to benefit from STR digital
platforms due to the possession of assets and resources, which are both economic (housing and
capital) and cultural (education and capabilities, such as language abilities and digital skills). While
some of these hosts certainly started renting their homes to deal with economic uncertainties after
the 2008 financial crisis, to some extent these hosts are privileged individuals in gentrifying
neighborhoods. Therefore, although Airbnb stresses that the majority of their properties are
provided by single-listing hosts, feeding their sharing economy rhetoric, it is useful to highlight, first,
that revenue is concentrated in the hands of professional operators (Deboosere et al. 2019; Dogru,
et al. 2020; Smigiel et al. 2020) and that, second, when owners are individuals, these are middle-
class people capitalizing on their cultural and economic assets.
In line with this, another group of individuals who benefit from STR digital platforms are buy-to-let
investors. In Thessaloniki, Greece, Katsinas (2021) found, as demonstrated in this issue, that while
some local landlords stopped renting to tenants to move their properties to the STR market, the
main suppliers nowadays are individual investors for which STRs are their main professional activity.
Similarly, in their case study in Lisbon, Portugal, Cocola-Gant & Gago (2021) show that 78% of STR
property owners are buy-to-let investors, the majority of whom outsource the management of their
properties to corporate hosts. In this case, investors tend to be foreign people benefiting from
Portuguese tax policies; the authors use this evidence to make a connection between STRs and the
wider financialization of housing. In a context where housing is increasingly seen as an asset to
deposit surplus capital, professional STR property managers have specialized teams aimed at
capturing distant investors and managing the properties for them. By the same token, the Lisbon
(Cocola-Gant & Gago, 2021) and the Pollença (Mller et al. 2021) cases illustrate that STRs have
flourished to a great extent due to the flexibility of a regulatory framework that has reinforced the
role of housing as a financial asset.
In sum, STR digital platforms primarily constitute an instrument for speculative investment in the
housing market on the one hand, and a tool for middle-class individuals to augment their incomes
on the other hand. The evidence that this market has little to do with the ideals of a sharing
economy is further illustrated by the increased professionalization of STR operators. Ironically, not
only do professional hosts have higher concentrations of revenue, but the 'ordinary people' who
started renting their own homes are having trouble surviving in a competitive professional market
(Cocola-Gant, et al., 2021; Katsinas, 2021). It seems that the provision of STRs will increasingly
resemble the traditional rental housing market, in which some landlords manage their properties
themselves, and others outsource them to professional managers. Furthermore, the
professionalization of hosts and its ongoing competition is largely favored by the business model of
digital platforms (Srineck, 2017), which has progressively favored professional operators.
Understanding how STRs are shaped by platform capitalism helps to explain the socio-spatial
impacts of this market as well as why current regulations have not mitigated such impacts. We
discuss these two issues below.
3. Socio-spatial impacts
Social movements, public opinion, and academic interest has drawn considerable attention to the
topic of short-term rentals due to the multilayered, socio-spatial impacts it incurs. Empirically-
grounded analyses regarding these issues have mainly relied on data scraped by activist projects such
as,, or; without these projects, it would not have been
possible to carry out the analyses. Drawing on Neil Smith’s (1979) theory, it has been claimed that
switching from a residential long-term use of housing to a touristic short-term use opens a rent gap
because the potential rent that can be extracted automatically increases (Wachsmuth & Weisler,
2018; Yrigoy, 2019). Studies have further documented the displacement of tenants caused by STRs,
suggesting that the process drives new forms of gentrification (Cocola-Gant, 2016; Mermet, 2017;
Robertson et al, 2020). This is also because it causes a shortage of available housing for long-term
tenancy agreements which reduces housing alternatives for residents, thus resulting in an increase in
prices in this market (García-López et al, 2020). Furthermore, analyses showed that STRs are more
likely to be located in city centers and tourist hotspots, adding further housing pressures to areas
already impacted by gentrification (Ioannides et al, 2018; Jover and Díaz-Parra, 2020; Robertson et al,
2020). However, STRs impact other geographies of cities as well and, for instance, in Los Angeles, Lee
(2016) notes that STRs create a gentrifying domino effect because middle-income residents displaced
from or unable to find accommodation in central areas tend to move to more peripheral
Articles in this special issue offer methodological alternatives to the study of the socio-spatial impacts
of STRs, particularly relying on qualitative methods and a scalar shift from municipalities or entire city
centers to finer spatial scales. Cocola-Gant & Gago (2021) dissect the transformation of land uses
caused by STRs at the street level and are able to quantify both the amount of housing rehabilitated
for STR uses and the displacement of tenants. Furthermore, qualitative studies exploring the
experiences of residents who remain and live alongside STRs reveal how the penetration of tourism
in their places is lived as a process of loss and dispossession (Rozena & Lees, 2021). In this regard, the
papers on Thessaloniki (Katsinas, 2021) and Lisbon (Cocola-Gant & Gago, 2021) further document how
residents, under pressure from displacement, are unable to find accommodation in their
neighborhoods due to a de facto change in land use from ‘permanent’ to ‘short-term’ leases, adding
their weight to residents’ feelings of frustration and loss.
Finally, most of the articles in the special issue focus on who the agents that actually create income
from STRs are, and the mechanisms these agents have to actually extract income from STRs (Katsinas,
2021; Müller et al, 2021; Semi & Tonetta, 2021; Cocola-Gant & Gago, 2021). In this regard, they offer
excellent entry points to dissect, in future research, an additional social dimension that still remains
largely unaccounted for the impacts of STRs on the labor force. While the spatial distribution has
been widely acknowledged, the social impact of the eruption of STRs in the labor market still needs to
be addressed thoroughly and urgently. Spangler (2019) has claimed that the process of hosting is in
itself an invisible and labor-intensive process, claiming that performances of being a host “are often
contiguous with the ordinary practices of their everyday lives, and rendered laborious, because they
are reconstituted in a circuit of value production within the nebulous machinery of platform
capitalism” (2019: 576). Additionally, the professionalization of the STR market implies the
outsourcing of cleaning, laundry, and other operational services that, as Cañada & Izcara Conde (2021)
illustrate, are undertaken by a feminized workforce in heavily precarious conditions. By knowing how
income is created by STRs and who actually appropriates this income, articles in this special issue can
shed light on the social implications that income creation for STRs has on labor, and how this will
actually deepen social inequalities. Summing up, there is an urgent need to address the nexus of social
inequalities, labor, and gender regarding STRs in a more coherent way in the near future.
4. Regulation
Due to the impacts mentioned above, STRs have become a highly contested political issue, and, in
several cities, protest and resistance against the touristification of neighborhoods, coupled with
critical media coverage, have stimulated intense public discussions (Colomb & Novy, 2016). Urban
policymakers have started to reflect on this political issue in some of the most affected cities (for
instance, Amsterdam 2019). This has led to a growing number of restrictions and regulations on STRs
that range from technical to spatial measures (Dredge et al., 2016; Nieuwland & Van Melik, 2018).
However, there is still criticism that these measures are not appropriate since: authorities lack
control of data; measures are often difficult to enforce (municipalities do not have enough staff to
monitor restrictions, and platforms are able to bypass traditional regaulations); they also tend to
neglect the growing professionalization of STR providers; and they are, above all, small-scale
solutions to a larger (housing) problem (Smigiel, 2020).
Taking into account the variety of policy responses in European cities, Aguilera’s et al. (2021) paper
on this issue investigates processes of STR regulations in Barcelona, Milan, and Paris. By using these
dissimilar cases, Aguilera et al. (2021) highlight that actual regulation depends on the actors who
articulated the issue in the first place as well as on trajectories of decision-making and pre-existing
policy-instruments. Moreover, they emphasize the multi-scalarity of this political issue that involves
national and regional governments as well as the European Union (EU). In fact, the complexity of
multi-level governance has helped platforms, such as Airbnb, to increase their business activities. EU
legislation and national governments decisions have so far functioned as a legal umbrella that has
protected digital service providers. Housing issues are of seemingly minor importance and have been
outplayed by the argument of Airbnb as a “digital catalyzer” for a so-called “collaborative economy”
(EU Commission, 2020). This shows that STR providers in general, and Airbnb in particular, have
become powerful and influential actors. On one side, they do multi-scalar political lobbying by
holding consultations with municipalities, regional governments, or national governments. On the
other side, they are able to orchestrate large public campaigns that include grassroots lobbying the
latter of which has been indicated by recent research as well as Aguilera’s et al. paper (Yates, 2021).
Beyond that, they seek to become new infrastructural institutions which symbolize the growing
footprint of platform capitalism in cities (van Doorn, 2019). The result has been that in some cases
regulation, rather than ‘limitation’ and mitigating the negative effects of STRs, has involved the
‘legitimization’ of this new market. Legal frameworks have given STRs a legal status that they did not
have, and this is exactly what the big industry players were looking for throughout their lobbying
campaigns. Regulations, therefore, have consolidated a new professional industry that now seems
too big to fail.
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... However, over the years, processes of commercialization and professionalization have permeated the platform and Airbnb has become an attractive business opportunity for professional operators such as landlords and property managers (for other examples of Airbnb professionalization see Bosma, 2022). These actors rent out multiple and/or entire properties on a full-time basis to tourists rather than residents in need of housing, often undermining local housing policies (Cocola Gant et al., 2021). This is particularly problematic in places that already face a shortage in supply of (affordable) housing and has led to displacement of residents (Richards et al., 2020). ...
... Rather than challenging the causes of housing inequality, it has contributed to the marketization and commodification of housing as a neoliberal strategy (Roelofsen, 2021). Myriad studies have now confirmed that in many cities the majority of Airbnb accommodation on offer concerns entire properties that are usually available for rent for extensive periods of time throughout the year (Cocola Gant et al., 2021). They have little to do with practices of "home-sharing" in the sense that many of these homes are not actually inhabited by those who enlist them on Airbnb (Cocola Gant et al., 2021). ...
... Circling back to the negative effects of commercialization and professionalization on the platform (Cocola Gant et al., 2021) for Airbnb to contribute to a more equitable and just "new normal" in the world of platform-mediated tourism, the company could value and support the wellbeing of its "home-sharing" hosts more profoundly. At present, this group of hosts forms a minority group within a larger pool of hosts who rent out entire properties without being present during a stay. ...
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Purpose This paper explores how Airbnb hosts' experiences with and responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) health crisis may differ according to their motivations to host and to the type and spatial layout of their Airbnb accommodation. Based on these insights, the paper reflects on the lessons that are learned for the future of short-term rentals. Design/methodology/approach This is a qualitative multi-method small-scale case study, which relies on in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion carried out with a group of hosts affiliated to the Airbnb Host Community in Aarhus, Denmark. Informed by an interpretivist approach, the study aims to make sense of people's subjective experiences with hosting on the Airbnb platform, and how they have continued and adapted their hospitality practices during the pandemic. Findings 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. Originality/value This study provides novel insights into the uneven impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on participants in the platform economies of tourism. It contributes to existing literature on the impacts of the pandemic on Airbnb's operations by showing how hosts' adaptive practices are informed by their subjective living conditions and the type of accommodation they can offer their guests.
... Η δυνατότητα απόκτησης εισοδήματος μέσω της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης αξιοποιήθηκε βεβαίως στην πορεία όχι μόνον από απλούς ιδιοκτήτες/οικοδεσπότες με διαθέσιμο ένα δωμάτιο ή μία κατοικία προς μίσθωση, αλλά και από επαγγελματίες της αγοράς ακινήτων (Cocola-Gant et al., 2021), οι οποίοι επένδυσαν στην αγορά και ανακαίνιση κατοικιών με σκοπό την εκμετάλλευσή τους ως καταλυμάτων βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης. Παράλληλα, η βραχυχρόνια μίσθωση δημιούργησε ευκαιρίες εισοδήματος και απασχόλησης σε ένα εύρος υποστηρικτικών υπηρεσιών, από την επαγγελματική διαχείριση των ακινήτων που διατίθενται, μέχρι και την παροχή υπηρεσιών όπως η διαμόρφωση/συντήρηση των καταλυμάτων, ο καθαρισμός τους, κ.ά. ...
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Short-term accommodation rentals offered via online platforms represent a new and rapidly growing economic activity that has attracted significant interest, raising several issues in relation to its economic effects and the need for institutional interventions to regulate its operation. The present report focuses on the case of Greece and provides an economic analysis of recent developments and characteristics of the country’s short-term accommodation sector. As a background, the report investigates the multi-dimensional economic effects of short-stay rentals, based on a review of the insights obtained from the extensive recent literature concerning this activity. Furthermore, the report examines in detail the legislative interventions for the regulation of short-stay rentals in Greece, while also providing an overview of the relevant institutional framework and the new regulatory initiatives pursued at the level of the EU. The report utilizes recent economic data on short-term accommodation rentals in Greece and the EU. The data, which originate from official sources and include new statistics that became available for the first time in the year 2021, are employed in an original analysis focusing on the case of Greece. The analysis examines the size and evolution of short-term rentals in Greece at the national, regional, and metropolitan level, while also capturing key factors related to the supply and demand for these accommodations in the country.
... Η δυνατότητα απόκτησης εισοδήματος μέσω της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης αξιοποιήθηκε βεβαίως στην πορεία όχι μόνον από απλούς ιδιοκτήτες/οικοδεσπότες με διαθέσιμο ένα δωμάτιο ή μία κατοικία προς μίσθωση, αλλά και από επαγγελματίες της αγοράς ακινήτων (Cocola-Gant et al., 2021), οι οποίοι επένδυσαν στην αγορά και ανακαίνιση κατοικιών με σκοπό την εκμετάλλευσή τους ως καταλυμάτων βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης. Παράλληλα, η βραχυχρόνια μίσθωση δημιούργησε ευκαιρίες εισοδήματος και απασχόλησης σε ένα εύρος υποστηρικτικών υπηρεσιών, από την επαγγελματική διαχείριση των ακινήτων που διατίθενται, μέχρι και την παροχή υπηρεσιών όπως η διαμόρφωση/συντήρηση των καταλυμάτων, ο καθαρισμός τους, κ.ά. ...
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Η βραχυχρόνια μίσθωση ακινήτων μέσω ψηφιακών πλατφορμών αποτέλεσε τα τελευταία χρόνια μία καινούρια και ταχέως αναπτυσσόμενη οικονομική δραστηριότητα, η οποία συγκέντρωσε αρκετό ενδιαφέρον, εγείροντας αρκετά ζητήματα σε σχέση με τις οικονομικές της επιπτώσεις και την ανάγκη θεσμικών παρεμβάσεων για τη ρύθμιση της λειτουργίας της. Η παρούσα έκθεση περιλαμβάνει μία οικονομική ανάλυση της εξέλιξης και των χαρακτηριστικών της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης ακινήτων στην Ελλάδα. Βασικό υπόβαθρο για την ανάλυση αποτελεί η επισκόπηση της υπάρχουσας σύγχρονης και εκτεταμένης βιβλιογραφίας που αφορά τις πολλαπλές διαστάσεις των οικονομικών επιπτώσεων της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης. Παράλληλα, στην εργασία εξετάζονται αναλυτικά οι νομοθετικές παρεμβάσεις για τη ρύθμιση της δραστηριότητας αυτής στην Ελλάδα, καθώς και το αντίστοιχο θεσμικό πλαίσιο και οι νέες πρωτοβουλίες σε επίπεδο E.E. Η εργασία αξιοποιεί νέα οικονομικά στοιχεία για τη δραστηριότητα της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης στην Ελλάδα και την Ε.Ε., τα οποία προέρχονται από επίσημες πηγές και δημοσιεύτηκαν για πρώτη φορά το έτος 2021. Στην πρωτότυπη ανάλυση που διενεργείται με βάση τα στοιχεία αυτά εξετάζονται το μέγεθος και η πορεία της βραχυχρόνιας μίσθωσης στην Ελλάδα σε εθνικό και περιφερειακό επίπεδο και σε επίπεδο μεγάλων πόλεων και αποτυπώνονται βασικοί παράγοντες που σχετίζονται με την προσφορά και τη ζήτηση για τα καταλύματα αυτά στη χώρα.
... This is a perfect storm-a coalescence of policy issues at vertical and horizontal scales. (2016,18) Critical studies on the rise of STR and their related social and economic effects such as the accumulation-by-financialization, the impact on housing prices and affordability, and the intensification of already existing gentrification processes, have been focusing empirically on the supply of whole dwellings, or, more specifically, on hosts controlling multiple listings, who concentrate the majority of the revenue generated in platform hospitality (Morales-Pérez, Garay, and Wilson 2020;Cocola-Gant et al. 2021b). However, research on the impacts and the business logics of home-sharing, namely the renting out of a part of a permanent residence, is comparatively scant. ...
Barcelona, one of the main destinations for Airbnb users, has turned into one of the main stages for the now global debate around short-term rentals and their impacts on resident communities. Criticism has mostly focused on the conversion of housing into conventional tourist apartments while less attention has been paid to the problematization of short-term rentals in primary residences. Important questions thus arise as to whether these allegedly genuine forms of home-sharing should be ‘formalised’ at all through a regulation, and which type of controls should be applied. Our research helps to excavate this issue, shedding further light on the different logics and practices behind the development of home-sharing, and discusses the limitations of a regulation which is being introduced. To this end, it offers an in-depth analysis of the home-sharing supply in Barcelona, tackling its social and spatial logics, which is framed in the broader debate on processes of social change affecting inner cities. It then focuses on el Raval, one of Barcelona's core neighbourhoods where home-sharing practices have become more diffused, revealing how these practices are strongly correlated with high residential mobility and the presence of a single-dweller childless European resident population. Finally, we argue that home-sharing becomes an equally problematic agency of conversion of housing into a mooring for mobile communities, further contributing to potential gentrification and the displacement of residents.
This article focuses on how Airbnb hosts in the Boston metro, San Francisco, and Washington, DC respond to legislative short‐term rental (STR) regulations. I trace how hosts justify their multiple STR practices by way of the civic good all while foreclosing a debate about the potential negative effects of their monetisation. I show how hosts displace the displeasing aspects of STRs onto the abstracted category of the “Investor Host”, a stand‐in for foreign investment capital and indifferent corporations. I argue that STR owners replicate what Iyko Day calls “romantic anti‐capitalism”, a mode of critiquing capitalism that valorises the local and concrete uses of capital while displacing capital's destructive effects onto an abstracted and racialised other. I build on Day's theorisation by demonstrating how there are multiple genres of romantic anti‐capitalism that function differently based on a person's structural position within settler‐colonialism.
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European cities have responded differently to the growing number of short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) and proposed a variety of regulations, although little is known about their efficiency. This paper contributes to filling the gap by analyzing both policy documents and spatial distributions of Airbnb listings between 2015 and 2020 using Amsterdam, Berlin, and London as case studies. We also compare the results with those of nine other European capitals. Our results show that cities follow highly individualized approaches. According to the strictness of each regulation, we see different intensities in the growth (and drop) of Airbnb listings, the share of multi-hosts, and the share of apartments withdrawn from the regular housing market. There is also a spatial dispersion of listings from the center to the periphery. Our numbers insinuate that dynamically changing regulations force hosts to adapt continuously-which tames an uncontrolled proliferation, but more research is necessary.
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Făgăraș Land (Romania) is a very old administrative formation with its own identity, preserved from the beginning of the Middle Ages. The mapping of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) highlighted the groups of caroling lads as the main strategic heritage resource, but also the existence of many other ICH resources that can be exploited towards the sustainable development of the area. These include local soups, an ICH gastronomic resource that can help build the area’s tourism brand. All resources, together with the peculiarities of the local medieval history, the memory of the anti-communist resistance in the Făgăraș Mountains and the religious pilgrimage to the local Orthodox monasteries, support the configuration of Făgăraș Land as a multidimensional associative cultural landscape. The content analysis of the information on ICH available on the official websites of the administrative territorial units (ATUs), correlated with the data from the interviews with local leaders, highlighted the types of local narratives regarding the capitalization of cultural resources and the openness to culture-centered community-based development, namely glocal, dynamic local and static local visions. The unitary and integrated approach of tourist resources, tourism social entrepreneurship, support from the local commons and a better management of the local cultural potential are ways to capitalize on belonging to the Făgăraș Land cultural landscape, towards sustainable community development of the area.
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This paper explores the rise of short-term rental (STR) management companies and reveals the transition from a sharing economy activity to the consolidation of a professional industry hinging on what we call 'corporate hosts'. By relying on interviews with companies operating in Lisbon and Porto, Portugal, we found: first, that a phenomenon of market concentration occurred in which individual hosts have outsourced the management of their properties to corporate hosts; second, that through the use of digital technology and vertical integration, corporate hosts are able to enhance the profitability of large portfolios of STRs; and, third, that corporate hosts imitate practices from the hotel industry, leading to the formation of a hybrid product in which the lines between hotels and STRs have blurred. We argue that corporate hosts constitute a new layer of intermediation that challenges the way we understand the STR industry and the overall functioning of this market.
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This paper examines the impact of Airbnb on the everyday lived experiences of residents in London. We focus on three spatial scales – the city, neighbourhood, and an individual building. Short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb have transformed socio-cultural urban landscapes by turning homes into informal hotels. We argue that many of the consequences of Airbnb echo and support those of gentrification; this includes indirect displacement, buy-to-let investment, and transient communities. Using mixed-methods, including geodata, online surveys, focus groups, resident diaries, and auto/ethnography, we explore the impact of Airbnb across London, in Kensington, and inside a specific building on Kensington High Street.
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This article deals with one of the most controversial topics in urban studies related to mobile capital and mobile people. At first glance this seems to be contradictory since numbers of short-term rentals have decreased dramatically due to the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. However, this paper is not about numbers and statistics. Instead it discusses structural issues regarding governance and power relations which remain important topics (especially) in times of crisis. It provides insights regarding the following issues: firstly, it deconstructs different “myths” that still surround short-term rentals and Airbnb and secondly, it delineates the structural power of Airbnb as a new urban institution. This helps us to understand some of the conflicts over Airbnb and the pitfalls with current forms of regulation on the one side as well as showing the complexity and agency of short-term rentals on the other.
In this paper, we assess the impact of Airbnb on housing rents and prices in the city of Barcelona. Examining very detailed data on rents and both transaction and posted prices, we use several econometric approaches that exploit the exact timing and geography of Airbnb activity in the city. These include i) panel fixed-effects models, where we run multiple specifications that allow for different forms of heterogeneous time trends across neighborhoods, ii) an instrumental variables shift-share approach in which tourist amenities predict where Airbnb listings will locate and Google searches predict when listings appear, iii) event-study designs, and iv) finally, we present evidence from Sagrada Familia, a major tourist amenity that is not found in the city centre. Our main results imply that for the average neighborhood, Airbnb activity has increased rents by 1.9%, transaction prices by 4.6% and posted prices by 3.7%. The estimated impact in neighborhoods with high Airbnb activity is substantial. For neighborhoods in the top decile of Airbnb activity distribution, rents are estimated to have increased by 7%, while increases in transaction (posted) prices are estimated at 17% (14%).
Since the beginning of the 2008 economic crisis, Majorca has experienced an increase in tourism, which has been made possible partly by the expansion of short-term renting. Research on short-term rentals is a growing field in critical urban and tourism geographies. This paper contributes to these fields by examining the structure of actors involved in the development of short-term rentals and their power relations. Our case study focuses on the municipality of Pollença (Majorca, Spain). Pollença was chosen due to its status as one of the most noteworthy airbnbificated places in Europe and because of the number of holiday rentals in the municipality's rural areas. While a great deal of research has focused on rent gaps and gentrification caused by short-term rentals in cities, the rentier coalition associated with short-term rentals has been comparatively overlooked. We address who the rentiers of short-term rentals are, the power relations that lie behind short-term rentals, and how these rentiers form part of a locally based coalition that has the ability to adapt planning regulations to suit their own interests. We used mixed methods, including quantitative spatial analysis and qualitative analysis in the form of interviews with those who benefit locally from short-term rentals. Our qualitative approach further included in-depth fieldwork and activist research. We conclude that a powerful rentier growth coalition has corrupted democracy because the regulatory framework has been adjusted to satisfy their interests and the conversion of properties into holiday rentals has been done either illegally or on the verge of legality without strong legal consequences.
This article aims to bring empirical evidence to the debate on the redistributive effects of the sharing economy, using Airbnb as an example. Peer-to-peer short-term rental platforms provide every inhabitant of a tourism area with the opportunity to be a stakeholder of the local accommodation industry by leasing an underutilized part of their property to tourists. Therefore, Airbnb could be seen as a way to redistribute the income influx brought by tourism to a whole community, beyond the professionals of the hotel industry. Yet, very little is known about the categories of the population who are actually engaged in this business. Based on data on hosts advertising listings in the Reykjavík Capital Region (Iceland), this article shows that affluent households are the most represented among the Airbnb hosts. It demonstrates that the most profitable listings are advertised by upper class households, whereas low-income households are significantly underrepresented among hosts and have less profitable listings. This article therefore confirms that Airbnb does not benefit homogeneously across all categories of the population and that it reproduces inequality patterns in tourism cities.
This paper contributes to research on short-term rentals (STRs), their suppliers and their impact on housing and the local community, focusing on Thessaloniki, a recessionary city off the tourist map until recently. Through the conduction of in-depth interviews with hosts and other key informants, and the analysis of quantitative data on Airbnb listings, I argue that: (1) far from enabling a sharing economy, Airbnb facilitates (re)investment in housing by different types of hosts. But investors outcompete amateur hosts and contribute to the professionalisation of STRs and the concentration of revenues. (2) the extraction of higher rents through STRs leads to the displacement of tenants and to gentrification in cities previously considered as ungentrifiable, driven by increased tourism and the short-term character of these rentals. However, the type and scale of investors involved, and the impact of gentrification are conditioned by contextual differences and the position of cities in the international competition to attract tourists.
The impact of short-term rentals (STRs) such as Airbnb on housing markets has been of increasing concern to scholars, policy makers and housing advocates. Yet they do not take place in a vacuum. This article examines the political economy of STRs – and their relationship to the broader housing crisis – in Dublin, Ireland. The aim is to contribute in two ways: First is to provide another case study of STR platforms such as Airbnb on urban housing markets. Dublin is a useful case study in that it represents a major tourism destination and one where the government has continued to pursue international tourists as an economic development strategy. Second is to argue that these studies need to examine the larger context of housing policy as well as other factors that make housing markets in several places so tight in the first place. Here each story is different and is the product of a mixture of government policies, the broader political economy of the country, and global political economy factors such as TNC strategies and financialization. The article places STRs within this broader framework but also shows their localized effects through mapping Airbnb penetration in specific neighbourhoods in Dublin.