Purpose: A growing body of research from various domains has investigated Airbnb, a two-sided market platform for peer-based accommodation sharing. We suggest that it is due time to take a step back and assess the current state of affairs. In this paper, we hence conflate and synthesize research on Airbnb.
Design/methodology/approach: To facilitate research on Airbnb and its underlying principles in electronic commerce, we hence present a structured literature review on Airbnb.
Findings: Our findings are based on 118 articles from the fields of Tourism, Information and Management, Law, and Economics between 2013 and 2018. Based on this broad basis, we find that a) research on Airbnb is highly diverse in terms of domains, methods, and scope, b) motives for using Airbnb are manifold (e.g., financial, social, environmental), c) trust and reputation are considered crucial by almost all scholars, d) the platform’s variety is reflected in prices, and e) the majority of work is based on surveys and empirical data while experiments are scarce.
Originality/value: Our study provides a comprehensive overview of work on the accommodation sharing platform Airbnb, to the best of our knowledge, representing the first systematic literature review. We hope that researchers and practitioners alike will find this review useful as a reference for future research on Airbnb and as a guide for the development of innovative applications based on the platform’s peculiarities and paradigms in electronic commerce practice. From a practical perspective, the general tenor suggests that hotel and tourism operators may benefit from a) focusing on their core advantages over Airbnb and differentiating features and b) aligning their marketing communication with their users’ aspirations.
Implications: Based on the present assessment of studied topics, domains, methods, and combinations thereof, we suggest that research should move towards building atop of a common ground of data structures and vocabulary and that attention should focus on the identified gaps and hitherto scarcely employed combinations. The set of under-represented areas includes cross-cultural investigations, field experiments and audit studies, the consideration of dynamic processes (e.g., based on panel data), Airbnb’s “experiences” and automated pricing algorithms, as well as the rating distribution’s skewness.