Resident perceptions of the impacts of P2P accommodation: Implications for neighbourhoods

 Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, Cyprus University of Technology, 115 Spyrou Araouzou Street, Limassol, 3036, Cyprus


 Keywords: P2P accommodation Airbnb Neighbourhoods Impacts Social exchange theory


Although a research base is beginning to emerge in relation to the peer-to-peer accommodation phenomenon, the voices of residents are seldom heard in this scholarly literature. This study uses Social Exchange Theory to examine resident perceptions regarding the impact of P2P accommodation growth, and specifically Airbnb, on their neighbourhood. Fifty-one semi-structured interviews were employed to illuminate understanding of how resident perceptions are formed in relation to the exchange relationship with Airbnb guests. Findings reveal adominance of negative perceptions of socio-economic and environmental impacts. The study also contributes a typology of residents, based on their perceptions and behaviour towards associated impacts, which may guide policymakers and practitioners towards the adoption of an anthropocentric approach on P2P accommodation.The study concludes with a discussion of theoretical and practical implications.

This article provides data based conclusions regarding the response of residents to the presence of AirBnB rentals in their neighborhoods. The conclusions are clear:

The proliferation of P2P accommodation has been swift, and many tourism destinations are witnessing changes in urban life, as tourists increasingly spread beyond conventional tourism spaces into residential areas. Using SET to examine interactions between local residents and Airbnb guests, this study provides a timely first look into residents’ perceptions and reactions towards the impacts brought about by P2Paccommodation in their neighbourhood. SET has proved particularly useful for the purpose of this exploration because residents, during their exchanges with guests, base their perceptions on their evaluations of the impacts of P2P accommodation. According to Ap (1992), perceptions of benefits and costs are two essential criteria used by residents to evaluate tourism impacts. The majority of research participants in this study emphasised that imposed costs outweighed any positive outcomes brought about by Airbnb and their interactions with guests in their neighbourhood and residential environment. Thus, as the costs exceed benefits or rewards, residents are led to develop negative perceptions of P2P accommodations. Specifically, the results from this study clearly suggest that the impacts felt by residents are highly penetrating their daily life, spanning across a range of economic, social and environ-mental influences which in turn increase neighbourhood problems by altering not only the spatial elements comprising neighbourhoods but also the social relations among residents at the individual and collective levels. Seen from this perspective, the rise of P2P accommodation acts as a driver of touristification, which results in several impacts emanating from ‘overtourism’ (Stors and Baltes, 2018), albeit examined here within the residential context. Indeed, in exploring why residents perceive certain impacts, the interview data from this study suggest that the perceived impacts of P2P accommodation are ultimately related to their location in the residential environment of research participants.While it is not uncommon for tourists to visit local residential areas to have a meal or visit attractions, short-term rentals in residential areas increase length of stay, bringing a higher probability of impacts affecting immediate neighbours (e.g. disruptive behaviour, noise) as well as the ‘touristification’ of the local community (Gurran, 2018). How-ever, in residential areas, tourism-associated impacts are particularly concerning as the micro-level of neighbourhoods represents the basis of societal structures and processes. Resident displacement through rising rents and evictions, and the loss of the sense of community as guests replace residents as neighbours, emerging from this study and the wider P2P accommodation literature (e.g. Gurran and Phibbs, 2017;Guttentag, 2015), are testimony to this. In light of these conclusions, the study carries both theoretical and practical implications.

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