From creating new value to disrupting existing businesses, the rise of the sharing economy has had a major impact on the hospitality and transportation industries. Built on the concept of exchanging goods via an online marketplace, the sharing economy allows individuals to seamlessly move between acting as buyers and sellers. Emerging companies such as Uber and Airbnb have been winners in this sharing model, creating uncertainty for traditional incumbents such as taxis and hotels.
Airbnb, an online and user-friendly platform that allows “hosts” to list their homes as a destination, was founded in 2008 with the intention of connecting people to unique travel experiences at any price point. Within three years it had reached 1 million bookings. This success hit a major hurdle in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic hit, travel restrictions in many areas were put into place, and many consumers were wary of travel; this put a significant dent in Airbnb’s growth. As a result, Airbnb decided to tighten up and return to its core of everyday people hosting their homes and offering experiences. This meant putting some activities on hold (e.g., transportation) and scaling back on others (e.g., investments in luxury properties).