A First Look at Online Reputation on Airbnb, Where Every Stay is Above Average
22 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2015 Last revised: 12 Apr 2015
Date Written: January 28, 2015
Judging by the millions of reviews left by guests on the Airbnb platform, this "trusted community marketplace" is fulfilling its mission of matching travelers seeking accommodation with hosts who have room to spare remarkably well. Based on our analysis of ratings we collected for over 600,000 properties listed on Airbnb worldwide, we find that nearly 95% of Airbnb properties boast an average user-generated rating of either 4.5 or 5 stars (the maximum); virtually none have less than a 3.5 star rating. We contrast this with the ratings of approximately half a million hotels worldwide that we collected on TripAdvisor, where there is a much lower average rating of 3.8 stars, and more variance across reviews. Considering properties by accommodation type and by location, we find considerable variability in ratings, and observe that vacation rental properties on TripAdvisor have ratings most similar to ratings of Airbnb properties. Last, we consider several thousand properties that are listed on both platforms. For these cross-listed properties, we find that even though the average ratings on Airbnb and TripAdvisor are similar, proportionally more properties receive the highest ratings (4.5 stars and above) on Airbnb than on TripAdvisor. Moreover, there is only weak correlation in the ratings of individual cross-listed properties across the two platforms. Our work is a first step towards understanding and interpreting nuances of user-generated ratings in the context of the sharing economy.
Keywords: airbnb, reputation, online reviews, sharing economy
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