THE SHARING ECONOMY IN A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
Special Issue: Call for Papers from
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
(SSCI) (2-year IF: 4.874) (5-year IF: 5.484) (Scopus 9.3) (ABDC: A) (ABS: 3)
Kevin Kam Fung So, Oklahoma State University, USA
Giampaolo Viglia, University of Portsmouth, UK
Stephanie Liu, The Ohio State University, USA
Dan Wang, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR, China
Fevzi Okumus, University of Central Florida, USA
Since Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers coined the term “collaborative consumption” in their 2010 book What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, this economic model, known as the sharing economy, has gained widespread acceptance in business sectors including transportation (e.g., Uber), accommodation (e.g., Airbnb), food (e.g., EatWith), entertainment (e.g., WillCall), and even finance (e.g., LendingClub) (Wirtz, So, Mody, Chun, & Liu, 2019). The hospitality and tourism industry represents fertile ground for these types of disruptive innovations. Defined as a technologically enabled socioeconomic system featuring the five key characteristics including temporary access, the transfer of economic value, platform mediation, an expanded consumer role, and crowdsourced supply (Eckhardt, Houston, Jiang, Lamberton, Rindfleisch, & Zervas, 2019), the sharing economy has produced disintermediated industries: it allows people to transact directly by connecting them in unprecedented ways (Caldieraro et al., 2018). This new form of economic activity is intended to create value by matching two or more groups of actors—usually buyers and suppliers of a product, service, or other resources (e.g., data)—and enabling convenient interactions and transactions (Xu, Hazee, So, Li, & Malthouse, 2021). The peer-to-peer economy has exploded as a result (Wirtz et al., 2019). Research suggests that global revenue generated by the sharing economy will total $40.2 billion in 2022 (Statista, 2020), highlighting this sector’s economic significance. Its ongoing evolution has spawned a series of studies examining various aspects of the sharing economy in hospitality and tourism (e.g., Abrate & Viglia, 2019; Cheng, 2016; Camilleri & Neuhofer, 2017; Guttentag et al., 2018; Liu & Mattila, 2017; Mody, Suess, & Lehto, 2017; So, Oh, & Min, 2018; Wang & Nicolau, 2017; Zhu, So, & Hudson, 2017).
While the sharing economy has attracted significant academic and industry attention in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the global hospitality and tourism industry. The UNWTO (2021) recently reported that international tourist arrivals were still down 83% in the first quarter of 2021 as widespread travel restrictions remained in place across the world. Platform providers such as Airbnb and Uber were no exception; thousands of people lost their jobs, the value of sharing firms plummeted, and many service providers had no other option but to stop working (Hossain, 2021). The pandemic’s long-term impacts on the development of the service ecosystem, its individual actors, and their interactions are unclear.
An emerging body of literature has focused on COVID-19 and the sharing economy. Yet the potentially altered trajectories of this sector remain relatively unknown, and empirical research regarding the pandemic’s effects on sharing economy activities is lacking (Hossain, 2021). For instance, Airbnb has experienced a considerable decline in guests, but industry research implies that arrivals could recover to pre-pandemic levels in as early as 2021 (eMarketer 2020). Airbnb priced its initial public offering at $68 per share and enjoyed a 120% jump in its share price on the first trading day even during COVID-19 (Ponciano, 2020). Skift Research (2020) also indicated that short-term rentals led the travel and tourism industry’s recovery in the spring of 2021, extending to the summer across many destinations. Alternative accommodations allow guests or travel groups to better avoid others on the premises (Dubin, 2020). Tourists’ changing travel patterns, such as a greater preference for staycations, may produce additional growth opportunities (Jones & Comfort, 2020). Conversely, Dolnicar and Zare (2020) described COVID-19’s impact on the sharing economy as “disrupting the disruptor” and suggested that the trading of space on Airbnb and similar platforms will recover, but not to pre-COVID-19 levels. They further predicted that the proportion of investor-hosted Airbnb listings will drop. Similarly, Bresciani et al. (2021) found that, compared with hotel rooms and full flats, travelers are now more reluctant to book shared flats in Airbnb out of a high need for physical distance.
Tourism researchers have argued that COVID-19 will offer new research opportunities, acting as the silver lining in an otherwise gloomy situation. By contrast, a stable tourism system may not provide many topics with the potential to generate new knowledge, while innovation follows from adversity (Bausch, Gartner, & Ortanderl, 2021). The pandemic’s unprecedented impacts on society in general and hospitality and tourism in particular, coupled with growing academic attention and noteworthy industry imperatives, highlight the need for closer attention to its short- and long-term effects on multidimensional economic activities in the sharing economy. Relatively little is known about the myriad consequences of COVID-19 on consumers, platforms, service providers’ psychological and behavioral reactions, and overall adaptation within the sharing economy. More also remains to be uncovered regarding the potential directions and future landscape of the sharing economy within hospitality and tourism. These lacunae underscore the need for theoretical and practical research to advance the sharing economy literature by addressing central research issues, thus motivating the current Call for Papers.
To gain meaningful insight into the sharing economy in these turbulent times, this Special Issue seeks path-setting studies reflecting ambitious research agendas, systematic literature syntheses, seminal theory-building efforts, and creative research designs that unveil novel findings related to the sharing economy’s evolution in the post-COVID-19 era. Conceptual and empirical, quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods/multi-method studies are welcome. The guest editors are especially interested in submissions that make an original contribution to the sharing economy literature and practice at large. The editors are similarly keen to see how the exogenous shock of the pandemic has affected key actors in this ecosystem (e.g., sharing economy platforms, service providers, consumers, incumbents, and regulators) as well as the dynamics of their interactions in hospitality and tourism contexts. Sample questions and topics include but are not limited to the following:
- What are the multidimensional impacts of COVID-19 (e.g., economic loss, workforce changes, evolving demand, supply chain issues) on the sharing economy?
- How has the pandemic affected various sectors of the sharing economy?
- What organizational/industry responses at different stages of the pandemic have been most effective in building consumers’ confidence, gaining acceptance, and generating bookings and visitation?
- How can sharing economy platforms and service providers communicate effectively with their target audiences? What communication channels are most powerful in delivering optimal outcomes?
- What can governments, platforms, and service providers do to ensure customers’ safety?
- What are the most salient consumer risk perceptions of service consumption? What forms of anxiety are associated with the sharing economy amid the pandemic?
- How can the platform business model be leveraged post-COVID-19 to enhance organizational performance and promote long-term competitive advantages against incumbent businesses?
- What opportunities and challenges might sharing economy platforms and service providers encounter when dealing with pent-up demand during a rebound?
- How can platforms and service providers enhance their pandemic preparedness?
- How have consumers’ adoption and evaluations of services or products offered through the sharing economy varied across stages of the pandemic?
- How has the pandemic altered consumers’ preferences for, attitudes toward, and evaluations of the sharing economy?
- What are the most significant factors that encourage or facilitate consumers’ continued adoption of sharing economy offerings?
- How have consumers’ psychological and behavioral outcomes from adopting sharing economy services changed pre- and post-COVID-19?
- What opportunities and challenges might platforms and service providers encounter when dealing with pent-up demand as the hospitality and tourism industry rebounds?
- What are existing and potential consumers’ motivations and barriers to adopting sharing economy services?
- From an investment perspective, have peer-to-peer service providers’ motivations, willingness, or reluctance to engage in the sharing economy changed due to COVID-19?
- What do consumers prefer in the pre-, during-, and post-consumption stages of the consumption journey within the sharing economy post-COVID-19? Which factors may condition these preferences over time?
- What is the longitudinal impact of the pandemic on the sharing economy’s resilience?
- What policies and rules may need to be established to better regulate economic activities within the sharing economy during turbulent times to ensure benefits for all actors involved?
- How should business models in the sharing economy be modified or updated in response to the impacts of COVID-19?
- How has COVID-19 affected consumers’ decision-making processes when booking sharing economy offerings vs. traditional options?
- Are consumers willing to pay more in a post-pandemic world for premium accommodation solutions?
Each paper submitted to this Special Issue will be subject to the following review procedures:
- It will be reviewed by the guest editors for general suitability for this Special Issue.
- If it is judged suitable, three reviewers will be selected for a rigorous double-blind review process.
- Based on the recommendation of the reviewers, the guest editors and the Editor-in-Chief will decide whether the particular paper should be accepted as it is, revised and resubmitted, or rejected.
Abstract submissions: September 1, 2021
Abstract decisions: October 1, 2021
Full paper submissions: January 1, 2022
Revisions and decisions: February 2022–May 2022
Publication: In 2023