Social Interactions In Non-Monetary Accommodation Sharing: Host’s Motivation and Value Co-Creation
Accommodation sharing, as collaborative consumption platforms, fosters memorable tourism experiences by allowing individuals to have direct interactions with hosts and local communities. Airbnb and CouchSurfing exemplify two of the most popular accommodation-sharing platforms, representing the distinction between monetary and non-monetary platforms. While Airbnb as a monetary accommodation sharing platform has gained much attention in the academic literature, little is known regarding CouchSurfing and its non-monetary model. Current research postulates that by the absence of financial involvement, CouchSurfing offers more intimacy and experience in the host-guest relationship. Meanwhile, shifts in tourist behaviour have determined the direction of value co-creation in the tourism industry. Together with tourism providers and other social actors, tourists are engaged in active participation and interaction to create value jointly and for all participants. Motivated by the extant literature on accommodation sharing and value co-creation, this research contributes to the conceptualisation of value co-creation in non-monetary accommodation sharing through the perspective of the host. Taking CouchSurfing as the context, this research answers several questions: 1) what is the motivation of Indonesian CouchSurfing members to host? 2) Through what practices is value co-created between host and guest in CouchSurfing? 3) What resources are needed to co-create value in the context? 4) What value emerges from hosting in CouchSurfing? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants from Bandung, Yogyakarta, and Bali. In addition to the individual interviews, a focus group discussion with 6 participants was held in Yogyakarta. Findings from this research highlight the intrinsic, personal and emotion-based nature of hosts’ motivations to participate in Couchsurfing, including the establishment of personal connections and friendships, an opportunity to behave in altruistic ways, and the increase of knowledge through other people’s lives and experiences. To fulfil these motivations to the best possible extent, guest selection strategies were put into place by hosts, based on prior experience. The co-creational social practices then closely aligned to those motivations and are regulated by hosts’ management strategies. This ensured a positive experience, resulting in a variety of value outcomes including new knowledge, positive self-identity as well as professional opportunities. Findings of this research also highlight the unique nature of co-creational experiences in non-monetary accommodation sharing and the unusually strong impact of motivations on all components of the value co-creation process. This research concludes with suggestions for future research and both theoretical and practical implications for harnessing intimacy and authenticity in the tourism industry.