Analysing the importance of online trust on intention to use Airbnb by consumer groups differentiated by risk propensity and prior experience
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Airbnb is a peer-to-peer platform that enables hosts to provide private accommodation to travellers. The development of Airbnb attracted this study to investigate the usage intention of potential consumers, especially individuals who reside in New Zealand. Moreover, given the particularities of the peer-to-peer economy, online trust has been seen as a high potential driver – or barrier – of Airbnb use. Previous studies on online trust have found that the construct consists of different dimensions, particularly the ability belief, benevolence belief, and integrity belief. Adopting a three-dimension online trust construct, it could further be hypothesised that prior Airbnb experience and personal risk propensity could have an effect on the entire online-trust-belief construct. The purpose of this research was thus to observe how multidimensional online trust influences consumer intention to use Airbnb under individual risk propensities and prior Airbnb experiences. By adopting a model tested in the business-to-customer environment for many times, this dissertation attempted to fill a gap in the existing literature on P2P peer-to-peer market. A quantitative methodology was adopted, delivering an online questionnaire through the snowball sampling method with the direct environment of the research and the supervisors as a starting point. A total of 184 responses were collected from people over 16 years old who reside in New Zealand. Since 32 respondents specified they had not previously heard of Airbnb, 152 responses were ultimately used to test the constructed model. SPSS 22.0 and AMOS were used for data analysis and hypotheses tests, using frequency tables, descriptive statistics, ANOVA-tests, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, and linear regression. The research findings firstly revealed the potential for Airbnb to further develop the New Zealand travel market. Close to half of the 152 respondents in this study had already used Airbnb and an additional number of people showed interest in using Airbnb for future travels. The conceptual model, which was originally established in a business-to-customer environment, was validated in the Airbnb context as well, with results revealing that ability, benevolence and integrity beliefs of online trust all significantly impact the intention to use Airbnb, with benevolence being the strongest predictor. These relationships between online trust beliefs and intention to use Airbnb were influenced by prior experience and individual risk propensity, as was hypothesised. Risk avoiders’ intention to use Airbnb was affected by benevolence and integrity belief, and this was true for both prior Airbnb users as respondents without Airbnb experience. However, the situation was different for risk takers. Risk takers without prior experience were only influenced by the ability belief, indicating that risk-taking individuals value Airbnb accommodation’s functionalities instead of intangible trust aspects when intending to use Airbnb. For risk takers with prior Airbnb experience, no trust-aspects affected their usage intentions.