Sanitised homes and healthy bodies: reflections on Airbnb's response to the pandemic

Maartje Roelofsen, Claudio Minca

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This paper examines some key changes to Airbnb's travel philosophy, protocols and standards since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reflects on how the climate of uncertainty imposed by the global health crisis has induced Airbnb to promote among its users a new ethos of flexibility, adaptability, liability and long-term commitment. In particular, we discuss how new protocols and regulatory measures have engendered a culture of uniformity and transparency regarding issues of health and safety, but also concerning social interactions, personal communication, labour, and the conduct of everyday life of Airbnb's hosts and guests. The article also highlights that the changes implemented by the platform have not gone unchallenged and how some of the protests against the new measures and protocols were manifested via the Airbnb Community Center. We conclude with a few considerations about possible future directions of the Airbnb hospitality machinery and their potential consequences on the post-pandemic landscapes of travel and tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • Airbnb
  • COVID-19
  • sanitization
  • home
  • hospitality


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