Wilson, Julie; Garay, Lluís; Morales, Soledad. 2021. Politicising platform-mediated tourism rentals in the digital sphere: Airbnb in Madrid and Barcelona. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2020.1866585
Both short-term tourism rentals and the digital platforms that manage and mediate them have expanded enormously in recent years, against a backdrop of increasing platform urbanism and platform capitalism. This expansion triggers transformations that are contributing to acute negative externalities never envisaged within the original ethos and sustainability promises of the sharing economy. The severe knock-on effects of the unanticipated reconfiguration of economic and everyday life have met with a strong civic response, leading to a growing politicisation of platform-mediated rentals increasingly performed in the digital sphere. Numerous social movements have arisen in opposition to platforms such as Airbnb, while lobbyists and user collectives have also mobilised to defend their respective rights to ‘home-share’ and generate extra income, as the business becomes increasingly professionalised in large cities. Through the lens of the increasingly politicised and polemical impacts of the platform economy, this article analyses Twitter narratives and counter-narratives surrounding Airbnb-mediated rentals and their impact on Madrid and Barcelona. Findings show how narratives are choreographed by a range of actors and that narrative ecosystems emerge in the form of interconnected virtual relationship networks, often embedded in translocal assemblages.
Keywords: Airbnb-mediated rentals; platform economy; translocal assemblage; narrative and counter-narrative; social protest and resistance movements; social network analysis.
Szilvia Gyimóthy, Soledad Morales Pérez, Jane Widtfeldt Meged and Julie Wilson. 2020. Editorial: Contested Spaces in the Sharing Economy. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/15022250.2020.1789502
The explosive growth of collaborative or peer-economy platforms has disrupted “business as usual” in tourism and triggered broad research interest in certain aspects or players of the sharing economy. This special issue explores diverse manifestations of the sharing economy in the context of its impacts upon and complex relationship with tourism spaces, by offering six, conceptually reflexive and empirically rich studies of how the sharing economy is transforming destinations, communities, consumers and tourism governance in Nordic and Mediterranean regions. The volume sheds light on the particular political, socio-cultural, demographic, organizational, institutional and technological conditions that are shaping new collaborative endeavours in tourism. Instead of fixating on sudden socio-spatial disruptions, the contributions are observant to changes unfolding over a longer period and in different geographical contexts. This longitudinal perspective also enables a more sophisticated discussion of the sharing economy’s impact beyond tourism, and its entanglements with social welfare models, cooperative production systems, resilient communities and digital infrastructures.
Keywords: Sharing economy; collaborative economy; disruption; socio-spatial controverses.
Morales, Soledad; Garay, Lluís; Wilson, Julie. 2020. Airbnb’s contribution to socio-spatial inequalities and geographies of resistance in Barcelona. Tourism Geographies, Published online: 24 Jul 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616688.2020.1795712
Red flags are increasingly being raised over the contribution of short term tourism rentals (mediated by platforms such as Airbnb) to socio-spatial inequalities and residential displacement. In many cases, the most vocal reactions have come from social movements claiming the Right to the City through particular geographies of resistance that underpin protest counter-narratives in the digital and non-digital spheres. In order to evaluate this relationship, a digital content analysis based on a sample of around 16,000 tweets illustrates the depth and diversity of tourism counter-narratives within the Twitter activity of social movements in opposition to tourism saturation in the city of Barcelona. This approach is triangulated with a spatial analysis of Airbnb-mediated rentals in Barcelona, based on GIS mapping, as well as correlations with a variety of geo-referenced data sources and the application of different socio-economic variables. The relationship between these two dimensions is key for policymakers in influencing regulatory approaches to collaborative platform activity and mitigating socio-spatial inequalities generated by short term rentals and the platforms that mediate them.
Keywords: Airbnb; socio-spatial inequalities; geographies of resistance; digital activism; tourism counter-narratives; sharing economy.
Gomis, Joan Miquel; González, Francesc. 2020. Smart Tourism Sustainability Narratives in Mature Beach Destinations. Contrasting the Collective Imaginary with Reality. Sustainability, 12(12):5083. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125083
This article contributes to the analysis of the relationship between urban renewal processes and sustainable development in mature beach destinations and the adoption of smart tourism. It takes as its case study Spanish destinations taking part in publicly-funded projects and plans designed to convert them into so-called “smart destinations” (SD). Its chief goals are to identify, through the Delphi technique, the smart tourism narrative behind the drive for creating SD, as well as to see how good a fit this is with the strategic positionings of mature destinations seeking to halt their decline or take on a new lease of life by introducing sustainability measures. Based on a review of the existing literature, we perform a critical analysis of this narrative to expose the contradictions arising when it is applied as a tool for urban renewal based on the implementation of sustainability strategies. The results aid with progress in two directions. Firstly, the article contributes new conceptual elements on the role of SD in the urban transformation of tourist destinations as a response to the challenges of global competitiveness. The second contribution, which is applied in nature and based on the study of a variety of Spanish tourist destinations, analyzes the impact the application of smart tourism-based technological solutions may have upon sustainability. Specifically, it examines the actions of different mass tourism beach destinations and discusses their actual ability to foster renewal in the field of tourism and offer solutions for overcoming urban sustainability problems. Lastly, it offers some recommendations for mature beach destination managers interested in implementing smart tourism projects based on sustainability criteria.
Keywords: Smart tourism; beach destinations; sustainability; evolution of tourism; Spanish smart destinations.
Morales, Soledad; Garay, Lluís; Troyano, Xandra. 2020. Beyond the big touristic city: nature and distribution of Airbnb in regional destinations in Catalonia (Spain). Current Issues in Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2020.1780201
Airbnb, as the world’s best-known short-stay rentals’ platform, is disrupting tourism everywhere, but studies into its growth and impact have been mostly limited to international urban destinations. To cover this gap, this study uses a database of 32,421 Airbnb listings obtained from its website to analyse, using a correlational and a linear regressions analysis, their distribution and nature across Catalonia’s 946 municipalities (excluding Barcelona city) and measuring their embeddedness in the formal accommodation sector and in the regulated tourist system in the region. Results show that Airbnb has particularly grown in mature traditional destinations, presenting a predominantly commercial model and playing an additive role. This study also reveals Airbnb as a new actor in the regulated tourist system in Catalonia thanks to the use of a legal figure (HUT) to channel its development, which also gives the platform a great potential for expansion. This study can be useful for municipalities and regulatory agencies’ decision-making in those destinations where Airbnb’s presence could be particularly disruptive.
Keywords: Airbnb, sharing economy; Catalonia, second homes; peer-to-peer accommodation; tourist dwellings.
Garay, Lluís; Morales, Soledad; Wilson, Julie. 2020. Tweeting the right to the city: digital protest and resistance surrounding the Airbnb effect. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/15022250.2020.1772867
Collaborative short-term accommodation rental platforms have grown enormously in Europe in the last decade and the resulting disruptive impacts are widespread in city neighbourhoods. Such impacts are increasingly linked to a growing socio-spatial inequality and have served to politicise civil society’s relationship with both platforms and tourism. As the more extractive platforms project themselves as sustainable, equitable “alternatives” to traditional accommodation business models, social protest and resistance collectives are increasingly vocal in projecting digital counter-narratives to this vision. This study analyses the impacts of Airbnb on the city of Barcelona and contextualises them within the digitally-networked narratives and counter-narratives that surround them. Different theoretical perspectives on traditional and digital activism are used to frame, on the one hand, the spatial distribution of Airbnb listings and on the other, an in-depth content analysis of Twitter conversations mentioning “Airbnb” and “Barcelona”. Findings show that the Airbnb effect reinforces broader touristification processes, mainly in relation to housing access and affordability issues and residential displacement. In parallel, digital counter-narratives underline this process and call for regulatory intervention. Both resistance and advocacy narratives tend to be “choreographed” by a range of actors other than Airbnb itself; particularly online press outlets, individual activists and political decision-makers.
Keywords: Collaborative platforms; social protest and resistance movements; socio-spatial inequality; digital counter-narratives; Airbnb.
Garay, Lluís; Morales, Soledad. 2020. User engagement in festival virtual brand communities: The Cases of Sónar And Primavera Sound (Barcelona). Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 2020, 3 january. https://doi.org/10.1177/1096348019897990
Resource branding has become a co-created process carried out within virtual brand communities (VBCs), which boost the social connectivity of users and contribute to placemaking. However, due to the very nature of VBCs, branding strategies rely on user engagement to succeed. The present study has performed a multidimensional and mixed-method analysis of almost 4,000 entries in the Facebook and Twitter VBCs of two renowned European music festivals, Sónar and Primavera Sound (Barcelona), to show the benefits of understanding the different components that comprise festival engagement and the relationships between them. Results show the importance of considering different festival brands and their main VBCs to develop a strategy based on the structure of each VBC user as well as the most prominent dimensions of user engagement and the inherent relationships between them. In addition, the consideration of “ongoing” engagement is a potential research pathway for exploring brand engagement beyond mere attendance.
Keywords: brand engagement; virtual brand communities; festival branding; social capital; placemaking.
Bonilla, Rocío; Perea, Eva; del Olmo, José Luis; Corrons, August. 2019. Insights into user engagement on social media. Case study of a higher education institution. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 2019, 21 nov. https://doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2019.1693475
The interactions of users in social networks have been analyzed in the literature as sources of information on their ability to generate engagement among stakeholders in higher education institutes, which make more tactical than strategic use of social networks. This study helps identify which variables generate greater participation in Instagram users, providing strategic proposals for digital marketing. From the codification of all the publications published by a university in a social network site during the period of one year, a comparative analysis was carried out through a multivariate model. The results provide important and timely implications for both universities and higher education professionals. Our findings suggest that higher education marketing specialists should develop stronger and more consistent communication strategies to establish more valuable relationships with stakeholders. The administrators of the social networks of higher education institutions can find patterns in those publications that generate a greater participation in this study.
Keywords: Social media, user engagement, higher education, marketing strategy, relationship.
González-Reverte, Francesc. 2019. Building Sustainable Smart Destinations: An Approach Based on the Development of Spanish Smart Tourism Plans. Sustainability, 11(23), 6874. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236874
The aim of this research is to assess the real effects of developing smart tourism destinations on urban sustainability. A content analysis method is used to analyze 994 initiatives contained in action-plan and strategy documents from different smart tourism pilot projects funded by Spanish tourism administration. The results indicate that, despite the noteworthy effort to develop smart initiatives, sustainability solutions based on the use of technology are scarcely proposed, suggesting that cultural, managerial and technological barriers do exist. Overall, smart tourism plans are mainly conceived as instruments designed to create new tourism products in a tourism-driven approach. Despite the institutional narrative promoting smart tourism destinations as a guarantee to transform destinations responding to residents’ needs and improve sustainability, pilot projects undergo little interest in holistic sustainable initiatives, suggesting that destination management is focused on a rhetorical approach to sustainability.
Keywords: urban sustainability; smart destination; smart tourism plans; technology; Spain
Garay, Lluís; Morales, Soledad. 2019. Decomposing and relating user engagement in festivals’ virtual brand communities: An analysis of Sónar’s Twitter and Facebook. Tourist Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797619873109
Festival branding is undergoing a revolution based on the consolidation of new communicative behaviours in virtual brand communities (VBCs), above all, channelled through social media platforms. Although the literature on festivals has analysed engagement in VBCs, this study provides an in-depth observation of the profiles of festival VBCs users, how they modulate engagement attributes and behaviours and how these relate to their engagement focus, highlighting festival branding while also considering other main focuses (i.e. social capital creation and place-making). Thus, this article aims to characterize these elements in festivals’ VBCs through a multidimensional analysis of nearly 2150 entries in the Twitter and Facebook VBCs of one of the most prominent music festivals in Europe, Sónar (Barcelona). Moreover, it does so through a longitudinal observation covering a whole year, showing the relevance of ongoing communication to festival success. The results show the benefits (for organizers as well as other users) of understanding these elements and their mutual relationships.
Keywords: engagement, festival branding, place-making, social capital, virtual brand communities.
Mercade, Pere; Molina, Jesús; Garay, Lluís. 2019. To Green or Not to Green: The Influence of Green Marketing on Consumer Behaviour in the Hotel Industry. Sustainability, 11(17), 4623. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174623
Different studies have analysed how green marketing influences the sustainable image of tourist companies or have focused on the identification and engagement between these companies and their consumers. In any case, the question of how this process influences consumers’ behaviour in the hotel industry requires even more in-depth study, with the intention of explaining the changes that occur in the current consumer and how this affects the hotel industry. This study is useful to demonstrate that beyond the direct influence of green marketing on green word of mouth indicators there are other indirect influences which are represented by other mediating variables: green attitudinal loyalty and green trust. From the literature on green marketing and the conceptual approaches offered by the Hierarchy of Effects Model and the Associate Learning Principles, this study conducted an empirical approach using a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire responses, obtained from a sample of 238 hotel users, were analysed using a Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) to test the research hypothesis related to the positive influence of green marketing on green trust, green attitudinal loyalty, and green word of mouth. This research provides theoretical and managerial implications to help executives adopt green marketing strategies, thanks to their positive effects on consumers’ recommendations, both direct and indirect, through loyalty and trust. It is concluded that green marketing actions have a greater effect on their indirect relationship with word of mouth than on their direct relationship and that loyalty is the aspect with the highest influence regarding trust.
Keywords: sustainability; green marketing; green trust; green attitudinal loyalty; green word of mouth; hospitality; hierarchy of effects; associative learning principles.
Garay, Lluís. 2019. #Visitspain. Breaking down affective and cognitive attributes in the social media construction of the tourist destination image. Tourism Management Perspectives, 32, in press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tmp.2019.100560
The consolidation of social media as the main sphere for image formation for tourist destinations requires a reinterpretation of how and who is leading the image formation process. There are still some gaps in the literature regarding the structure of virtual (destination) brand communities and the nature and composition of user-generated content. Conducting a quantitative content analysis of a sample of some 1500 tweets in the Spain brand community on Twitter (#visitspain) has allowed the author to (1) identify stakeholders, (2) explore the nature and distribution of affective and cognitive attributes, (3) analyse relationships among those attributes and with tourism products and place brands, and (4) observe potential seasonal variations over the year. Findings indicate the need to consider those elements as relevant recommendations for practitioners.
Keywords: Destination image; Social media; Virtual brand community; Affective attributes; Cognitive attributes; Tourism products; Place branding.
Corrons, August. 2019. ¿Es la tecnología blockchain compatible con la Economía Social y Solidaria? Hacia un nuevo paradigma. CIRIEC – Revista de economía pública, social y cooperativa, Nº 95/2019, pp. 191-215. https://doi.org/10.7203/CIRIEC-E.95.12984
The significant evolution that information technologies have experienced in recent years has affected all sectors, including the Social and Solidarity Economy. The emerging development of blockchain technology and its possibilities to modify the forms of solidarity collaboration of citizens, present a current challenge and a paradigm shift for the Third Sector. The purpose of this article is to analyze the existing possibilities for both areas to share values, principles and objectives. For this, first and as a point of reference, the concepts of Social and Solidarity Economy and blockchain are presented. Next, the compatibilities of both areas are presented and their components are listed. Finally, the article ends with a section on conclusions and future lines of research.
Keywords: Social and solidarity economy; blockchain; technology; governance; values.
Corrons, August; Garay, Lluís. 2019. Analysis of the third-order structuring of Shalom Schwartz’s theory of Basic Human Values. Heliyon, 5(6), e01797. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01797
Shalom Schwartz’s Theory of Basic Human Values is one of the most commonly used and tested transcultural theories in the field of behavioural research. This theory has been refined since the 1980s to reach its most recent version, from 2012. The underlying reason for this theory’s continuous evolution is that it assumes that values form a circular motivational continuum, meaning that the items do not have exact limits between the values and thus have a shared load on more than one, giving rise to multicollinearity. Additionally, measuring as they do different aspects, each value is multidimensional, thereby reducing internal consistency coefficients. The refined version represents an attempt to reduce or even eliminate these problems.
Nevertheless, to date, on only one occasion has a confirmatory factor analysis been performed to permit validation of this refined version’s third-order structuring. The objective of this study is, then, to perform a validation analysis of said structuring, albeit in a different social context and for another geographical scope of action.
Keywords: Psychology; Sociology; Human values; Shalom schwartz; Refined theory; Third-order structuring; Confirmatory factor analysis.
Corrons, August; Garay, Lluís. 2019. An Analysis of the Process of Adopting Local Digital Currencies in Support of Sustainable Development. Sustainability, 11(3), 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030849
Local digital currencies (LDCs) can be defined as technological platforms in which transactions occur between users without the use of any form of official tender. Although there is empirical evidence with regard to the sustainable development-related benefits of this type of currency, its use is still highly marginal and incipient, with relatively short lifecycles. To understand why LDCs have not gained a firmer footing or implementation in society and subsequently gain the ability to define a series of actions making this possible, an integrated model has been developed. Based on a review of the available literature, this model permits an analysis of the perceptions, beliefs, and attitudinal factors impacting upon the process of adopting this kind of currency. Based on a sample of 1559 subjects, the results obtained from the structural equation modelling performed provide important conclusions in terms of both the theory and the management of LDC-based communities, whether this is for the creation of new communities or the attraction of new users, or to consolidate existing communities or the participation of users once they have registered with them. Perceptions (attitude, subjective regulation, and perceived control), beliefs (compatibility, perceived utility, interpersonal influences, self-efficacy, and enabling conditions) and previous experience have a significant influence on the intention to be part of a community based on a local digital currency, with all that this implies for the defining of strategies to promote the use of LDCs.
Keywords: complementary currencies; sustainability; sustainable development; attitudes; beliefs.
Garay, Lluís; Corrons, August. 2019. Sustainability-oriented innovation in tourism: an analysis based on the decomposed theory of planned behavior. Journal of Travel Research. In press. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287518771215
Drawing on Taylor and Todd’s “decomposed theory of planned behavior,” this study explores the sustainability beliefs, attitudes, social norms, perceived behavioral controls, and behavioral intentions of accommodation managers and considers how these relate to their uptake of water-related innovations. An online survey is used to capture data from more than 300 accommodation establishments located in Catalonia (Spain). Using a structural equation model to interpret the data, 17 hypotheses are established, of which 15 are found to be significant. The findings show how the second-order constructs informed by organizational innovation literature explain the attitudes, social norms, and perceived behavioral controls of the managers; these factors inform 56% of the sustainability behavioral intentions. We explore the cognitive mechanisms that motivate managers to introduce sustainability practices in their businesses. We contribute to theory by demonstrating the benefits of studying the belief structures that inform taking sustainability actions from the perspective of innovation.
Keywords: sustainability, innovation, beliefs, behavioral intention, small and medium-sized tourism enterprise.
González-Reverte, Francesc; Díaz-Luque, Pablo; Gomis-López, Joan Miquel; Morales-Pérez, Soledad. Tourists’ Risk Perception and the Use of Mobile Devices in Beach Tourism Destinations. Sustainablity, 10(2), 413. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020413
The perceived risk of tourists’ use of smartphones is a key issue in shaping the tourist experience in terms of sustainability, as it can affect the behaviour of tourists and influence their satisfaction with that experience. However, little empirical research exists on the relationship between tourists’ risk perception and the perceived value of mobile device usage. This paper measures the association between tourists’ perceived risk of mobile device usage and several variables that demonstrate the perceived usefulness of mobile devices: utility, hedonic value and future intention of use. A survey on tourists’ use of smartphones was conducted in 2016 and, by means of a cluster analysis, four groups of tourists were identified with significant differences in their perception of the risk and use value of smartphones. Differences between tourists suggest that a single digital tourist profile does not exist and that tourism destinations and smart tourism DMOs (destination marketing organisations) should include risk perception in their management agenda. This will allow them to achieve a better understanding of tourist behaviour and to adapt the commercialisation of tourism products and services to a wide range of tourism needs. In addition, four regression models were applied to measure the association between the risk and perceived usefulness of mobile devices. On the one hand, dependence on mobile devices was associated positively with the perceived usefulness of mobile devices. On the other hand, the tourists surveyed saw privacy risk as having a major negative impact on the tourist experience, although it did not affect their perceived utility value and future use of mobile devices. Smart tourism destination managers should bear in mind that privacy risk issues related to the use of mobile devices must be integrated into an ethical perspective when marketing a destination.
Keywords: perceived risk; smartphone; utilitarian value; hedonic value; future use.
Garay, Lluís; Gomis, Joan Miquel; González, Francesc. 2018. El valor de la sostenibilidad como factor de diferenciación en los procesos de intermediación turística: un análisis para el caso de las pymes catalanes. Cuadernos de Turismo, Número 41, 2018 (article acceptat, en premsa). ISSN: 1139-7861. https://doi.org/10.6018/turismo.41.327011
Research on sustainability in the tourism sector has focused in recent years on large accommodation companies. Although there are studies that analyze the impact of the implementation of sustainability in tour operators, small and medium-sized travel agencies, which constitute an important part of the structure of the sector, have not been sufficiently analyzed. Through a sample close to 120 companies, the study demonstrates the importance of economic motivations but also personal factors and legitimization as reasons to configure different profiles of agencies whose sustainable behavior differs.
Morales, Soledad; Pacheco, Carmen. 2018. Cuando la música cesa. El papel de los festivales culturales públicos en la creación de espacio urbano. Documents d’Anàlisi Geográfica, 2018. In press. ISSN: 0212-1573.
This paper analyzes how cultural festivals contribute to the creation of urban space through the study of residents’ perceptions regarding the impacts on daily life of a public music festival organized annually for over more than 28 years, the Mercat de Música Viva de Vic in Spain. The results of an exploratory factor analysis using data obtained from a survey conducted among residents show that the festival creates multiple spaces which influence both the physical and the perceived dimensions of the city, while favoring the redefinition, expansion and rediscovery of the city’s social life and physical space. Moreover, as a bearer of new meanings, the festival is building new narratives of the city and creating new links between the city and its citizens.
Keywords: urban space; culture festivals; resident perception; Mercat de Música Viva de Vic.