Sources of distrust: Airbnb guests' perspectives

Erose Sthapit*, Peter Björk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The present study explores sources of distrust in the Airbnb context. The study focuses on Airbnb customers' negative reviews posted in English on Trustpilot's website. The search for posts was employed with the keyword ‘trust’ to find online narratives from customers who had negative experiences of trust with Airbnb. Of the 2733 online reviews screened, the study concentrated on 216 negative reviews. The data analysis followed the grounded theory approach, which resulted in two themes that reflect the sources of distrust: Airbnb's poor customer service and the hosts' unpleasant behaviour. The managerial implications are that Airbnb should invest additional resources into minimising customers' negative experiences by focusing on trust-based relationships and maintaining quality in its core service elements. When customers report their complaints, their concerns should be addressed with prompt apologies, positive actions, and a willingness to compensate these customers to neutralise their distrust in the company.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalTourism Management Perspectives
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 03.07.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Airbnb
  • Customer service
  • Distrust
  • Guest experiences
  • Host behaviour


Dive into the research topics of 'Sources of distrust: Airbnb guests' perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this