Customer Experience with Hotels and Airbnb Properties in Copenhagen: Development of Competitive Strategies for Hotels

Galina Apostolova Todorova

Student thesis: Master thesis


Digitalization in recent years has influenced almost every aspect of the consumer sector. In the tourism sector, the customer experiences have become significantly important, due to the development of communication channels, such as blogs, forums, chats, review websites and other various social media platforms (Palmer, 2004, cited in: Merenheimo & Rusko, 2015). The number of hotels and holiday resorts in Copenhagen has increased from 78 to 88 in 2015 (Kaj Pedersen, Westman & Bülte, 2017). The rise of the platform Airbnb, which was founded in 2008 (Airbnb Press Room, 2019), has been considered as a ‘disruptive innovative digital platform’, as it has successfully integrated the concept of the ‘customer experience’ into its business model (Christensen & Raynor, 2003, citеd in: Guttentag, 2013). For hotels, the rise of Airbnb requires some action, so that they could compete and not be outperformed by the platform. This paper aims to investigate the impact which Airbnb has on the hospitality sector and the overall ‘customer experience’. It also aims to investigate the difference between the customer experience with Airbnb properties and hotels in Copenhagen. Furthermore, after identifying the differences between both experiences, the research has a focus on developing possible strategies for hotels in Copenhagen to compete with Airbnb. The main sources of data in this report are primary and secondary data. Primary data is collected through semistructured interviews with hotel managers in Copenhagen, questionnaire being sent through the Airbnb Press team in Denmark and two web surveys to hotels guests and Airbnb guests in Copenhagen. Secondary sources comprise of academic literature in the form of articles and books, articles retrieved from websites on the internet, statistics about the number of rooms and hotels in Copenhagen and Airbnb listings and other relevant sources from the Internet. The findings out of the primary data have been analyzed and compared with each other and based on that, the differences between the two customer experiences have been identified. One of the main differences, which has been identified, is that the customer experience with hotels is more ‘serviceoriented’, focusing on the pure delivery of service to the customers, while the customer experience with Airbnb properties is more ‘customer and experience-oriented’, more focused towards affecting the customers’ emotions and minds. Additionally, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for hotels in Copenhagen have also been addressed, which enabled the researcher to suggest three strategies for hotels in Copenhagen to compete with Airbnb properties. Finally, conclusions based on the generated findings have been made together with managerial implications and suggestions for future research.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages122
SupervisorsLise Lyck