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What makes a positive experience?

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‘Sharing economy’ platforms such as Airbnb have recently given rise to new travel trends in which electronic word of mouth and interpersonal contact are central. This study examines 90 positive reviews, with a threefold objective: first, analyse what makes Airbnb a social platform; second, understand online/offline rapport enhancement prior to and during the Airbnb experience; and third, examine the main rapport enhancement strategies in users’ evaluations. The results show that while reviewers place great importance on transactional wants before the experience, during face-to-face contact sociality rights become more important. After the Airbnb experience, however, the main rapport strategies point to enhancing the addressee’s face, while identity is constantly co-constructed. The present study intends to bring to the fore the function of positive rapport in the Airbnb experience, in an online system in which the management of communicative skills may be the main tool for success – or failure.

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Keywords: Airbnb; British English; face; identity; online reviews; peer-to-peer business; rapport enhancement; rapport management; sociality rights

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 5, 2019

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