A profile-based approach to understanding social exchange: authentic tour-guiding in the sharing economy

E. Kromidha, Mark Gannon, Babak Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Authenticity in travel and tourism research is often explored at the tangible-existential nexus. However, the collaborative forces embedded within digital sharing economy platforms draw attention to how the promise of social exchange can stimulate authentic consumption. The role of tour guides has evolved accordingly, from professional designation to self-acquired identity enacted ad-hoc. This study therefore applies a deductive-inductive approach—investigating over 100,000 tour guide profiles on the digital sharing economy platform showaround.com—to frame authenticity as the diverse manifestation of promised social exchanges. Combining automated qualitative analysis for large datasets with manual inductive reasoning, the findings identify four types of authenticity demonstrated within sharing economy tour guide profiles: situational, natural, personal, and positional. Doing so extends established understanding of tangible-existential and sincere-trustworthy tourism industry authenticity by capturing social exchanges in dynamic contexts; acknowledging the diverse nature of the promise of authentic tourism service delivery and consumption therein.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Early online date9 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • sharing economy
  • authenticity
  • social exchange theory
  • tour guides

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