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Best Practices on Branded Experience for Short Term Home Rentals
Camille Diago
HOA 760
Dina Marie Zemke, Ph.D.
June 7, 2019


Technology, as the backbone to the travel and hospitality industry, has brought the
concept of the sharing economy. Short term rentals are part of the sharing economy according to
Brand, Caine, Rhodes, & HHS (2016) which offers travelers the convenience of a home with a
kitchen, an “at-home feeling” and an inexpensive option to hotels and resorts. Travelers get a
unique experience when they visit new places away from their homes, and the owner of the
rental home or apartment makes money that would otherwise go to a hotel or motel. The role of
loyal customers in the shifting landscape of the hospitality industry is a vital strategic asset. The
expected revenue growth of Airbnb by $3.5 billion in 2020 will surpass big hotel chains such as
Marriot and Hilton (Airbnb Press Room, 2019). Airbnb had facilitated the hosting of more than
260,000,000 guests in more than 65,000 cities spread across more than 191 countries, which
surpassed the capacity of the largest hotel groups in the world (Zhang, 2019). The growth of this
alternative accommodation type influences hotel revenues, tourism employment, destination
management, and tourist behavior.
For most people, Borcuch (2016) identified that traveling is one of life's most exceptional
experiences. Without any doubt, traveling is the right way for one to experience new things in
life. Whether one is traveling for business or pleasure, there are factors to consider before
making the final decision on where to find accommodation. In the opinion of Dell, Doby,
Tillipman & Zhuplev, (2017), the most important thing to consider when making travel plans is
food and a place to rest after a long day. Ytreberg (2016) also added that many people believe
that securing a good hotel or a rental house is the climax of their traveling experience. That is
why booking a good hotel is always at the top of their priority list.


Meanwhile, Ert & Fleischer (2019) acknowledged that with short term rentals growing,
the traditional hotel industry is facing significant challenges. For example, many people,
according to Lalicic & Weismayer, (2017), desire to be in private home-like spaces rather than in
big hotel chains. Furthermore, consumers like to book short term rental accommodations because
of low prices, home benefits, and the chance to contribute to the sharing economy.
According to Guttentag (2015), each year, more and more consumers choose vacation
rental accommodations, and with time, these consumers turn into loyal customers. Marriott,
(2019) hinted that due to this rapid change, hotel companies like Marriott are now entering the
short term rental industry. As hospitality network organizations develop and thrive, Guttentag,
(2015) advised on the importance of identifying, in the context of the experience economy, the
best practices for hotel companies that enter the short term rental market. A clear understanding
of consumers’ engagement with innovative business models, such as Airbnb, will help hotel
leaders and marketers plan informed strategies, figure out how to best address its consumers’
needs and adjust their service and product offerings accordingly (Lalicic & Weismayer, 2017). In
this regard, the travel and hospitality industry has always come up with policies that ensure
travelers get the best experiences.
To attract and maintain customers, Lin, Fan, Zhang & Lau, (2019) found out that
traditional lodging businesses such as hotels try to offer travelers the best experiences by
providing the best value for their money. Also, they have always been striving to give their
customers quality products and services at affordable prices. Nevertheless, the introduction of
short term rentals has given these hotels a big blow. The beginning of the short-term rentals has
become the genesis of the homestay. Homestay is privately owned rooms, apartments, and
homes used by travelers as accommodation while in foreign places (Borcuch, 2016). Since its


establishment, Airbnb has transformed the travel industry around the world by providing a
simple technological infrastructure that travelers use to book homes. Unlike hotels, Airbnb offers
free access, which has helped it to generate a dedicated following of users as well as hosts
resulting in the growth of home-rental space at an overwhelming pace. Compared to traditional
hotel accommodations, Moon, Miao, Hanks, & Line (2019) established that short term rental
space is more affordable and gives travelers a local experience. Although the short term rental
spaces promoted by Airbnb lack the lucrative services offered by most hotels and which most
travelers desire when traveling, it has attracted a massive following due to the price factor
(Skalska & Shcherbiak, 2016). The cost of securing and living in a short term rental space is
relatively low compared to hotels. Besides, to make them relevant to the market, companies
offering short term rental services such as Airbnb have gone a step further than inexpensive
lodging and are now able to book an activity or experience for travelers with a local host (Tura &
Vaskelainen, 2018). The introduction of new features such as concerts, personal tour guides,
cooking, and fitness classes lure travelers in extending their stays positively impacting local
The differentiation of companies, such as Airbnb has transformed the travel and
hospitality industry. Tussyadiah & Park (2018) stressed that with the availability of short term
rental supply, it is now a difficult task for hotels to maximize their returns. Although hotels such
as Accor, Marriott, and Hilton are aware of the threat posed by Airbnb and the short term rental
space, only a few are aware of the impact the home/apartment rentals have on the industry as a
whole (VRMA, 2019). Some of the hotels have vowed to fight off the perceived threat, but they
are not sure of the right approach to follow. Hence, Yang, Lee, Lee & Koo (2018) advised that it


is high time that hotel companies such as Marriott that are interested in entering the short term
rental space should try to find out-out what is required of them to compete successfully.
Literature Review
The genesis of the short-term home rental industry
The short term home rental industry started in 1985 with the creation of The Vacation
Rental Management Association (VRMA, 2019), that is an international, professional trade
association used by property managers and other hospitality industries. For instance, it provides
professionalism, networking, and educational opportunities to its members. Yang, Lee, Lee &
Koo, (2018) pointed out that being a member enables one to have connections to other vacation
rental managers and vendors globally. Then in 1995, the company VRBO (Vacation Rentals by
Owners) was founded by vacation rental owners who self-manage their second homes. For
example, they provide an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and
make it easy for travelers to search and book online (Vrbo.com, 2019). However, the short term
rental industry did not flourish until Airbnb entered the picture. Airbnb started with two recent
university graduates transforming their home into a ‘Bed & Breakfast” by offering overnight
stays on air mattresses during a San Francisco conference in 2007 (Guttentag, 2013).
Similarly, Airbnb created a commission-based web-platform for room sharers and
travelers. A few years later after its launch, the demand for Airbnb services increased for
mattresses and people’s spare rooms, to which guests can now rent full houses, castles in Italy,
palaces in Paris and the UK. Others include cave houses in Greece and even penthouses, villas,
mansions, boat houses and yachts all over the world which are provided by hosts. Similarly, it
allows it to compete against hotels in the accommodations market. Airbnb now provides access


to 6+ million unique places to stay in nearly 100,000 cities and 191 countries (Airbnb Press
Room, 2019). Not forgetting, Airbnb has become the market leader of vacation rentals and a
competitor and a disruptor for the traditional hospitality industry.
The impact of the sharing economy in the hospitality and tourism industry
Zervas, Proserpio & Byers, (2015) believed that the concept of sharing a room is not
entirely new. Before the Industrial Revolution, the economy was established on trade between
individuals. The Industrial Revolution conveyed with its ownership and consumerism. In the
1990s and 2000s, the Internet re-introduced sharing between individuals. Quickly following the
introduction of the Internet, people started sharing information, knowledge, and files, and this
matter was available to anyone (Ytreberg, 2016). In 1995, the companies; eBay and Craigslist
inadvertently created the evolution of the ...

Tutor_Janet (7819)
Boston College

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