Sharing data for good in the peer-to-peer accommodation sector

Wed Aug 1, 2018

People feel comfortable sharing data about them if they understand the personal or societal benefits 

People feel more comfortable sharing data about them on peer-to-peer accommodation platforms if they understand the personal or societal benefits in doing so, a survey commissioned by the ODI reveals

The results of the survey follow the ODI’s work in early 2018, looking at how data can be used better across the peer-to-peer accommodation sector, and are particularly relevant for those interested in understanding the impacts of the sector, such as the Scottish Government’s recent response to the report of the Scottish Expert Advisory Panel on the Collaborative Economy.

Data sharing for good over profit

The research reveals that the level of comfort people have about sharing information depends on how that data will be used. We commissioned a UK-wide survey in March 2018 which was conducted online by YouGov. The data has been published here under an open licence.

People were more comfortable knowing that data about them is shared with local councils or other public services if it has a positive impact or improves society. People were most comfortable sharing data about them: to better understand fire or other health and safety risks (58%); to use for planning public services (47%): and to help local councils understand the availability of local housing available to rent or buy (45%).

There was also strong support for sharing data to ensure that citizens’ duties were being fulfilled. Half of the respondents (50%) would be happy to share data about them to ensure that hosts are paying the right level of tax, and 56% would do so to ensure that both guests and hosts are complying with local laws. One example where this kind of data sharing may make a difference is to support local interventions focused on limiting the amount of time a property can be rented for, such as the 90-day rule in London, Berlin, where hosts can only rent out their primary residence, or Toronto where hosts may only rent out their primary residence as well as one additional property.

However, respondents were slightly less comfortable sharing data about them to help people make a profit, such as using data about them for planning and licensing decisions (eg for new hotels, clubs and bars etc). Nearly half (46%) of respondents were not comfortable sharing data about themselves in this context (compared to 44% who would be comfortable sharing this information).

These findings are particularly relevant for the cities around the world who are looking to understand the impacts of the peer-to-peer accommodation sector. Research we conducted through our peer-to-peer accommodation project focused on how a variety of data from distinct contexts can help to understand the positive and negative impacts of the peer-to-peer accommodation sector on society.

One of the things we investigated was ‘data observatories’ and whether they could provide ways of helping created more informed debate which should help lead to better decisions about the sector.

Other key findings

With the introduction of the right to data portability, we were interested in the type of information people who rented properties through peer-to-peer accommodation platforms would be comfortable sharing with websites and hosts. The information renters were most comfortable sharing were the ratings they had received from other peer-to-peer accommodation websites (45%), while one-third of renters would be comfortable sharing information they held about other guests.

People were less comfortable sharing information about themselves which wasn’t directly involved in renting short-term accommodation through a platform. Only 23% were comfortable sharing from other peer-to-peer platforms such as Uber or eBay, 13% were comfortable sharing information about their criminal record, and only 8% would share information about their credit score. Nearly one-third (31%) of people surveyed would not be comfortable sharing any information with websites and hosts.

We also asked what types of things, such as perks or offers, might encourage individuals to share information about themselves. The biggest draw for people were preferential rates and discounts (37%), having a wider choice of platforms (28%) and having access to properties that met their specific needs (22%). Two-fifths (40%) of people surveyed would not share information about themselves to get better access to perks and offers.

About the survey

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 739 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 14th March 2018. The survey was carried out online.

Get in touch

If you’d like to talk to us about the poll, data skills or to see if there’s an opportunity for us to collaborate, please do get in touch.