This dissertation analyses the Airbnb market in Orange County, FL to provide insight on the performances of short-term vacation rentals listed on the platform. In the first essay we examine the factors affecting the demand and supply of this real estate sector before and after the Covid-19 pandemic, using occupancy, pricing and revenue models. The results identify the aspects of the Airbnb peer-to-peer sharing model that do and those that do not recover quickly after local covid restrictions are lifted. In particular, host experience, professional management, and proximity to major tourist attractions are some of the key factors that generate greater Airbnb unit occupancy, revenue, and prices. The effects are stronger in the post-covid period. On the other hand, Airbnb consumers appear to steer clear of rentals with popular reviews from previous tenants, located in high-income areas, and in ethnic neighborhoods during the post-covid period. Traditional hotel rooms participating in the Airbnb market exhibit different post-pandemic responses than found for other properties. In addition, there is evidence that, while hotel participation directly competes with other properties, these effects are mediated by shopping externalities created by greater search traffic from hotels on the platform. In the second essay we use a choice theoretic approach to identify factors driving the Airbnb unit owner's choice of management form and the effect of that choice on the unit rentals performance. Property owners looking to let their real-estate assets on a short-term basis on the Airbnb platform can choose between two forms of day-to-day management: owner managed (OM) and third party managed (TPM). Incentives theory shows that asset owners must weigh the input mix inefficiency arising from the incentive structure of TPM against possibly greater TPM management ability. The empirical model reveals that management structure affects pricing and occupancy rates of these units in both the full sample and when controlling for endogenous management form selection using matched sample methods. Airbnb data for Orange County, Florida, over 2014-2022 reveals higher prices and occupancy for TPM units in both cases. Interestingly, TPM fails to outperform OM when the number of units managed for the owner are sufficiently high, consistent with effort-thinning associated with rising marginal management costs for TPM firms. In addition, professional management outcomes vary significantly across property types, with lower prices and occupancy rates for high density apartments and condominiums relative to comparable OM units. Furthermore, TPM hosts' response to the declining demand for vacation properties during the pandemic is found to be stronger than OM hosts.


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Graduation Date





Turnbull, Geoffrey


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Business Administration

Degree Program

Business Administration; Finance Track


CFE0009512; DP0027516





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)