The application of Aristotle’s rhetorical theory to the sharing economy: an empirical study of Airbnb

Sung Byung Yang, Hanna Lee, Kyungmin Lee, Chulmo Koo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Sharing economy businesses require extensive trust-based communication between users and service providers to facilitate users’ positive persuasion processes. Based on Aristotle’s rhetorical theory, this study identifies three key persuasive cues (credibility, emotional bonding, and accommodation characteristics) and validates their roles in establishing users’ trust in an Airbnb setting. The moderating role of interactivity is further analyzed. Research findings from a survey sample of 171 Airbnb users indicate that persuasive cues are positively associated with trust in Airbnb hosts, which significantly leads to Airbnb brand trust. Interestingly, the moderating role of interactivity is only found in the relationship between emotional bonding and trust in Airbnb hosts. This study contributes to a better understanding of the factors that affect users’ trust building in the sharing economy context, and it offers guidance for platform providers to better operate their businesses by highlighting the important roles of persuasive cues and interactivity in users’ trust-building processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)938-957
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Travel and Tourism Marketing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Airbnb brand
  • Airbnb hosts
  • Airbnb users
  • Aristotle’s rhetorical theory
  • communication
  • interactivity
  • online trust
  • persuasion
  • Sharing economy
  • trust formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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