Peer to peer accommodation: a Welsh perspective

By Ben Proctor, Core Team, ODI-Cardiff

From London to Cardiff

Our colleagues in The ODI in London are looking into how data can be used to help make better decisions in the peer to peer accommodation market (think Couchsurfing, Gay HomeStays or Airbnb).

They asked us to run a workshop in Cardiff bringing together a range of stakeholders. Similar workshops ran in London and Dundee. We had good representation from different parts of the Welsh Government, along with people from local government, the community sector and the Office for National Statistics. We also had two people who were hosts on some of these platforms in Cardiff.



The ODI team had undertaken a phase of Discovery and presented their initial findings. The slides that summarise the ODI initial findings are available (in English only I’m afraid) here 


What we learned

There is a clear lack of data related to this sector in Wales. No matter how you cut the problems or opportunities the absences or paucity of available data appears again and again. This effectively limits how far conversations can go because fairly quickly it becomes clear that everybody is speculating: is there discrimination on P2P platforms? It is unclear. Are P2P platforms supplanting or complementing traditional accommodation providers? It is unclear.


Though there was a recognition of the need for standardization of data to some extent, there was also a concern that too much standardization could reduce the value of data in local contexts. The hosts at the workshop were proud of and saw themselves as deeply embedded in their local communities. They saw peer-to-peer accommodation as a way to celebrate and promote real communities to tourists and visitors.


The participants at our workshop saw that peer-to-peer accommodation provides the potential to address social and economic problems in new ways: from providing temporary accommodation for homeless families to opening up the opportunity for tourists to experience Welsh culture directly. This is a potentially very exciting area for exploration.


Thank you

Thanks so much to everyone who gave up a couple of hours on a wet Monday morning to spend time talking about these issues.


Thanks also to Tech Tramshed. Your space was perfect for this workshop.


What happens next

Our colleagues in London are continuing their research. They will be prototyping some approaches to use data to make things better. If you’d like to find out more, they’d love to hear from you.


Or contact


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