Learning from peers: The effect of sales history disclosure on peer-to-peer short-term rental purchases [Summary]
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The sharing economy has proliferated in recent years, yet continuous business efforts are required to cultivate trust between strangers. Drawing from observational learning theory and cultural perspective, the study examined sales history disclosure as a trust-building signal between hosts and travelers. Using large-scale online observational data of 33,327 listing purchase activities between 2012 and 2017 on a leading peer-to-peer short-term rental platform in China, we found strong evidence that sales history disclosure is positively associated with short-term rental purchases. Our results also revealed that sales history disclosure mitigates the positive impact of online reviews but weakens the negative effect of multi-listing ownership on subsequent purchases, further confirming information substitution theory. The study provided theoretical and practical implications to strengthen the trust-building mechanism using coordinated signals, with cultural considerations, on short-term rental platforms.