A CHILE RECEPTION: Couchsurfing’s Diffusion and Context Amidst Geographical Diversity

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Authors
Villalón, Sofia
Issue Date
2016
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en_US
Keywords
Hospitality , Online social networks , Mobile apps
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Couchsurfing's Diffusion and Context Amidst Geographical Diversity Sofia Villalón Couchsurfing.com was launched in 2004 and now has over twelve million members in over 200 thousand cities worldwide. Its purpose is to match hosts and their visitors, offering the latter hospitality and simple accommodation at no cost. There are 60 thousand Couchsurfing.com hosts in Chile, spanning the country from the Atacama Desert to the Strait of Magellan. This paper is based on the site's participation rate in 15 Chilean provinces. Detailed biographical data for all hosts is available including age, gender, and occupation. Unsurprisingly, participation is highest in Santiago and Valparaíso, Chile's metro poles, but elsewhere it is relatively even with no evidence of contagious diffusion outward form the two biggest cities to Chile's most remote settings. My paper explores the contextual base of participation reflected in Couchsurfers' profiles, and examines the profiles of visitors in Chile's sharply contrasting destination.
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