Purpose – Drawing on social exchange theory, this study clarifies the roles of authenticity, interactivity and involvement in predicting customer engagement (CE) and, ultimately, customer loyalty towards an online peerto-peer accommodation platform. In addition, the study explores the effect of interactivity in increasing authenticity. Design/methodology/approach –Data were collected through an online questionnaire of a sample of Italian tourists who had previously booked a service on Airbnb. The analyses were conducted by adopting partial least squares structural equation modelling. Findings – The model has high power in predicting customer loyalty to an online peer-to-peer accommodation platform. Specifically, involvement is the primary predictor of CE and customer loyalty. Authenticity and interactivity also have a significant and positive effect both on CE and customer loyalty. In addition, CE partially mediates the relationship between authenticity, interactivity and involvement and customer loyalty. Finally, interactivity has a significant positive effect on authenticity. Practical implications – The results encourage hospitality service providers to invest in the creation (and co-creation) of authentic experiences to increase CE and customer loyalty. Hospitality managers can also enhance CE by increasing involvement and interaction with customers through various touchpoints (online and offline) in different moments of the customer journey. Originality/value – This study proposes an original model to predict customer loyalty to peer-to-peer hospitality platforms. The findings shed new light on the drivers of CE and provide empirical support for the mediating effect of CE. The study also contributes to the literature on authenticity by demonstrating the positive effect of interactivity on authenticity.
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