The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am writing to you as an Airbnb host and guest. First, as a traveler, Airbnb has made travel MUCH more accessible for me. I have severe food allergies and have to prepare ALL of my food. Eating in restaurants is not an option. Since joining Airbnb we can travel almost anywhere because I can find places with kitchens where I can prepare my food. That's impossible in a hotel. We first joined Airbnb as hosts. We have a guest house on our property that wasn't used much. A friend recommended Airbnb. I was wary at first until I did some research. We have now been Airbnb hosts for over 3 years. The ID verification and review process makes us feel safe having "strangers" on our property. We make sure we know a little about the guests and why they are coming. We only rent through Airbnb so that there are no issues with non-existent rental contracts. It's been a great source of extra income for us and I know that many of our guests, especially families, would not be able to afford hotels so we provide a less expensive alternative. Also, because my own allergies the guest house is fragrance-free and we get a lot of guests specifically because of that convenience. I think that Airbnb as a part of the sharing economy is very important as financial help for families and is a great way to more efficiently use resources. If not for Airbnb, out guest house (which was here when we bought our hone) would be empty 51 weeks a year. Now it's a resource that's actually used. No one looses. The county receives transient occupancy taxes and the state and federal governments receive sales taxes. What's not to love?