The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I began my journey with airbnb as a guest in 2012. We were traveling across the country (Ohio to Oregon) to visit our daughter with our dog. In Spearfish S.D. we stayed in the home of a young couple in their extra space in a basement apartment. It was dog friendly; in fact there was a lovely park nearby where my husband took our dog for a run. This couple were youth ministers, as I remember, and the extra source of income for their modest lifestyle was, if not essential, certainly greatly appreciated. As a guest, I appreciated the ease of the airbnb website. Recently, my husband and I downsized from a farmhouse in the country to a smaller home near town. This home came with superfluous buildings, I thought, because it had been the home to a local carpenter who added workshop space to his garage. Since we did not need the workshop, and I was anxious to accommodate our extended family including four adult children when they visited, we remodeled the workshop into an efficiency apartment. In my tradition, family and religious, hospitality is a priority. With this apartment, I am able to offer our guests, family, neighbors and strangers (who might be angels) a comfortable space to rest. I charge enough on airbnb to pay the water and heat and make it worth my time. I love meeting the interesting people who come to our small town. Airbnb's secure website facilitates payment and importantly offers guests and hosts the opportunity to review each other and in this way know a little of each other before they meet. When our own family and friends visit, I simply block out those dates on the airbnb calendar. It has been a very positive experience. While payments will never meet the cost of remodeling, that was not the point. In the meantime, fees ease the monthly water, sewer and utility and tax bills. As we are coming closer to retirement, the extra source of income will be welcome. And we encourage our guests to shop locally, so I believe our local economy benefits from our guests. In our small town, we in no way threaten the hospitality industry, but enhance it. We offer hospitality to well behaved pets, an amenity no other accommodation offers in this town. We live on the property and are here to meet and greet our guests who have all validated our belief in the goodness of humanity.