The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00247

Submission Number:
00247
Commenter:
Cary Oliva
State:
Virginia
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My name is Cary and I currently offer both types of lodging on Airbnb: a guest room rental as well as renting out my entire home on certain occasions. To me, Airbnb is a wonderful way to generate extra income while also being a welcome ambassador for the city I live in and love: Charlottesville! I truly do love where I live and have hosted many different types of people at my place, many of which are coming here to check out Charlottesville as a potential new location for THEM to live. I provide them a clean and comfortable stay giving them maps and additional information about things to see and do as well as restaurant recommendations throughout the city. In general, what I help do is provide people with an enjoyable experience in our city helping them be a part of our community even if just for a weekend. Right now, based on my current work situation, I rely on Airbnb to help pay my mortgage every month so I am very interested in making sure that this opportunity does not go away and that we all work together to find a positive solution that will benefit us all. I have spoken to many of my guests about why they chose Airbnb. Most of them prefer the one-on-one attention that they get while visiting an area new to them and the ones that rent my whole place even are offered lots of literature and emails about places to see and my local recommendations. I make sure to make myself available to them as well whenever I'm gone to answer any questions that they might have. Our city attracts many different types of people visiting throughout the year for a variety of University-centric events as well as medical residency students to alumni returning to gather with other friends for outings to wineries or breweries. And it is nice to have so many different options for these folks in the way of accommodations. And there is definitely room for hotels, traditional B&Bs and other STRs to co-exist. For some reason, I seem to have many people coming from abroad staying with me, possibly because it is a more similar type of accommodation that they might be accustomed to and those people are coming and bringing their skills and working in our city doing good things and making the world a smaller place. I could go on and on about the positives of being allowed to continue this type of rental property, but I will try to summarize some final pros here to consider: AIRBNB IS GOOD FOR THE CITY POINTS: - I plan on complying and paying the 6% transient occupancy tax and am excited to help teach other hosts to do this as well! There has been so much confusion about people like me though who do both types of rentals though, so I am hoping for more clarity on that topic soon so I know how to comply! - My neighbors are aware of and support my hosting on airbnb. In fact, I introduced them to Airbnb. It helps them with home improvements and eating out, etc. in Charlottesville (which is not exactly an inexpensive city to live in compared to income earning potential). - I provide customized recommendations to each of my guests focused exclusively on locally owned restaurants and area attractions. - Many different types of accommodations being offered in our city makes us a fun, more exciting tourist attraction, which in turn helps our local economy. AIRBNB IS GOOD FOR ME POINTS: - I am an artist/entrepreneur who also works a part-time job at a local non-profit. But owning my own home as a single woman on that income is not easy. Airbnb helps supplement my income. It helps pay for home repairs and my livelihood which I try to keep as local as possible, meaning dining at local restaurants, purchasing food from farmers markets (which I also sell at) and the occasional weekend away (especially when I've got my whole place rented). - Airbnb offers me an outlet to share my passion for Charlottesville. I love giving visitors local recommendations and getting them excited about the town I love. I've also been able to help spread the city love