The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
As many communities struggle with the "permissability" of Airbnb, I would like to share my story. I began hosting on Airbnb 3 years ago. I not only wanted to supplement our income, but we own a large home and I am alone a lot of the time. I am so happy that I have chosen to do this, as my life is enriched by the meeting of other like-minded people from all over the world. People question how I can allow strangers into my home. I have never had a bad experience, as Airbnb does a great job of posting reviews and verifications of would-be guests. I can accept or deny as I wish. Other people are angry that we are compromising their neighborhoods. This is due to their lack of information, as we have quiet, respectful guests who do not disturb the area or increase traffic . There is usually only one additional vehicle at a time. We are not breaking any residential codes, just as any cottage industry. We are not a hotel. We reach a segment of the population who want a different travel experience. Budget conscious, yes. But they want a more intimate stay, learning more of the local experience. The Europeans have done this for years. We do not encroach on hotel business. There are still many people who prefer hotels. But freedom of choice is what this is about. I pay income tax. It should not be treated any differently than folks who get a roommate or use their home for other types of business, i.e. Babysitting, car repair, selling cosmetics or dog sitting. We do not want drug addicts or vagrants in our homes any more than the ones who do the complaining do. That is not the segment of the population that Airbnb attracts. We should all have freedom to choose where we stay when traveling, as well as how we use our home when it endangers no one. These people who complain to authorities about their neighbors renting out rooms, are the same ones who want their freedom to own guns or right to life. This is a new age. Airbnb matches guests with hosts. Other alternative businesses are finding their niche and they cannot be ignored or denied. Uber to name just one. The public demands this, and the fact that it has grown so large in a short amount of time proves this. For many, this extra income may be the difference keeping their home or foreclosure. The money that the travelers bring to the areas help local economies as they increase tourism revenue. There is room for all of us, hotels and Airbnb. It's a matter of choice. Thank you.