The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00393

Submission Number:
Javier Yataco
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Hello Policy Makers! We were first introduced to airbnb as travelers back in Sept of 2012. It was a trip planned with air fare bought months before the trip, but almost cancelled the trip due to out of budget lodging accommodations. We decided to give airbnb as it was referred by a friend. We gave it a try and wow what an awesome experience, completely exceeded our expectations! We were able to keep our 6 day trip and it was my wife's first time in NY. We lived like locals with eating at local restaurants and cafes, we bought and spent in the malls and bought the NEw York City Pass and visited 3-4 attractions daily. As tourists we saw first hand why NYC is one of the best cities in the world and it was only made available because we found affordable lodinging in NY. Without airbnb we would have ever gone to NY that year. After that trip we were so shocked with the quality of the experience we asked ourselves, can we be hosts? We own our home and we have the extra bedrooms and my wife was not working so the extra income would certainly help. That October we put together our listing and in less than a week we received inquiries coming in right away. We took in our first couple from Poland and we were probably more nervous than they were! It was our first guest, were they going to rob us, we really didn't know them or have any connections. Airbnb helped break that down with: - their verification system of guests. Guests have to submit their official documentation, ph# email, social channels to their profiles. - it's reassuring as a host to know airbnb provides a $1 million host guarantee program. Personally we've used it in 2014 and airbnb helped us out at a time of panic! - their review system between hosts and guests. People have to use their platform to leave review, it's not any yahoo who can create a review like on google or yelp or trip advisor. There's credibility! Anyways these first guests were the sweetest couple ever!! Since then we have been comfortable with hosting and have it down to a science. We relay on airbnb for our daily needs to make ends meet with paying off credit card debit. We've been able to make investments into our home and contract local contractors for upgrades with the home such as with a new ac system, upgrade insulation and replace water heater. An investment we would never have been able to make with the situation we were currently in. Also we have seen first hand that every guest we've hosted have stimulated the local economy in our area by attending theme parks, go to the outlets spend thousands shopping, go to the local restaurants in the neighborhood, rent vehicles or even be able to make a visit to the great state of Florida because airbnb made lodging affordable for their holiday. About 60% of our guests are international. With that we've seen first hand how we've changed our perspective based on different backgrounds. People are people no matter from where they come from, we all want to laugh, have memorable experiences, be safe and try new things. We truly believe airbnb does make the world smaller after each reservation. There has been some sort of connection with each guests we've hosted. Since we do private rooms we get to meet all of our guests. They are all genuine real people and with all different stories and backgrounds. At the end of the day there is a common theme, we are all people. Personally we've would have never hosted Saudi's Muslims because of everything that we see on the news and with what's going on. However don't believe and judge that all are the same because they are not. They are sons, daughters, parents, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers they could be my wife and I. We believe in the airbnb system and yes there needs to be regulation but has to be fair and allow for growth. This is a new model a new economy and new opportunities for everyday people. Hear airbnb out this will make everyone better and a better world to live in! Javier & Muri