The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have had nothing but good experiences with Airbnb since 2011, both as a traveler and a host. One thing to bear in mind is this: hosts welcome travelers into their homes. Those homes meet local safety standards for residents - and as long as travelers do not exceed the resident occupancy for that home, they should have no incremental impact on neighborhood character and the home (which has been deemed safe for residents) will be safe for travelers. Both guests and hosts review each other, and can inform themselves about the reputation of the person with whom they are dealing. This is frankly more information than i have about the staff at hotels at which I have stayed - and certainly more reputation than cities currently get on all the travelers who can book hotels in their cities. It is a more sustainable way to travel and support travelers - and one that benefits residents and homeowners, who can use their earnings to support rising costs of living. As a host, I've never seen this as work. it is a way to utilize an otherwise underutilized extra bedroom to earn us extra, supplemental income. This is great innovation that helps us younger generations create a new economic paradigm - and we should nurture it and insulate it from overregulation, just as we chose to insulate the internet from being crushed by regulation in the 1990s. As well meaning as government regulators may be, they often react to change with an instinct to impose old paradigms that do not work with innovation. Airbnb, Uber and other sharing economy companies can have great impact both as supplemental income to some, and as cheaper, better alternatives to consumers. While occasional issues do occur (loud parties, unfortunate events, etc.), overall, the sharing economy has a safer statistical record than many other industries, and many cities. Neighbors may sometimes complain - but frankly, my neighbor's dogs and teenaged children generate far more noise and nuisance than my quiet, professional guests have. Yet, I do not try to control how my neighbor uses their property. It is my hope that the FTC will find creative ways to enable this new economic force to be nurtured without undue government interference.