The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
To whom it may concern, I hope your conversation around the sharing economy will be a positive one. My fiance and I have recently started sharing two bedrooms in our home through AirBnB. Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Through sharing our rooms with travelers, students, and adventurers, we're able to pay our mortgage and keep extra aside for retirement. This has allowed us to feel more financially secure and given us a chance to share our home with a supportive, friendly community. AirBnB is an excellent company to host through. They've gone above and beyond to communicate policies clearly with all their hosts, to offer protection for hosts and guests, and to make sure all parties are safe and comfortable. As a host, we're able to choose who we share our space with. If the guest doesn't have a complete profile on AirBnB's site, doesn't have verified email, telephone or social media accounts, or doesn't send a message conveying the reason for their travel, we have the ability as hosts to decline requests. It makes us feel safe knowing we have that choice. Both hosts and guests review each other. If a guest has bad reviews (wasn't clean, was loud or rude), we can decline their request. If a guest notices that a host has poor reviews (unclear communication on check in times, a messy house, ect), they will choose to book elsewhere. Thanks to the reviews being on both ends, the AirBnB community is respectful, welcoming, and friendly. My fiance and I haven't had a single bad experience with a guest. The sharing economy is smart. It's allowed us to pay more on our mortgage each month and given us the opportunity to save for the future. It's allowed us to meet fascinating, well-traveled people. Whether it's sharing a room in your house, sharing a ride in your car, or sharing services through sites such as Task Rabbit, this is where our future lies. As hosts through AirBnB, we're also supporting local economic activity by referring our guests to great Salt Lake City attractions, sports, restaurants, and more. Our guests support small businesses due to our suggestions. I fell in love with AirBnB when traveling solo to California last year. I stayed with only AirBnB hosts and it's how I'll always travel now. My hosts in California directed me to local restaurants and small shops that I likely wouldn't have discovered on my own or through a hotel. Companies like AirBnB keep the sharing economy a safe, respectful space for all and I hope the FTC doesn't plan to regulate (really, over regulate) an already regulated industry. Let the sharing economy continue on - it helps lower socioeconomic status homes like ours afford opportunities in life we wouldn't be able to without access to the sharing economy. Thank you.