The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I would like to express to you my view in making sure there is no hindrance to the sharing economy as is taking place via Airbnb.com and similar sites. It is a phenomenon that is the next wave of travel and tourism. I am a host of a guest house that is listed on the airbnb site and this is income I rely upon to pay my mortgage. It is of critical importance to me. Additionally, our small town has only a handful of hotel rooms, but many more people are able to visit Gulfport because of vacation rentals such as ours. It is a huge boon to our local economy and most any of our small local business owners will tell you so. Even the two operators of the local inns are in favor of allowing these rentals, and even occasionally refer guests to us. We also refer guests to them. It is not competitive here. It is cooperative. Beyond the economics, the acts of sharing our experiences with travelers and vice versa is culturally enriching and enlightening and provides broader horizons for all. My family and I have become big fans of the aibnb site ourselves and have used airbnb listings in many parts of the country, and even outside the U.S. Sometimes a home or even a room in someone's home can be preferable to a hotel. We still book hotel rooms, but enjoy having the other options. The airbnb site allows peer reviews to help gauge both hosts and guests before making reservations for an added level of trust and safety. As I said, this portion of the sharing economy is expanding greatly here and abroad and it would be a huge economic step backward to inhibit it. Rather I would urge any policies enacted to encourage and support this dynamic economic model that more and more people are embracing. Thank you for your consideration.