The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #00635

Submission Number:
Shirley Simon
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear Gentle Persons: I first heard about AIRBNB on the Stephen Colbert Show in Summer, 2014 and thought, "I could do that!" I have an unused, fully furnished apartment that for 15 years, I have not rented. I only use the space for out of town guests a few times a year. The AIRBNB idea sounded like fun and a way to explore something to do in retirement from my law practice, perhaps, in the next 5-10 years. I have found hosting folks from around the country and world to be immensely enjoyable. It feels like my own mini United Nations going on in my downstairs apartment now. The little extra (taxable) money is not as important to me as it may be some, because I practice law full time in my mid-60's but the experience is so rewarding. However, I do put the extra funds in my vacation savings. I find that people around the world who book through AIRBNB are decent and kind folks that you would want to have as guests and who you would like to get to know better. I have the right to decline guests if I am not available or for any other reason. I have hosted folks from other countries and from across the U.S. and find my guests are very grateful for the modest but clean, amenities, respectful of my property and (I believe) enjoy staying in a grandma comfortable private furnished, apartment rather than a hotel room. I also had occasion to stay at an AIRBNB accommodation in Durham, NC, while visiting my sister who was going through a very serious medical procedure at Duke Hospital. The hosts were as kind, compassionate and accommodating as they could be. They made me feel very safe and gave me pointers on the public transportation and places to eat in Durham. I think AIRBNB and other "co-opting" companies that allow travelers lodging options are a great idea and I will continue to travel using their host contacts. I am traveling to Budapest this Fall and will stay with an AIRBNB host. I am not sure if it was planned but an unintended and very welcome dividend is getting to know folks from different backgrounds and finding common ground as most people are, "just like us." Respectfully yours, Shirley A. Simon