The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am writing as an Airbnb Superhost, to provide comment for your "sharing economy" workshop. I completely support ensuring consumers on both sides of these transactions can be adequately protected and I also urge you not to give in to pressure from city governments and tourism/hotel/cab company lobbies that are simply concerned about their "direct" income. I believe the sharing economy augments and adds to the opportunities cities/destinations offer. It allows more people to experience more businesses, and spend more, than without these options. With Airbnb (and VRBO), more people with limited budgets can travel. They also serve as over-flow when big events are held that take all or many of the available hotel rooms. How does it benefit me? I live in a top city (that is also projected to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the next 20 years). Rents and home prices are astronomical. I recently started my own business and left the corporate world; shortly thereafter, my landlord raised my rent substantially. While still under-market in terms of rental price, this increase has created immense pressure. Opening part of my home to visitors has been a necessary part of my ability to stay in the neighborhood I've lived in for almost 9 years. This increases my ability to spend money in and around my residence (plus I spent about $3k to upgrade the space, so Home Depot, Lowe's and local hardware stores also benefitted). Additionally, particularly because reasonably nice hotels are not in close proximity, combined with the fact that I live in a popular neighborhood, hosting guests here means local businesses and restaurants are gaining *more* business than they would otherwise. We're building community and providing high-quality experiences in the places we live. Please support the sharing economy, for the benefits of hosts, particularly in expensive locations, and for the benefits of travelers from near and far. Thank you.