The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01061

Submission Number:
William Sigafoos
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear Sirs, Unfortunately on very short notice, I do not have the time to adequately express what a wonderful program AirBnb has been for us as hosts and for the 160+ couples we have had as guests over the past 2 1/2 years. It has given us the chance to meet some extraordinary people from something like 10 countries and 15 states within the US. It has given us the chance to guide them toward exploration of the wonderful features of Richmond -- history, art , theater -- I could go on. The city of Richmond has benefited from the expenditures of these visitors -- 500 nights of restaurants, entertainment etc and a proportion are so dedicated to Airbnb that they might have stayed in another city if it was not available in Richmond. We have benefited from a very nice income which has allowed us to make improvements on our house that might not have otherwise occurred (money back into the local economy) We of course pay full federal and state taxes on the income generated. Interestingly, I visited the Tax Bureau to ask if and how we could pay the special accommodation tax for Richmond and was told that "That was only for big hotel chains " ( actually I believe more than 10 rooms). We would be pleased to add a tax to our room charges in the future. In Richmond, there is some concern about the accommodation capacity for an upcoming event ( World Bike Championships) in September. I guess that Airbnb will provide 2000+ nights in an otherwise completely filled lodging structure. Our apartment has been booked for the race dates since January. Richmond is in the process of debating how they want to participate in the sharing economy. If they decide not to enter the modern world there will be major repercussions for their image in the world especially among the younger generations. This new phenomena really works and benefits everyone far more that it detracts from established sometimes archaic practices. Time to move on for the benefit everyone. Bill Sigafoos