The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I use Airbnb as an alternative to a roommate situation to supplement the costs associated with owning my home. The guests I welcome into my home offer me a cultural, friendly connection to people and places I might otherwise not have an opportunity to meet or understand. From a "citizen of the world" perspective, this is huge. It helps me to grow more globally aware and I share with them our local experience. There is no shortage of hotels in my city. That's not the experience my guests are looking for. They are gracious and considerate, they enjoy immersing themselves into the local culture and spend quite a bit of money, stimulating our local economy. It's the connecting that makes this experience unique. The money I make and the money they spend supports our local businesses and keeps my home expenses affordable for me without having to commit to a full-time roommate and all of the tenant related issues I'd like to avoid. For the traveler (myself included as I often travel and stay at other Airbnb hosts' accommodations) it's a great way to travel with a "home away from home" feeling, like a guest in a friends home. I can easily do my laundry, cook, drive and park, enjoy a more private setting, extra space not usually found in a hotel experience, and I can enjoy learning new things from my hosts. Overall it's a win-win, for me, for them, for the local economy, for the travel industry, for the cultural education, and the direct financial assistance that supplements my income and helps me keep and improve my property and my lifestyle.