The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01087

Submission Number:
Susanne Kersey
District of Columbia
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I am an AIRBNB super host in Washington DC. This is my second year of hosting and I must admit it is one of the most rewarding, fulfilling experiences that I have ever had! I started hosting like many others for financial reasons. I am a widow. My husband died of lung cancer a few years ago and at that time I had one daughter in college and another daughter about to begin college. We had lived in our home and this community of Northwest DC for 28 years. The mortgage , the expense of keeping the house maintained and college tuition was more than my sole salary could provide. I rented out 2 of my bedrooms for a couple of years while the girls were in college. The rent money was able to help sustain some of my expenses but eventually the tenants moved out and I got an opportunity to reflect on my circumstances.. Even though I liked the extra income I was able to get from the tenants, I didn't like that when my daughters came home, they were deprived of their bedrooms. I found my self seeking for another way to increase my finances.. A friend recommended AIRBNB because it gives the flexibility of opening and closing your house when you want to I wanted my daughters to be able to sleep in their bedrooms when they come home. I researched AIRBNB and I liked what I read. I felt confident that my 3 bedrooms would be perfect to host other families. and guests and give me the flexibility to have my own family here when possible. My first guests came in the spring and they were mostly families consisting of parents and two children of different sexes coming to visit the local universities. My house was perfect. The entire family could come to bedrooms that were together but separate. The girl had a room and the boy had his own room. Being a native Washingtonian, I had a wealth of information about the different schools that I could share. I give the guests a Metro guide and a bus guide to help them get around the city. They all were appreciative and felt safe knowing the family was in a house together and not at a motel where they would have their kids separated from them. In the summer, I got tourists who come to me for information about the monuments and museums. With me as their host and guide they get a personable, knowledgeable experience when they tour DC. I steer them to the various tour buses that run during the day and night, I recommend restaurants and give directions and transportation info to get to the Wharf for seafood dining, I direct them to different stores and businesses. My assistance and consideration for their personal circumstances make their trip to DC a far better experience than just coming here and renting a hotel . Hotels are great and will always get their share of visitors to DC. People who have money and can spend $200 a night will venture for a nice hotel downtown in the convenient location of the monument and museums but in this time of economic strife, we need AIRBNB , for the people who would not be able to afford a hotel here and would deter them from coming to this city because it is so expensive. I think that the economy of the city will only improve if you give tourist and people visiting options for their living arrangements , whether it be a hotel, motel or a bnb. Since becoming a host, my life has changed for the better. I'm not as stressed about my financial situation as before. It has been a wonderful experience meeting, talking and interacting with people from all around the world. I have made so many friends in the guests that have stayed here. I still regularly communicate with them. I get letters thanking me for my hospitality and I really feel that I have helped the tourists to appreciate their visit here and want to come back to DC again in the future. I feel that AIRBNB does a great job of providing a secure, safe enjoyable experience for both the guests and the hosts. I love this concept of a shared economy and would like it to expand,