The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01403

Submission Number:
01403
Commenter:
Davis
State:
California
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My story will be one of many impactful vignettes of experiences of economy "sharing" with airbnb, both as an American host, and as a guest, around the world. As a host, I have a very modest cabin in the mountains of southern California that over the years has sat empty for six months during the slow season. Renting my cabin through Airbnb has changed that for me. This has not only helped me keep the cabin, but upgrade it and maintain it with care. In terms of the local economy, which has been anything but great since 2008, I employ a small management/caretaking company, who employs another 10 people. For each guest, I supply a list of great things to do and recommended restaurants in the area, all of which impact the local business owners. I also pay 8% tax to the local city municipality. Additionally, this is something I can manage from anywhere. This flexibility allowed me to continue my business when visiting my ill father on the east coast. This is just the economic impact. My reviews are from many guests who would not normally be able to afford a vacation in a resort town, but because of this opportunity, they can. I have so many testimonials of touching experiences from people and their kids who have had their first experience in nature, in the mountains, and/or the snow and appreciate my guidance and expertise in the Big Bear Lake area. As an Airbnb guest, the greatest thing we are experiencing is a connection to a huge variety of nationalities, ethnicities, religions, cultures, and socio-economic levels. My family and I are currently on a trip around the world and between staying with friends and Airbnb hosts, and other stars aligning, this trip has been possible. We have stayed in affordable spaces in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, South Africa, and also, are booked into places in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and Spain through economy sharing programs. This RTW trip does not mean we are wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but rather, hold precious the diversity of world cultures, first-hand through experience. We are able to make this life-dream experience a reality through friends and economy sharing. Indeed we believe that economy sharing allows us to bridge gaps, and helps us realize we are more alike than not, and moreover, that this will have a ripple affect with our 9-year old daughter, who is experiencing all of this, too. Certainly, future generations will reap the benefits of this multicultural economy sharing. Perhaps, the bigger epiphany is the ability to accept, or better yet, honor our differences, with respect and even admiration. Our daughter has no concept of anything different and this overall attitude can only contribute to world peace. For example, in Fiji, we stayed with an Indian Fijian family and learned about their family's poignant history and immigration from India to Fiji. We felt so comfortable with each other that they invited us to a Hindi celebration with their close-knit community. We never would have had this educational and emotional experience if we had just stayed in Fiji resort areas. Additionally, we know for a fact that Airbnb is powerfully impacting this family in a hugely positive way, financially and emotionally. While we were there, they also hosted guests from Germany and Holland. We think it is apparent that airbnb has been nothing but positive for our family, our local and global communities. Thank you, Virginia Davis