The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have been an AirBnB host since July of 2014. A resident of Rhode Island I am one of the people hit hardest by the last recession. I lost my full time job and have been unable to find full time employment. My income from AirBnB contributes to my mortgage payments and other essentials so that I am not draining my savings. This is of extreme importance to me as I am close to retirement age, and would like the opportunity to retire at some point. One of, if not the best aspect of AirBnB is the people I get to meet. The world in it's diversity has shown up at my door. And, we are getting to know and enjoy each others company in a manner that could never happen in our day to day lives. It has changed our perspective and understanding of each other and we have become friends. The Rhode Island economy as well as the US economy needs a boost, badly. I am able to give my guests individualized assistance in planning their stay. They are discovering the beauty of and fantastic places to visit in Rhode Island. This positive response to RI will lead to more tourists visiting our state along with increased spending. All of my guests, from all economic levels, are helping the RI economy by making purchases at restaurants, stores, on travel, historic and cultural venues, transportation, etc. My payments from AirBnB also contribute to the economy of RI through taxation. AirBnB has done a very good job ensuring the safety of their guests and hosts by requiring and validating a picture, identification, and reviews by hosts and guests. As a single woman running an AirBnB I have found this extremely valuable. I have never had a guest that made me feel uncomfortable. AirBnB has $1,000,000 liability as well as $1,000,000 damage insurance. There was damage to my AirBnB room after one guest left and AirBnB did support me on this claim. In closing I feel AirBnB is a valuable and necessary part of our society: considering the current: 1. economic condition of Rhode Island and the greater United States with underemployed individuals, retired people, and middle class people struggling to pay college tuitions, mortgages, bills, rent, etc. 2. racial and religious hatred that is consuming the United States and the rest of the world. AirBnB is helping to create friendships and understanding among diverse groups of people. 3. technological changes that are happening through out the world. We all need to embrace the changes that are before us regarding how we do business or be left way, way behind.