The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01639

Submission Number:
01639
Commenter:
Sylvia Newman
State:
Utah
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
Dear DC policy makers, My husband and I have had our home on AirBnb since Dec 2014, and since that time have hosted more than a dozen guests. Unlike many Airbnb hosts, we do not need the money; we simply wanted to make use of the space in our home left vacant when our children moved out. Now that we are experienced hosts, I want to list that benefits of Airbnb unrelated to income. First, we meet people that we would never meet otherwise--people from different age groups, socio-economic levels, and cultures; people with different political affiliations, belief systems, and life goals and experiences. In a country where political, social and economic divisions are of increasing concern, Airbnb provides a wonderful solution. There is no better way to understand people different than yourself than having them in your home--or staying in their home (something we are looking forward to when it's our chance to travel with Airbnb). I am convinced that many of the divisions we face today could be overcome if more people took this chance to meet new people in their own homes. Second, I feel that I provide a service and an economic benefit to my community. Many of our guests have gone to Airbnb when the local hotels were full, so now they have an alternative which brings them and their dollars to the community when they otherwise would have not come or chosen to go elsewhere. Third, it is our experience that the people who choose Airbnb are the very kind of people who benefit my community--they are interested in the culture of my hometown and want a different experience than the typical hotel customer. They spend their money here--our guests have skied, dined and visited many attractions here, many at our suggestion. The money that we bring in is usually spent within our community as well. We put a friendly face on our town which benefits everyone in tangible economic ways and intangible ways. I have heard people say that Airbnb is hurting the hotel business. As indicated previously, many of our guests chose Airbnb only when the local hotels were filled. Also, it concerns me that the hotels are trying to stifle competition. Competition is what brings about better service and prices--it should not be stifled. It has been argued that we are taking tax money from our community--taxes that hotels have to pay. This may be true, but we are also not using as much infrastructure as hotels require and, again, our guests spend their money in other ways in our community. Please consider these tangible and intangible benefits of Airbnb in your policy-making decisions. Sincerely, Sylvia Newman Ogden UT