The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop #01721

Submission Number:
Jim Gilson
Initiative Name:
The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
My partner and I have been running a short-term vacation rental business using our small studio-casita behind our home in Cathedral City, CA for the past 6-months. We exclusively use the Airbnb online platform to rent our place, and have had an excellent success in our small business venture. Our income has nearly tripled what a long-term rental for the property would otherwise be. We have registered our business through our local city business office, pay business license fee and Temporary Occupancy Tax to our local municipality monthly, just as hotels in our area do. The Airbnb platform allows us to learn about potential guests by reviewing their profile and reviews from others who they have stayed with, before we respond to an inquiry to stay in our place. In addition, they can read about our place, see photos of the place and read reviews about our place from others who have stayed with us prior to deciding whether they want to rent and stay with us or not. The reviews and ratings of the both the groups of people, and the properties being rented are well documented and kept honest by Airbnb whose system does not allow you to read reviews from others about their experience staying at our place, until we have left a review about our experience with the guests first. It keeps people very honest about what their experience has been on both sides of the equation whether renter or host. In addition, any problems with the rental are insured up to $1,000,000 through Airbnb for property damage or injury. Thankfully, we have not had to use insurance and have had no problems. We did have one problem with a guest showing up with 5 people instead of the registered 2 people and Airbnb worked with us and our guests promptly to rectify the situation to everyone's benefit. I cannot say how happy I am to be part of the Airbnb hosting community. The added income is helping me pay down my mortgage, add new landscaping and other upgrades to my property, and allow me to be on track to pay off my mortgage by the time I am ready to retire. This will help ensure I can stay in my home for my golden years.