The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
I have been an Airbnb host for one year now, in a 100 year old home that my husband and I renovated ourselves. We have poured over $40,000 into the neglected property that we purchased; the profit from Airbnb has enabled us to pay our mortgage and continue to address the myriad problems of the house. Our profits have gone right back into our home and community, hiring roofers, plumbers, electricians, buying materials, etc. and while we won't get rich off of our endeavor, we have the satisfaction of having saved an old house from ruin, and made a number of friends along the way. While we were initially concerned about the guests that would be using our apartment, our experience has been incredibly positive. I have consistently found our guests extremely conscientious concerning our property and neighbors, and have used our contact to promote the attractions of our city and generate friendships. I am able to direct them to less well known restaurants, coffee shops, and areas of interest, encouraging them to support the smaller businesses of our area. Personally, we have enjoyed staying at Airbnb across the country and just returned from a site in Central PA where we used the third floor bedrooms and shared the single bathroom between the 8 family members and guests. Sharing the family's Saturday morning breakfast solidified our relationship and exemplified the wonderful value that Airbnb offers--creating friends out of strangers. This is the quality of short term rentals that I value-having the opportunity to stay in interesting, unique, cost-saving places that foster relationships and promote adventure, and the opportunity to travel and live with other people teaches respect and tolerance, consideration and understanding. Sharing a bathroom with multiple strangers stretched me; sharing these strangers' home and lives for three days stirred my compassion and concern. Truly, I got more than I paid for through my experience, and I believe this contact and exposure to others creates healthier, more adaptable, engaged individuals.