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Travelling in a Shared Economy

You’re on vacation for two weeks, and your house remains empty. Looking to make use of it? Enter the shared economy.

Shared-economy services allow individuals to share what they already have. Once reserved for hitchhikers and backpackers, home sharing is now one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, translating into billions of dollars of revenue annually.* Home sharing services, such as Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and HomeAway, offer peer-to-peer accommodation and vacation rentals in over 190 countries.
A TravelWeekly survey shows that in 2014 only 37% of respondents knew sharing-economy services like Airbnb and HomeAway, but just one year later awareness grew to 60% .
HOME SHARING IS CHANGING THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Economic, social, and technological changes are driving growth.
 

     
ECONOMIC TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIAL
Profits can be made by using idle or excess assets. Accommodations are offered at a variety of price points, appealing to a wide range of travelers. Travelers can search, book, and pay for services safely and quickly online. Social media has widened networks, connected travelers, and removed some anonymity from the process. Norms are changing and sharing is becoming a more widespread option. People are looking for authentic travel experiences, so home sharing services are tailoring their offerings.
 
     
Home away from home: Prepare meals and do laundry, all with the creature comforts of home. Best concierge ever: Your host hands over the keys and provides you with the inside scoop on the neighbor hood, from good bites to must-see sights! Gain local perspective: Stay in local neighborhoods, away from tourist centers.
 
On average, home-staying travelers use less water and energy, produce less waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and choose public transportation more often than their hotel-staying counterparts . The potential environmental benefits don’t end there. As the demand for accommodations rises, instead of building more hotels, could home sharing allow travelers to simply use what’s already there?
While home sharing can be an eco-friendly option, just remember: you still need to do your part to minimize your environmental impact. Making eco-friendly choices like opting for public transit, eating local foods, and minimizing water and energy usage while you travel are still important.
Before your next adventure, remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, bus, or car, and staying in a hotel, home, or on someone’s couch, calculate your carbon footprint!
 
Shared-economy services are not without a few disadvantages. Concerns such as security, hygiene, and lack of regulation weigh on travelers. Home sharing services require a level of trust and honor. As with any trip, travelers need to do their research and remain vigilant. And be sure to provide comments and ratings about your experience to help other travelers make informed decisions.
http://www.travelweekly.com/ConsumerSurvey2015/Sharing-economy-awareness-soars-young-usage-up, http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/11/homesharing-airbnb-greener-usual-hotel/, http://www.cwtinsights.com/trends/the-sharing-economy.shtml, http://fortune.com/2015/02/20/homeaway-airbnb-priceline/, http://skift.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/skift-what-the-sharing-economy-means-to-the-future-of-travel.pdfhttps://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/08/07/airbnb-how-sofa-surfing-helps-environment, http://www.corporateknights.com/channels/built-environment/hotels-airbnb-battle-for-green-cred-14428152/, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbnb-sanfrancisco-idUSKCN0ST2RL20151105#VqMl49XFM1DD3900.97.
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