Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The sharing economy in travel (an ode to Tom Ashbrook)

Because I know you're curious, yes, this filename is "I love you,Tom."

Because I'm old and lame, I get into trends about 5 years after most people. This means I have only recently discovered the wonder that is the podcast, after literally years of sitting around wondering why I couldn't access my favorite radio programs with I was on the subway to work.

Yeah, I'm a genius.

Anyhoo, I was listening to the ineffable Tom Ashbrook this morning, about the sharing economy and how it is affecting the travel industry. We all know about Couchsurfing, AirBnb, Uber, and more, but it's worth a listen to get some perspective on why local municipalities aren't always such big fans.

Personally, I think the old models of hotels, taxis, and concierges have been in need of a shake-up for some time, so I've been thrilled to see these businesses succeed - and challenge our current systems, including the seemingly mundane stuff like building inspection practice. It ain't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot more exciting (and I would say, economically and environmentally efficient) to use the apartments, vehicles, or information we already have, and share them out to the people who need them instead of forcing travelers to operate through concentrated channels like chain hotels.

What do you think of the sharing economy in travel? What has your experience been with these sorts of services?

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