The world is transitioning into an incredible ‘sharing-economy’, also know as ‘collaborative consumption’. Everywhere you look there are new businesses and concepts emerging. They leverage technology to give the individual the ability to share and collaborate faster, cheaper and easier. Many of these emerging technologies and businesses are highly transformational and disruptive. They have huge impact and saturate new markets with lightening speed (for example Uber).
Many of these utilise unused resources such as cars, which on average sit unused for 92% of the time, or spare empty rooms in peoples' homes. Others are about using a large group of individuals connected via technology to ‘crowd-source’ funds, information or tasks.
According to Wikipedia:“Much of this transition is said to have started around 2000, as new business structures emerged due to the Great Recession (first decade of 21st century, including the Global Financial crisis), enabling social technologies, and an increasing sense of urgency around global population growth and resource depletion. In 2011, collaborative consumption was named one of TIME Magazine's 10 ideas that will change the world”
Some examples of the shared economy:
- Donation, lending and equity crowdfunding– Pledge Me (NZ) & Kickstarter
- Accommodation - Air BnB
- Taxis – Uber
- Ride-sharing – Bla Bla Car, Chariot (NZ)
- Collaborative Decision Making – Loomio
- House-Sitting - Trusted House Sitters
For entrepreneurs there are huge opportunities around the shared economy and this new way of doing business using our increased level of globalisation and technology. In addition to creating incredible businesses, these are businesses that will shape our future by reducing environmental impacts and creating huge value for consumers for highly competitive rates.
My current personal favourite from my life of work, travel and adventure is Air BnB. Air BnB is described as “The Worldwide Alternative to Hotels. Unique Accommodations, Worldwide”.
In short, Air BnB gives an individual the ability to rent out their own room or home on their own terms, to other individuals! I wanted therefore to share some tips and experiences from multiple Air BnB trips for business and pleasure over the last 2 years.
Tips for Using Air BnB
1) Ability to save money when you travel
On Air BnB you can rent out your own room or home for periods that you are away. This allows you to save huge amounts for travel, rather than wasting your hard earned cash on something you are not actually using. Plus you still have your place when you return!
I had a room in an amazing flat in Wellington in 2014, but I was travelling about 50% of the time. Whenever I was away we would put it on AirBnB in week blocks and I would frequently cover my rent by 150%! My flatmates did the same when they went away and we were all happy to host interesting people for our friends' rooms! Many of the people staying were University Professors on short term contracts, international travellers or people relocating.
Recently another friend rented out her flat while she travels a month in South America – rent fully covered!
2) As a host you can choose your own terms
The great thing about hosting is that you have full control over what you offer. For example you choose the price, some people say they don’t need or want to rent out their spare rooms – but when they discover what they could be earning they are often surprised. Check out your local area to see what people are charging.
You can also choose if you offer breakfast or not, set your own checkin/checkout times, have bonds required, set minimum stay times (we used a week minimum to reduce check in and sheet washing hassles). You can even choose what sort of bedding you offer – the cheapest accommodation in New York is a $20 tiny sofa!
Of course it is all linked to demand, so you can offer what you want. Whether or not it gets booked is based on what the demand is and what people want! I have family that have their student hostel on Air BnB in Christchurch and they just LOVE it as it fills up their spare capacity over summer and they can set their own terms to suit themselves.
3) It is SUPER easy to use
Air BnB has been designed with you in mind. It's simple and easy to use. Setup takes a few minutes as a traveller or host and it is great fun to surf around checking out great locations around the planet! It also has an app and links to email. It makes communication with hosts and travellers super easy too! You also add in your Visa card so payments can be managed with ease – it is all automatically paid when you make a booking. You can use this link to sign up hassle free for some free credit for yourself, as well as some credit for me for my own adventures for inviting you!
4) You will visit the most breathtaking places on the planet…
As a traveller it gives you access to the most INCREDIBLE places that you would not normally be able to find or afford. Some of the more unique offerings include boats, caves and my personal favourite, yurts! We recently stayed in a stunning Yurt near Auckland! The Yurt was super easy to book and had everything we needed from a functioning kitchen and bathroom, plus an amazing outdoor fire bath that we spent 4 hours in watching the stars!
5) It is cheap!
Because it is generally individuals offering accommodation who do not have business running costs to cover, generally they can offer it for much cheaper than hotels. Let's be honest, a lot of hotels are either super expensive or very average quality these days. When you compare the prices on Air BnB you will be blown away.
For example recently last minute we just wanted a nice comfortable double bed in Taupo, New Zealand for a short stop as we were travelling through - $50 NZ and super easy to book. Searching for motels/hotels we only found things for $100+. That Yurt near Auckland? Only $160 per night!
Once again, if you are keen to save some extra money on your first trip then you can also use my $20-$50 discount voucher code to sign up: www.airbnb.co.nz/c/lelliott49?s=8 (I also get some thank you credit from Air BnB so it’s a win win!).
6) Filter for exactly what you want
As a traveller I LOVE the filter function. It allows you to search for exactly when and what you want. You need WIFI? There's a filter. Want a place with an amazing outdoor spa? There's a filter. Want somewhere you can take pets? You get the idea. There are tonnes of different filters so you can find your dream accommodation.
My personal favourite is the spa filter. When I travelling around Iceland with a bunch of entrepreneurs in October we hired an amazing house for four days… With an outdoor spa! A must if you're going to Iceland.
7) Look at the reviews
The reviews are great – they give you a real sense of what you are getting and if the description is accurate and the place safe. I generally do not stay somewhere without any reviews and have found this helpful in finding the best places with the most amazing and kind hosts! Also can mean it might be hard to get underway as a host yourself. So for your first listing with no reviews you might want to consider dropping the price as an incentive (you can put it up again later), plus make sure those first guests get extra special treatment like some treats (actually consider this for all guests, a $1 choc bar or a $4 glass of wine can go a long way to giving excellent reviews that help get you future listings!).
8) It’s a GENUINE experience
We all crave something real and genuine. And Air BnB offers exactly that. I love the personalised feel you get when you stay at someone's home. Everywhere we have stayed we have met kind and interesting locals who are happy to have a chat and share ideas and tips for the local area for the stay. Everyone has also been respectful of space and when you want to be left alone they are happy to do that too! On both sides it seems to work really well - some hosts have clear space separation and you do not see them much, where others you see lots more and share the same spaces - it is up to you as a host to set your own terms and if others like them then they will come!
So if you have been wondering about Air BnB and whether it would be good for your travel or for hosting, then my recommendation is to give it a go at least once and see what you think. I am also happy to give ideas and support from my experiences of using it if you wanted to shoot me a quick email at Logan@lifetimecreative.co
And once again, if your new to Air BnB as a traveller or host, then you can use this link to get a $ discount on your first trip away if you want (I also get some credit so it’s a win win!): www.airbnb.co.nz/c/lelliott49?s=8