Recent years have seen the rise of the sharing economy as a highly successful business model across the world that has allowed many people who have little experience of business to participate and make money in many different industries; which has significantly boosted global economies and has even created entirely new industries, such as ride sharing and micro-financing.
One industry in particular where this has helped is in the travel industry. No longer does one have to own a hotel or run a bed and breakfast in order to participate; people who had a spare bedroom or a single holiday apartment can now easily become their own bosses or at least make some extra income from their empty spaces, and this has led to many unexpected but positive changes in the travel industry. Below are five significant ways in which travelers in particular can benefit from the sharing economy model in the travel industry.
1. More access to off-the-beaten-path locations
As the sharing economy has taken off on a global scale, it’s meant that many many places that were previously unknown or obscure are now relatively easy to access by travelers looking for a unique travel experience. Before, if there wasn’t a hotel or bed and breakfast in a town or village, it made visiting and staying there quite difficult and often meant that travelers could only pass through. But now with the option of staying in a local house or apartment being available, these smaller destinations are becoming quickly more accessible to travelers which has made travelling a much more exciting and enriching experience. No longer are explorers limited to the larger and more well-known locations alone; now the whole world becomes an easy-to-explore oyster.
2. A chance to live like a local
As regular people have begun putting their homes, apartments, or holiday rentals into sharing economies to be accessed by travelers from all across the world; it has given many travelers a change to experience life in a place like a local; as many holiday accommodations available in sharing economies are testaments to local traditions of architecture, decor, and home living. In Scandinavia be sure to find two duvets folded carefully on the bed, or in Bali travelers will be delighted to find that most homes have their showers outside in the yard!
3. Insider knowledge of local cultures and sites
When travelers participate in the sharing economy by booking accommodation with local residents; they often get the insider scoop and tips of best restaurants, museums, shops and more that are often left out of tour guides. Many hosts are more than happy to share personalized recommendations of things to see and do, many of which are off the beaten path of the more well-known tourist attractions. This is particularly useful in places that aren’t super well known or don’t have many guides written about them.
4. Cheaper accommodations available for those traveling on a budget
Travelers who are on a tight budget can delight in the comfort of shared accommodation which is the foundation of the travel shared economy. Much more comfortable than hostels, many travelers can book a shared room or a private room in a family home for much less than the price of a hotel or whole apartment. This has the added bonus of often getting to share meals together, and to get an intimate experience of what the day-to-day life of local families is like.
5. A network of friends built on trust and accountability
The benefits of participating in a travel-based sharing economy are many; those who use locally provided accommodation on their holidays have the benefit of meeting and becoming friends with local peoples, a connection that builds a network of trust that can be worldwide. Often many who use local accommodation are more than willing to return the favour for those who’ve hosted them, or are at least willing to give local information and tips to their former hosts. This creates large networks of friends that can span the globe and create an intimate and trusting series of relationships in which travel has united strangers from all over the world.