How The Sharing Economy Is Changing How We Live And Work and Rent

HFrom office sharing to car sharing to even bicycle sharing, the sharing economy is spreading its tentacles into almost every sector and market. But short term travel accommodation sharing may be just the tip of the iceberg in the hospitality industry, particularly with a national housing shortage that isn’t showing any signs of ending soon. In addition, mobile technology is allowing employees an unprecedented level of freedom to work almost anywhere. Changes in the business world are also changing housing needs as well. 

At the moment, however, renters have essentially three options when it comes to housing: 

  • Short term/temporary housing: Sometimes in the form of extended stay hotels and sometimes furnished “corporate apartments.” This allows individuals to enjoy features like a full kitchen and a more homey atmosphere than a typical hotel, but also allows them to move frequently without having to also move an entire home’s worth of personal belongings.
  • Short-term unfurnished rentals: Many apartments offer leases as short as 3 months, but ultimately, you are still locked into a lease and still have to move all of your belongings from place to place. 
  • Long-term rentals: This is obviously the most common type of rental, with leases generally extending one year or more and individuals move all their belongings with them.

One of the major pitfalls of all of these options is that every time you move, you have to personally find a new place to live. While the internet has made this somewhat easier, only a small handful of apartments generally advertise online and they are often the most expensive in an area. This makes moving an incredibly time-consuming experience for renters, who are often at the mercy of changing markets and severe shortages in many areas. The same way technology changed the way we travel, however, it may soon change the way we live. 

Home Sharing

Imagine being part of a house sharing network with apartments and other accommodations available around the world. Instead of living in corporate housing in one city for 3 months before having to find more corporate housing in another, you could simply book your next apartment through your apartment sharing service. Perhaps in one city you live alone, while in a more expensive city you live with pre-vetted and pre-screened roommates or live in a bedroom in someone else’s home. If you have a 6-month contract in Atlanta, you can stay there in a house share until it’s time to take your next gig in Seattle. You don’t have to worry about contracts lining up with leases, you simply stay as long as you need to and move on. 

Office Sharing

Many people long to travel but often have to cram any travel into the occasional weekend or a few weeks of vacation. In addition, couples often have to choose between opportunities for one or the other. One partner might be up for a huge promotion that would require a move, while the other doesn’t want to leave a job that they love. Mobile technology and office sharing is opening the door to a wide range of previously unavailable opportunities. Imagine being able to live and work in Rome for 6 months before moving to Paris for a year, all while working for the same company. 

Hotel/Hosting Hybrids

The idea of staying in the home of a complete stranger might have been an unpleasant one at one time, but not anymore. In fact, according to a study conducted by Condé Nast Traveler, 70% of Millennial business travelerswould actually prefer to stay with a local host rather than in a hotel. This is making major hotel chains sit up and take notice. What it is telling them is that travelers (particularly business travelers) are much more interested in an immersive and personal experience, rather than distance and privacy. As a result, many hotel chains are revamping their properties and processes to offer a much more personalized experience. In addition, a growing range of mobile services are allowing hosted accommodations to offer many of the same amenities as hotels. These include mobile massages and other spa services, childcare and even food delivery.

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