Up in the Air!—The Popularity of Renting Online
In this age of social networks and online communities, the culture of sharing has become more widespread. People are sharing photos, news articles, music, and now, even their homes. The trend of couchsurfing, for example, took off when Web sites began helping hosts and travelers from around the world connect with each other.
These days, the online company Airbnb has taken the idea of home-sharing a step further. It lets travelers rent rooms and apartments directly from hosts. Travelers search Airbnb’s Web site for properties based on location, size, price, and other features. In many cases, renting a property costs less than staying in a hotel. Hosts benefit by earning some extra money to help them meet the rising costs of living.
Besides saving and making money, Airbnb offers other advantages. Staying in someone’s home, travelers can gain a deeper understanding of local life. By letting travelers stay in their homes, hosts meet people from other places and get to know other cultures. All in all, Airbnb seems to offer a win-win solution to people who tend to value genuine experiences over material objects.