The sharing economy, Airbnb and authenticity

Almost a million Airbnb guests were hosted in London in the year up to November 2015.

One of the unexpected positive impacts of the growth of Airbnb is the way in which tourists are being drawn to unexpected areas of London, encouraging them out of the city centre and away from tourist hotspots.  Airbnb hosts recommend local attractions and small businesses as well as providing a more authentic experience of the capital by opening up their own homes to visitors.

A new report, Discover Greater London: The Impact of Sharing an Authentic London, explores just how Airbnb is helping to generate economic benefits beyond the city centre.

  • 85% of guests choose Airbnb because they want to 'live like a local'
  • Over 80% of hosts recommend local businesses to their guests
  • 51% of London hosts are freelancers in the creative industries
  • 26% of guests are freelancers in the creative industries
  • 19% of hosts use the income to help start new businesses

Of course, it’s not just Greater London that is benefitting from the Airbnb effect. This article, featuring an Airbnb ‘superhost’ in Tanzania, explores how the site connects tourists directly to the local economy while at the same time providing authentic, human experiences  for travellers from around the globe.

The sharing economy has brought about some big changes in how organisations are defined and organised.  Uber is a world-leading taxi firm that owns no vehicles; Airbnb is a massive, global accommodation service that owns no real estate.  The ongoing impact of the sharing economy continues to be debated.