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Sharing is Caring (Airbnb)

The age old lesson of “sharing is caring” is true. It seems that the virtue has manifested itself into modernized ideas like Airbnb (sharing of residential space) and ride share companies (similar to carpooling).

Although there is no one pin-pointed reason these businesses are growing in popularity, it can be argued that one of the biggest motivations is the changing economy. Despite a recent 3% economic growth for the city of New York (according to city Comptroller Scott Stringer), it is still slower than the national average. Put that slow growth up against a steadily increasing cost of living and traveling in the city, and you get an overwhelming amount of residents and tourists who can’t afford the basic.

Coinciding almost perfectly with demands and increases in NYC, Airbnb began to gain traction. What originally was a “trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world” (Airbnb), quickly became a godsend for others.

The creators based the startup on the utopian idea that people could make their extra space in their home available short term which is supposedly a win-win-win: Airbnb collects a small fee, the hosts make a little money, and the users find a short-term solution. Simple, right?

Here how it works:

  • Create an account on Airbnb and search listings.
  • Reserve a room for a few days, a few weeks or even a month. You don’t ever have to contact the host directly because Airbnb acts as a mediator by collecting fees and setting you up.
  • Pay fees to Airbnb, and you’re on your way. Your host will contact you about details such as time and dates to pick up keys, house rules, etc.

The process is so smooth and painless—of course it attracts the likes of all sorts of people including tourists, city “gypsies”, and even people who don’t want to sign a long term lease and would prefer to move frequently (these people exist).

Airbnb isn’t the only company challenging traditions; ride-shares are becoming increasingly popular in New York.

What is a ride-share? Essentially, it is carpooling which is effective because it decreases each person’s traveling costs (i.e. tolls, fuel, etc.). Companies like GO Airlink have been capitalizing on densely populated New York to rake in thousands of customers who want to ditch yellow cab fares.

There are even ride-share services that allow people to connect socially through an app that is often times integrated with other networks like Facebook. Because drivers use their own cars, everything is more personalized (which has its ups and downs in itself). After creating an account, people can find a driver heading to the same destination and view prices per person. Every transaction is handled through these services, so if your driver is a no-show, your money is fully refunded.

Despite some people’s apprehension to this newfound sharing, many people are benefiting from it and it seems as if everyone is catching on to the trend!

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