While a number of start-ups are using a new business model that thrives on loaning services and products to strangers, some more traditional businesses appear to feel threatened.
Airbnb turns homes into bed and breakfast destinations internationally; RelayRides rents cars from a sharing marketplace; and EatWith helps amateur chefs turn their homes into restaurants.
But this so-called “sharing economy” is under threat, the Financial Times reported last week:
Traditional industries have launched regulatory battles with their new competitors, arguing that peer-to-peer home rentals and ride-sharing contravene national and regional laws on housing and transportation. … Clashes…are testing where the boundaries lie between the new companies and trading regulations designed to guarantee quality and safety.
Rooms rented through Airbnb, founded in 2008, are about 20% cheaper than most hotels in U.S. cities.
“Think about the major hotel chains that charge $25 for wireless,” co-host Mika Brzezinski said during Monday’s Afternoon Mo Joe roundtable discussion. “There are so many rip-offs that may be put into question now.”
The most important aspect of a business is the relationship between the company’s products or services and people’s needs, said Harold Ford Jr., political analyst and former Democratic congressman. Airbnb boasts more than 4 million guests and 300,000 listings worldwide since its establishment in 2008. Airbnb users can rent spaces in tree houses, castles, caves, tepees…and igloos.
“But it really is [these disrupted] companies that somehow understand their existence and environment has changed,” said Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary and msnbc contributor. “If they’re going to continue to be a vibrant company, they’re going to have to compete with people who have new ideas.”
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(Found out more about Airbnb):