We sink down the TripAdvisor rabbit hole, surf couches, eat with locals, share cars and barter skills. Ten years ago only few were convinced that collaborative consumption would soon seduce crowds and shape our vision of the future. What is a sharing economy and how does it change the way we travel?
The young phenomenon had to wait for social networks to blossom in early 2000s to make its way towards a wider public. It was the tool which brought people together in times of great recession and addressed the problems of rapid population growth and resource depletion. Disownership, trusted relationships and eliminating unused value proved to be a way to go and define the concept.
Yet, it wasn’t until 2011, when The Time listed collaborative consumption among their ten ideas that would change the world. Five years later, we all know that this well-spotted trend is indeed altering the way we lead our lives. And possibly will save us from the planet degradation.
Today, peer-to-peer marketplaces are already a fast paced economy with new platforms and services popping up all the time. We use eBay to get rid of products laying idle, we rent our flats to strangers through Airbnb, take a ride with Über and create local neighbor communities to exchange favors with the-girl-next-door. Though quite a few of these modern concepts clearly cause controversies and shake many traditional businesses, there’s no way back. We’ve already noticed goods are shareable and discovered a new concept of trust, against all odds.
Travel is possibly one of the fields most affected by this booming trend. We’ve gained TripAdvisor, where we’re free to share our comments with fellow travelers independently, which has empowered us to entirely rule-out unreliable businesses and praise well-practitioners. We’ve won a chance to interact with natives, whether it’s a common dinner, hosting experience or a meet-up. We’ve found alternative transportation in car-sharing and collaborative bike stations. Finally, we’ve learnt that one doesn’t need to break the bank to afford an engaging local guide while on the road.
Not only do these habits save us some cash, but also contribute to a lesser foot-print. So let’s learn to use the Internet as a tool, that is designed to bring us together.