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Authentic travel experiences – the sharing economy

Sharing things rather than owning them has become a major trend in the global economy. The aim of the sharing economy is to achieve added value and growth without further exploiting resources. In the travel industry this trend mainly concerns the hospitality industry and local forms of transport in the shape of car and bicycle sharing, couch surfing and providing apartment space. The idea is simple: private rooms, beds, sofas, cars and bicycles that are not in use can be shared by others in search of accommodation or transport – either by paying money, swapping (anyone occupying someone’s couch must be able to offer their own space over the web) or by collecting points – instead of simply leaving a space unoccupied or a vehicle unused in an airport car park.
What is special is that “it lets people experience an altogether different and more ’authentic’ way of travelling“, says Alon Eldar Stadler, the CEO of Only-apartments. “It is as if one were one of the locals living in London, New York, Berlin or Barcelona, and not in faceless hotel accommodation. One can blend into the local environment and feel at home in any part of the world.” Stadler is convinced that that is exactly what many people are looking for. They want to be seen as travellers and not as tourists. They want to be independent, travel around freely and be able to cross international borders. They want to meet people with a common mindset who are happy to share, instead of caring about their possessions.
According to Stadler, “it is because of ideas like these that completely new markets evolve, resulting in new business models and new challenges. The biggest danger is that innovative solutions will be nipped in the bud because competitors see problems rather than opportunities.“ If there are questions about taxation or a person’s home insurance or their third-party car cover does not allow for vehicle sharing then amendments must be made to the relevant laws and premiums. Alon Stadler is among those who stand behind making things possible rather than standing in their way and mustering the courage to try out something new.    Isabel Bommer

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