The modern sharing economy is comparable to online shopping, which started in America 20 years ago. At first, people had concerns about security. But, after making a successful purchase from, say, Amazon, they felt safe buying elsewhere. Similarly, using Airbnb or a car-hire service for the first time encourages people to try other offerings. Next, consider eBay. Having started out as a peer-to-peer marketplace, it is now dominated by professional “power sellers.” The same may happen with the sharing economy, which also provides new opportunities for enterprise. Some people have bought cars solely to rent them out, for example.
Incumbents are getting involved too. Avis, a car rental firm, has a share in a rival ride-sharing company. So do GM and Daimler, two carmakers. In the future, companies may develop hybrid models, listing excess capacity on peer-to-peer rental sites. In the past, new ways of doing things online have not displaced the old ways entirely—but they have often changed them. Just as online shopping has forced Walmart and Tesco to adapt, so too will the sharing economy shake up transport, tourism, equipment-hire, and more.
The main worry is regulatory uncertainty. Will room-renters be subject to hotel taxes, for example? In Amsterdam, officials are using Airbnb listings to track down unlicensed hotels. In some American cities, peer-to-peer taxi services have been banned after lobbying by traditional taxi firms. The danger is that although some rules need continuous updates to protect consumers from harm, incumbents will try to destroy competition. People who rent out rooms should pay taxes, of course, but they should not have the same regulations as a Ritz-Carlton hotel; the lighter rules that typically govern bed-and-breakfasts are more than adequate.
The sharing economy is the latest example of the internet’s value to consumers. This emerging model is now large and disruptive enough for regulators and companies to have woken up to it. That is a sign of its immense potential.
DynaRent can help you manage your whole rental fleet, whether that includes cars, cranes, aerial workers, or even bikes. And not only that—it keeps track of the service, maintenance, and transport for you as well. Find out what DynaRent can do for you so that you can take part in the sharing economy.