post by : Mumenthaler Bettina
General information and definition
Sharing economy means the systematic sharing (lending) of resources, in order to maximise the use of the good/service.
For a big part of Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, the attitude towards possessing a lot of goods has significantly changed. They don’t consider it desirable to boast with accumulating and owning a lot of expensive but mostly unused things. They are more and more opposed to the arrogant behaviour of the young rich who often show off with their possessions. For them, the action of sharing becomes more and more important, both money- and mindset-wise. Things should be used instead of just owned. For example, one shared lawnmower for a small neighbourhood.
There’s a big discussion about the concept of the sharing economy nowadays. A lot of experts are favourable to it as they say it’s good for the environment if goods are used longer than usual. Furthermore, they appreciate the new attitude towards consumption which becomes more conscious and sustainable. A negative point is the limited public that can profit of the sharing economy. You have to be an active user of the internet in order to get to know the platforms.
According to the Time Magazine, the concept of the sharing economy is one of the ten ideas that will change the world in the future. One of the main reasons is the environmental factor. Looking after the environment has become more and more important. The fact that you make your contribution by sharing goods is not only thanked by nature gut also makes yourself look better.
Another idea that might be important for the future of the sharing economy is the social factor. In an increasingly anonymous world, we yearn to have social connections and may it be only with strangers with whom we share a lawnmower. The sharing economy “involves the re-emergence of community”, says Rachel Botsman, an expert of the sharing economy.
Application in tourism
As for the tourism branch, two inventions are changing accommodation and transportation completely these days. Airbnb introduced a new form of overnight-stay by creating a platform for private individuals to offer a spare bed in their apartment or similar accommodation. Uber used the same idea of privatizing for the transportation. Car drivers are able to offer spare seats in their cars on a journey from A to B to a large online community. The progress of mobile devices facilitates the access to online platforms where these “shared goods” can be offered, searched and booked.
In tourism, the sharing economy is on the rise: In Australia the amount of nights spent in shared accommodation (Airbnb, couch surfing) rose by 20% between 2007 and 2011. We suppose that in Valais the number of Airbnb accommodations is not as high as in major cities in Switzerland or its surrounding countries. Therefore, we see a great opportunity for locals in the tourism destinations to offer their spare beds to visiting tourists and offering them a much more personal Valais-experience.