Every day, you are contributing to the sharing economy without even realizing it. When you carpool either to save on gas or to help a co-worker whose car has broken down, you are part of a greater movement that embraces “collaborative consumption.” Sharing goods and services is a growing, all-encompassing trend that isn’t just some passing fad—it’s a way of life.
On June 1, people around the world will contribute to the rapidly growing “Sharing Economy” by celebrating Global Sharing Day in unique and innumerable ways. This year the theme is “neighborhood sharing,” which focuses on uniting communities, fostering communication, and sharing whatever you might have to offer. From simply offering your neighbor a ride to the grocery store to opening your home to visitors from another country, you can be a part of this exciting “sharing movement.”
As your contribution — not just to Global Sharing Day, but for the coming year — consider opening your home to a traveler who might not speak the same language, know his or her way around your city/town, or have a lot of extra cash to spend on accommodations. By becoming a host, you are both giving and receiving an experience—and it’s one that helps facilitate a sense of community as well as one that adds to the sharing economy.
There are so many ways to welcome a visitor—whether you have a cozy spare room to rent or a more deluxe private guesthouse, there is something to offer to everyone. The simple acts of greeting a visitor, offering a meal (or, better yet, cooking together!), and acting as tour guide in your own neighborhood all enhance the sharing experience. Opening your home also becomes an educational experience, particularly if you or your guest is interested in learning another language or gaining knowledge about another culture or history.
By committing to opening your home to travelers this year and into the future, you are joining the global sharing initiative and encouraging awareness that many of the things we require—from housing to transportation to a diverse array of skills—are close at hand and wallet-friendly. Giving a grateful traveler a place to stay might seem like a simple gesture, but it is most certainly part of a bigger, rapidly expanding movement.
Alan Clarke is CEO of Homestay.com.