Peer to Peer Travel During The Summer Of 2017

As the summer months approach in 2017 so does travel season. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Transportation performed a survey that showed 657 million long distance summer trips were made in America during the 16-week period between Memorial Day and Labor Day of the same year. We can only assume that the has risen since then and will be much higher for 2017. The way Americans travel in the U.S. is clear, approximately 91% of all travel during these summer months will be made in a car, the average distance being about 284 miles. Even more telling is that fact that 97% of these travels will be domestic this compares the 98% rate of domestic travel during the non-summer months. So we know that travellers will stay in the U.S. during the summer. Why don’t we take a look at what happens once a traveller gets to their destination? 
 Everyone knows the hotel industry is huge, that isn’t the question. The question is how much exactly does the hotel industry make in a year? Well, in 2015 the hotel industry capped off at $189 billion, which was a $14 billion jump from 2014. These levels are projected to only grow over the next few years. It is clear that hotels make a lot of money, and by the same reasoning, they charge a lot. But is there really value in staying in a hotel? Is there an alternative to being an occupancy statistic? The simple answer is yes. There are ways to enhance and customise your travel experience by staying with or renting from your peers. Strangers you might ask? Not really, in fact, many peer to peer lodging rental platforms have emerged over the past decade. Airbnb is the most popular but there are countless others including 9flats, Homestay, HomeAway and many many more.

So what is the benefit of using one of these companies as compared to a standard hotel? Well simply put it is cheaper, large hotel chains normally have a general rate for a specific type of room in a specific city. Booking on a peer to peer platform gives you a significantly more diverse array of housing that can be filtered through to find you a dream home that fits all your needs and your budget as well.

As you can see from the table above, even the most expensive Airbnb city is about the same as the 10th most expensive hotel city. When it comes to Cambridge, MA home to the internationally acclaimed Harvard and MIT universities the difference between prices is almost $70 per night. That difference is over half of the average cost of an Airbnb in Chicago. 
 So what can you expect from staying in someone else’s home? While we understand that this is a new experience for many people. You may be surprised to know that you have probably already used some kind of on-demand service. In fact, according to Pew’s research 72% of Americans have already participated in the sharing economy. We know that staying with a stranger is initially a scary thought peer to peer travel can be an amazing experience. That same research data shows that once you use the sharing economy you’re much more likely to recommend it to someone else. There are several benefits of using one of these platforms aside from just the price. For starters meeting new people with different often contrasting opinions can prove to be a great experience, on top of that these people live where you have travelled to, who better is there to tell you all the better local restaurants and attractions.

What’s even more incredible about peer to peer travel is the fact that it is not limited solely to staying in a stranger’s home. On-demand services have expanded to almost every industry. The other main industries in the mode of travel including renting boats, cars and experiences from your peers. The peer to peer boating industry is probably the second most developed on demand industry in the U.S. with 4 main companies competing in the market. GetMyBoat seems to be leading the pack with thousands of boat listings around the world. The other three Boatsetter, Boatbound, and Sailo all also offer a wide variety of boats across the United States. A day on the water is one of the best ways to accent a summer vacation. Whether you want to spend the day fishing or just a lazy day floating around there is a boat for everyone.

The peer to peer car marketplace is actually pretty small, currently, there is only one noteworthy peer to peer car company in the U.S., that company is Turo. While they have a wide variety of cars for rent, the true value of using Turo is hidden in luxury cars. Where you can rent cars for a reasonable price that would normally cost an absolute fortune. How awesome would it able to drive a $150k car around for a week on vacation?

The benefit of working with strangers is the knowledge they can provide. The next big thing in the sharing economy is experiences. They are basically guided tours from a local resident that give a genuine perspective of what it is actually like to live in the city which you are travelling to. These services are not limited to walking around either, plenty of people provide cooking classes or even restaurants in their homes. The key to the success of these tours is the authenticity of the experience. These tours are becoming so widely popular that Airbnb decided to buy Trips4real, a peer to peer travel guide company, so they could highlight certain experiences as a package deal with the lodging rentals that they currently provide. Simply put the average vacation can now be spiced up with flair, and authenticity which is something that is emerging as a want for the younger generations. 
 So how will this affect your vacation this summer? Well, that’s pretty simple. In fact creating an authentic travel experience with help from your peers is no more than a click away. Many people will use the sharing economy to travel this summer, will you step out of your comfort zone and join the movement?

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