New Administration...New Regulations?

As a new administration settles into the White House, the executive stances on many issues have been relatively open to interpretation, to date. One area where this holds true is the administration's views on the future of the sharing economy. This is an especially interesting case given the President's past business experience in the hospitality industry. 

In the past, politicians’ stances on issues like regulation, trade, and taxes have severely impacted the sharing economy. For example, cities in New York, California, and Washington have delineated rigid rules on Airbnb’s operations, whereas states like Louisiana are more lenient.

Although the President has not yet publicly shared his views on the sharing economy, a CNET article examined his general policies to find clues about what his plans might be.

"There is no doubt he understands the sharing economy, and as a hotel/resort operator, he certainly gets the Airbnb, Uber and Lyft models", said Kathleen Smith, principal at RenaissanceCapital, which helps institutions invest in newly public companies. 

Nick Papas, Airbnb spokesman, believes that the administration's pick for labor secretary, Andrew Pudzer, would appreciate Airbnb’s platform. Pudzer is known for being supportive of entrepreneurship and deregulation. "Both Democrats and Republicans spent much of 2016 talking about how to help the middle class. Airbnb helps middle-class families by allowing them to use their house -- typically their greatest expense -- to generate supplemental income", Nick Papas said.

Another potential area of contention is Airbnb’s efforts to expand globally. A new approach to foreign policy coupled with a changing view of U.S. relations with the countries in which Airbnb operates, could affect the company’s business. For example, Airbnb is currently working to enter the Chinese hospitality market; however, if U.S.-Chinese trade relations are altered, this could have an effect on Airbnb's international growth plans in that country. 

In the coming months, support for entrepreneurial efforts, a desire to provide innovative revenue generating opportunities for middle-class Americans, and the U.S.'s evolving stance on international business will be the ultimate drivers in the future success of the sharing economy. 

—Namrata