Is the “new” economy a “sharing” or “on demand” economy and what is the impact on us? I initially thought it was “sharing”, now I’m more convinced its “on demand”. Currently the most notable examples are AirB&B, Uber and Criagslist. These are apps are enabled by the web and mobile technology. They took off in New York City and San Francisco and are now part of life here in the Valley. Take a look at the two Cities to understand where the early adopters are headed. Regulators in these Cities are just catching up and adjusting their approach to have more control, I don’t know if that is good or bad. The apps favorite response to more control is they are just software and have nothing to do with the actual service.
Now it is time to ask “What effect is it having on our Happy Valley”? If you think not much, many folks who know say somewhere between 20% and 30% of Valley vacation rentals are now AirB&B, VRBO, HomeAway, etc. The users have a tendency to schedule at the last minute. A powerful capability is the user review comments, we trust other users more than sales reps. Uber and Lyft are authorized to operate at the Denver Airport, Uber has just turned on their app for Summit, Eagle and Pitkin Counties, but not much activity as yet.
Think of how “on demand” could change these:
- Guide services and equipment rental (fishing, rafting, biking, hiking, winter sports)
- Food sourcing, meal prep, delivery, tours and tastings
- Home services (plumber, painter, electrician and etc.)
- Clothing (used, samples, craft and excess)
So what are the opportunities and threats:
- If you don’t adapt, big impact, just look at taxi companies
- Can’t depend upon regulations to protect you
- This Valley is different, could lead to faster acceptance
- Online reviews mean you can not longer hide your flaws
- No barrier to entry, just knowledge of activity and technology
- Purchasing moves from being sold to clients buying
- Better utilization of existing assets
- Can non-competes and intellectual property agreements be enforced?
Let’s hear you comments or questions?
I appreciate Fritz’s comments, life not just the economy is now “on demand”. Mobile Tech is the enabler of this change, but need is the driver. Most of us living here know that to have a job or two, we don’t get a normal schedule. Holidays are busy times, day time on the Mountain and evenings elsewhere is when there is a need for work. And many plan to do what they want do during the two months in Spring and Fall. Gives the old adage “work hard, play hard” a different time perspective, based upon time of year, not time of day.
Starting to notice both Uber and AirB&B are trying to build relationships with local regulatory agencies. They each have enough momentum that they won’t get shut down, but will be forced to accept some new guidelines to how they approach delivery of their services. I expect taxi’s and hotels will move towards the Uber/AirB&B technology approach. I did see an press release for a new hotel in Mexico that only takes reservations through AirB&B.