Sharing Economy and its Impact on the Travel Industry in Latin America

Technology is allowing people to have tighter relationships with people they would not be able to connect with otherwise. We can see our family members while living abroad. Align our tasks with the rest of the office. Meet people with similar interests. Even find someone who has exactly what you are looking for.

Sharing goods and services might not be a new concept for you. When you add technology and great ideas into this mix, however, you end up with what we call “the sharing economy”. Technology is helping people share what they have with whomever wants to pay the price for it. 

The sharing economy is having a great impact in every business model we knew until a few years ago. Companies can provide easy access to experiences, services, locations, and spaces.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What exactly is the sharing economy
  • How the sharing economy is related to tourism
  • Latin America and the success of the sharing economy

What is the sharing economy?

A way to prioritise the access of goods instead of the possession of them. Sounds interesting? That’s exactly what the shared economy is all about.

At first, the web enabled people to share their own code using Linux. Then we decided to share our own lives with our friends using social networks. This desire to share was expanding and gave us the possibility of sharing assets. By assets, I mean cars, flats, knowledge, food and even offices.

The sharing economy focus on the collaborative consumption.

Uber, Airbnb, Car2Go, Eat With Locals and much more are a small part of this movement. They are helping people have better experiences, save money, and produce less waste. How couldn’t that be exciting? 

It’s understandable that laws are still lacking speed to adapt to new technology. That’s why goods from this new method of doing business are, still, not fully regulated – yet. In the end of the day, people are going to use what makes their lives easier. That’s exactly what the sharing economy is all about.

How is the sharing economy related to tourism?

The sharing economy landed on the travel industry quite early. Traveling, is being improved daily by locals and companies that want people to have unique experiences during their time off.

Nowadays, you can have meals with locals, use their car, stay in their flats and go to unique locations where only locals would hangout.

Back in 2008, some people had an idea about renting free rooms in their own houses. That’s when the airbnb business model started. 

Which was once a side business for home owners quickly grew to one of the biggest tourism markets of the decade.

Using apps like Airbnb, you can live like a local almost anywhere in the world. You can cook in a traditional Italian kitchen. Sleep in an authentic Japanese bed. Hide yourself in middle of the Austrian Alps like a local would do. The travel experience is being enhanced by moments you wouldn’t be able to have just a while ago. 

The sharing economy brought a different perspective over traveling. Instead of going to be in a luxurious hotel, now you can book a room, rent a whole castle or even a boat, living another life just for a few days. Those experiences are now shared.

How’s Latin America reacting to the sharing economy?

In Latin America, you can see local and international platforms popping up every single day. The biggest impact of the sharing economy is happening in Brazil, México, Peru and Argentina. 

Rio de Janeiro, one of the most touristic places in Brazil, is the third city with the largest amount of flats on Airbnb, only behind New York and Paris. It’s known that the service has grown along with the economic crisis in Brazil, which is quite an achievement. 

Uber, another classic example of the sharing economy, registered one of its biggest growth in Mexico. People feel more safe using Uber instead of taxis because of the GPS function and being able to log your own trips. It’s also easy to contact the driver in case you leave something behind and also to leave a good or bad review. Uber is so popular worldwide nowadays that people refer to the “uber sharing economy” as a way of explaining apps and ideas.

Latin America and the success of the peer to peer economy

It’s not a coincidence why the uber sharing economy is booming around Latin America. People are finding ways to solve daily issues around cities while still making money. As they say, money makes the world go round, and that’s how customers can benefit from the sharing economy while still being a part of it.

Latin America still has huge trust issues with the web, but regulamentations are making it easier for people to trust those companies. As the market grows, laws are being changed to accomodate what’s new. In México City, for example, Uber is absolutely regulated by the government and all their transactions are recorded. 

It’s still a long way to go, but the growth rate of people using services thanks to the sharing economy do not lie. The future is here to make our lives easier, but we need to play by the rules.

Final Thoughts

The sharing economy tourism is opening doors we didn’t even know existed until not long ago. This opportunity is incredible to boost the development of regions that were once forgotten and lacked infrastructure for tourists and locals. By empowering people to share what they have, the market shifts.

I’m excited to say that this is only the beginning.

People are not just looking for solutions for leisure, but also as a way of investing in the long run. Millions of people are supporting their families while working with Uber. Businesses came out of Airbnb just by sharing unique, stylish flats with tourists. Millenials are happily working in shared offices, living in shared spaces and exchanging what they know, just so everyone can be a part of that.

People don’t care about owning stuff anymore. They care about being able to take advantage of it only when they need it. That’s why this market is so big and so aligned with the travel industry in Latin America, where people are focusing much more on having experiences.

What do you think it’s the most fascinating aspect of the sharing economy tourism?