This Sunday, a group of Airbnb hosts from DC’s Capitol Hill and Eastern Market neighborhoods split into teams and spread out to speak with local businesses and discuss the merits of hosting in the area.
The group of hosts visited over 25 businesses in one afternoon and found tremendous support, receiving letters from many owners and managers, and helping others to put up Airbnb stickers in their storefronts reading, “community loved local business.”
Over the past year, similar “Merchant Walks” have spread through Adams Morgan, 14th Street, Georgia Avenue, H Street, and other DC neighborhoods, seeking out local businesses that support the positive economic impact of home sharing.
Their message is simple: Home sharing makes an expensive city like Washington, DC, more affordable for everyday residents, while enabling guests from around the world to visit all eight wards and support local businesses.
“One of the things that has driven the revival of local business has been the pride that small business people have in their city and the effort they expend to showcase what DC has to offer,” Cathy Cook, the DC Home Sharing Club Leader, explains. “By bringing guests to different parts of the city, home sharing is helping them, too.”
These exciting efforts mark just a portion of the recent work done by DC’s rapidly growing and active host community. Since November, Airbnb hosts from across DC have held 22 events in support of home sharing, thanks to incredible leaders like Cathy Cook (Ward 2), Chekesha Rashad (Ward 8), Randy Brown (Ward 5), Elizabeth Risley (Ward 6), and Synta Keeling (Ward 7).
“My neighborhood is special because of the diversity and unity during good and bad times,” says Cherie Dargan, a longtime Airbnb host in DC’s Ward 6. “Sending my guests to local businesses gives them the feeling of not being a traveler, but part of my family.”
These efforts have also garnered the active support of over 160 local stores, restaurants, and services, including Wall of Books, Maketto, Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot, and other host favorites.
“I want to give guests a quality, personal service, help them enjoy their time in DC, and show them the city is more than the corridors of power or the monuments – local entrepreneurs get that,” Cathy Cook says.
And DC’s growing engagement is just getting started.
This August, over 100 hosts will meet to discuss the future of home sharing in DC and throughout the next few months, local campaigns and events will ensure that the home sharing community’s voice is heard as new regulations are considered.
Whether you’re a host, small business owner, supporter, or guest, stop by your next local event to meet this thriving community and join the conversation!