The Sharing Economy Festival in Aarhus: a recap

On August 21, the first Sharing Economy Festival was held in Aarhus.  The festival consisted of a sit-down conference in the morning, and a full programme of workshops and debates in the afternoon. The ‘Folkemøde’, or peoples meeting, brought together consumers, businesses and policymakers from all over Denmark to celebrate and discuss the sharing economy. To welcome and encourage the first event of its kind in Denmark Airbnb, throughout the day, supported and participated in multiple panel discussions and meetings as to share views on the benefits and future of the sharing economy in Denmark.

Collaboration is the way forward
Together with representatives from Visit Aarhus, HORESTA, Wimdu and the Confederation of Danish Enterprise, James McClure, General Manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb participated in a debate focused on the sharing economy in tourism. He stressed that collaboration, partnerships and discussion are key to move the debate forward. Peer H. Christensen from Visit Aarhus mentioned the growth of Airbnb, and of tourism in general, in Aarhus as a positive development and welcomed traditional partners, as well as players in the sharing economy, around the table to collaborate and continue to grow sustainable tourism.

Beyond the headlines
Later in the day Airbnb sponsored a panel discussion moderated by April Rinne, sharing economy expert and advisor to Airbnb, with four owners of local sharing economy initiatives. The purpose of this debate was to shine a light on sharing economy platforms across Denmark and showcase the variety of companies operating in this space.  It gave room for operators in the sharing economy, HappyHelper, Deemly, Hooves, and Fetch, to have their voice heard and highlight the different stages of growth many companies like them face. The debate revealed the realities of being an entrepreneur as all participants elaborated on the challenges they face, but also the opportunities of operating in this industry, as one of the participants said: “ it can be a rollercoaster ride and marathon at the same time.”

Airbnb in Aarhus
On the same day as the festival, Airbnb released a report with data about the Airbnb community in Aarhus. The report highlights how the Airbnb community generated new economic activity of over 300M DKK in Aarhus in the past year, and gives insight into the demographics of our community. Aarhus counted 2,600 hosts in the past year and the typical host on Airbnb in Aarhus shares their home for 17 nights a year and earns an additional DKK 7,600 a year. The mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, who opened the festival in the morning also welcomed the report:

“This report confirms that the people in Aarhus have embraced the sharing economy and it confirms that sharing economy accommodation is a vital part of tourism in Aarhus. We have now gotten an overview of the extent of Airbnb accommodation in Aarhus. There are many assumptions about the sharing economy and its effects and for that reason it is vital to base our work on facts. Facts are a prerequisite for us to continue our work on creating good framework conditions for the development of the sharing economy in the city.”