A new approach to an old problem.

By Steve Moran

Okay this may be a crazy idea, but . . . it may actually be brilliant and I have already recommended it to one senior living provider.

The Sharing Economy

I came across this article at the Washington Post about how seniors are embracing the new sharing economy. Seniors are embracing services like Uber, Airbnb, and Taskrabbit to get things done, to save money and even to make money (renting extra rooms through Airbnb).   

It is possible to see these services as competition to senior living because it makes it easier for seniors to stay in their own homes longer. Tom Grape, the CEO of Benchmark Senior Living, is referenced in the article seeing these new technology-based services as being both a threat and an opportunity.  

Here is my idea . . . 


I find myself thinking senior living communities that have excess capacity could easily list some of that capacity on Airbnb. For those who don’t know, Airbnb is a web-based service that allows people to rent out their home or just a room in their home, as an alternative to hotels. It takes a bigger sense of adventure to use it, but can provide a more interesting travel experience and save some serious dollars. It is popular and growing.

Here is why it might be a good idea:

  • The first is pretty simple. It could represent additional revenue for those empty units since every unit that is empty represents real potential income that is just lost for ever.

  • While most people who use Airbnb are tourists, they are often visiting friends, which means more exposure to your community.

  • If you include or sell meals, it will mean adding a dynamic mix of new people to interact with your residents and staff. Think of it in terms of having volunteers that pay you to come interact with your residents.

  • It is an opportunity to sell some additional meals, which means additional revenue.

  • It could be a great story to get PR in your local press.

Are there downsides? Sure, maybe no one will take you up on it. It requires housekeeping, it also may not be a signficant add to your revenue stream, but it can’t hurt.

What do you think?