How do you buy or sell something so abstract as an “experience”? And what is it worth?

That’s not an idle question for companies in the sharing economy. The experience of staying in an Airbnb apartment–with all its quirks, blemishes and unique qualities–is the differentiator from the equivalent traditional hotel.

For most sharing economy companies, they aren’t selling a product. They’re providing a peer-to-peer marketplace for people to rent a product from another person or get a service from a person. Instead of buying something they get the access to that product or service. But how is this experience valued? And how does that compare to an equivalent service or product in a traditional company? How does an Airbnb home get valued and how does it compare to a hotel room?