Hospitality service

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The concept of hospitality exchange, also known as "accommodation sharing", "hospitality services" (short "hospex"), and "home stay networks", "home hospitality" ("hoho"), refers to centrally organized social networks of individuals, generally travelers, who offer or seek accommodation without monetary exchange. These services generally connect users via the internet.


In 1949 Bob Luitweiler founded the first hospitality service called Servas Open Doors as a cross-national, nonprofit, volunteer-run organization advocating interracial and international peace. In 1965 John Wilcock set up the Traveler's Directory as a listing of his friends willing to host each other when traveling. In 1988, Joy Lily rescued the organization from imminent shutdown, forming Hospitality Exchange. In 1977 U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the formation of Friendship Force International, which has chapters in 57 countries today. In 2000 Veit Kuhne founded Hospitality Club, the first such Internet-based hospitality service. In 2004, Casey Fenton started CouchSurfing, which is now the largest hospitality exchange organization. In 2013 Mandy Rowe founded Broads Abroad Travel Network, which is the only online hospitality exchange network for women.


Generally, after registering, members have the option of providing very detailed information and pictures of themselves and of the sleeping accommodation being offered, if any. The more information provided by a member improves the chances that someone will find the member trustworthy enough to be their host or guest. Names and addresses may be verified by volunteers. Members looking for accommodation can search for hosts using several parameters such as age, location, sex, and activity level. Home stays are entirely consensual between the host and guest, and the duration, nature, and terms of the guest's stay are generally worked out in advance to the convenience of both parties. No monetary exchange takes place except under certain circumstances (e.g., the guest may compensate the host for food). After using the service, members can leave a noticeable reference about their host or guest.

Instead of or in addition to accommodation, members also offer to provide guide services or travel-related advice. The websites of the networks also provide editable travel guides and forums where members may seek travel partners or advice. Many such organizations are also focused on "social networking" and members organize activities such as camping trips, bar crawls, meetings, and sporting events.

Some networks cater to specific niche markets such as students, activists, religious pilgrims, and even occupational groups like police officers.

Home hospitality in the Scout Movement[edit]

In the Scout Movement, home hospitality ("hoho") refers to Scouts living for a few days with a host family to experience everyday life in that community. This often takes place before or after a jamboree and is usually organized by the organization running the jamboree.[1]

Notable hospitality networks[edit]

  • BeWelcome – A network based on open-source principles with more than 70,000 members in 200 countries. The project is organised as a registered non-profit organisation with democratic structures.
  • CouchSurfing – A for-profit network with 10 million members in more than 200 countries
  • Friendship Force International – A network of chapters worldwide which concentrates on building understanding across cultures.
  • Hospitality Club – A network with over 670,000 members in more than 200 countries
  • Pasporta Servo – For Esperanto speakers
  • Servas International – Human rights and global peace oriented since 1949. A relatively small network with over 16,000 members with a long history
  • Workaway - Aimed at budget travellers and language learners looking to become more immersed in the country and culture they are journeying through while allowing local hosts worldwide to meet people who can provide the help they require in return for food and board.
  • WWOOF – "Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms", help on the property is exchanged for food, accommodation, education, and cultural interaction


External links[edit]