Hospitality service

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The concept of hospitality service, also known as "accommodation sharing", "hospitality exchange" (short "hospex"), "home stay networks", or "home hospitality network" ("hoho"), refers to centrally organized social networks of travelers, who offer or seek homestays (accommodation in a home) either with or without monetary exchange. These services generally connect users via the internet. Hospitality services are examples of collaborative consumption and sharing. In cases where money is not exchanged in return for accommodation, they are examples of a barter economy or gift economy.


In 1949, Bob Luitweiler founded Servas International, the first hospitality service, as a cross-national, nonprofit, volunteer-run organization advocating interracial and international peace.[1]

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 1966, a hospitality service for Esperanto speakers called Programo Pasporto was created. It became Pasporta Servo in 1974.

In 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced the formation of Friendship Force International, which today operates 300 programs every year, in 377 communities in 60 countries.[2]

In 2000, Veit Kuhne founded Hospitality Club, the first internet-only hospitality service.

In 2004, Casey Fenton founded CouchSurfing, the largest hospitality service in which accommodation is offered without monetary exchange.

In 2008, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founded Airbnb after a popular conference made it hard to find accommodation. Hosts receive monetary payment from guests, paid online in advance, and Airbnb receives a fee on each transaction.

In 2013, Mandy Rowe founded Broads Abroad Travel Network, which is the only online hospitality service exclusively for women.

Notable international hospitality networks[edit]

  • 9flats – A network offering home-stay accommodation primarily in Europe. Guests must pay in advance for their home-stay via credit card.
  • Airbnb – The largest network with the most members and home-stay options to offer, Airbnb has over 100 million users. Guests must pay in advance for their home-stay via credit card and Airbnb earns a fee on each transaction.
  • BeWelcome – A network based on open-source principles with approximately 100,000 members[3] in 200 countries. The network is organised as a registered non-profit organisation with democratic structures.
  • CouchSurfing – With over 14 million members in more than 200 countries, it is the largest hospitality service whereby guests stay without monetary exchange.
  • Friendship Force International – A network with 16,000 members that concentrates on building understanding across cultures.
  • Hospitality Club – One of the first internet-based hospitality exchanges.
  • Hippohelp – A free map-based platform connecting hosts with travellers willing to work in exchange for food and accommodation. Launched in May 2017.
  • Mennonite Your Way – A hospitality service with over 1,600 hosts, mostly Mennonites and Schwarzenau Brethren, in more than 69 countries. Guests are expected to contribute financially to the host.
  • Pasporta Servo – A hospitality service for Esperanto speakers, whereby lodging is provided without monetary exchange.
  • Servas International – With a history dating back to 1949, it is focused on human rights and global peace.
  • ThirdHome – a worldwide luxury second house sharing service of vacation homes.
  • – An online aggregator that pulls listings from several hospitality services.
  • Wimdu – A hospitality service focused renting homes for vacation purposes.
  • Workaway – A hospitality service aimed at budget travelers and language-learners whereby travelers provide help to their hosts in exchange for food and board. Approximately 25,000 hosts.
  • WWOOF ("Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms") – a network whereby help on the host's property is exchanged for food, accommodation, education, and cultural interaction.

See also[edit]