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 travelers, who offer or seek accommodation in a home either with or 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.[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. This became Pasporta Servo in 1974.

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 2008, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founded Airbnb after a popular conference made it hard to find accommodation. Hosts receive monetary compensation from guests, paid in advance.

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

In Scouting, 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.[2]

Notable hospitality networks[edit]

  • Airbnb - A for-profit network with over 100 million users. Hosts receive monetary compensation from their guests.
  • BeWelcome – A network based on open-source principles with more than 93,000 members[3] in 200 countries. The project is organised as a registered non-profit organisation with democratic structures.
  • CouchSurfing – A for-profit network with over 10 million members in more than 200 countries. Guests stay without monetary exchange.
  • Friendship Force International – A network of chapters worldwide, including 16,00 members, which concentrate on building understanding across cultures.
  • Hospitality Club – A network with over 328,000 members in more than 200 countries.
  • Mennonite Your Way – A network 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 – For Esperanto speakers.
  • Servas Open Doors – Human rights and global peace oriented since 1949. A relatively small network with over 16,000 members with a long history
  • - A service focused on vacation rentals.
  • Workaway - Aimed at budget travelers 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. 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]