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Closing Account because everyone wants hosting, but no one wants to host!

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Closing Account because everyone wants hosting, but no one wants to host!

My wife and I just completed a 2 week 500+ mile tour from our home in WV to VA to MD through DE, a ferry into NJ, up the coast into PA and back to WV. Every single day, we requested (politely) hosting from a Warm Showers member. In 15 days, not one request was fulfilled. We tried early notice (days in advance) and late notice (1/2 day in advance). We have hosted about 7 cyclists on our short time as members and still receive requests. We are thoroughly frustrated and disappointed. We have graciously welcomed cyclists into our home, fed them, provided cocktails, snacks, and an elegant guest room. We received.....nothing.

We will be removing our membership. Great idea in theory...not so great in practice. M.R.

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Michael and Michele I hope

Michael and Michele I hope you reconsider.
We have gained so much from hosting over 40 touring cyclists in 3 years from 13 nations and have enjoyed every one of them. When Trish and I toured along the Rhine from Switzerland, Germany France and Holland we had similar problems finding hosts. What I hadn't counted on was that it was holiday time in July in Europe.

Many WS hosts were simply not home, did not answer as that would indicate that they were not home or had visitors - family etc and it did not suit. Maybe they are at work, maybe their internet was down, maybe they don't check their email often...there are lots of reasons.

Long notice of approximate date of arrival is good for us so we can look at the guests blog or Facebook and photos which then takes away all those common questions guests get tired of answering. Longer notice give us time to think about the guest travels so we can explore, share and discuss specific interesting places travelled.

I had a look at your profile. What struck me straight away was how many rules you have. Yet you say you are non-judgemental. Perhaps potential hosts shied away from having a blind person in their home as they may have felt their home was not suitable?

We enjoy having guests for two nights to get to know them and have our guest cook the second night to improve the cultural experience from the Taiwanese, Dutch, American, German, English, Spanish, Hong Kong, South Korean, Italian, New Zealand, Brazilian, Canadian and 6 Frenchmen one of who was wheelchair bound being towed around the world raising awareness for MS, We have had 4 parties stay more than 2 nights, mainly because of storms.

I feel we have had the most to offer young guests - giving tips on nutrition, hydration, route, wildlife, bike fit and bike maintenance has been gratefully received by the adventurous under 35's. I am sure they too, will get to give when they get older!

We have friends now from around the world some of whom we keep in contact with receiving post cards, reading their blogs and bantering on facebook. Two of the couples we stayed with on our tour had previously been hosted by us gave us a wonderful experience of local culture second to none in my view.

We have regularly updated our profile as we learn more about how to best share an evening or two with touring cyclists.We hope you reconsider and get as much joy out of hosting as we have and get to enjoy being hosted.

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
Thanks for your responses, but.....

Our profile, now "full of rules" was originally open and welcoming. We described our lovely home, our 20' swimming pool, our jacuzzi, and our "open" full professional bar. We were inundated with requests. No problem. We were very happy! My wife prepared a full Persian meal,of basmati rice w/saffron. We prepared premium drinks before and after dinner. The very elegant guest room included a large basket filled with high quality snacks (generic fig bars, etc), a pitcher of water with glasses, and a small carafe of homemade Amaretto. My wife even put in a fresh bouquet of flowers.

In the morning, we found our first guest with a large plate (serving bowl, really) of the leftover basmati rice with 1/2 stick of butter melted on it, organic loose tea that she must have rummaged in the pantry for (it was not one of the boxes left on the island), and the entire bottle of OJ from the fridge (straight from the bottle!). After this buffet breakfast, we emptied a giant box of Cliff bars and snacks into her panniers. She also took a full, family size jar of peanut butter with her. We weren't aware of this until later. I hadn't realized what checking "kitchen privileges" meant. She left us a Luke warm review.

After this, we checked the forums to see what was going on. Well, we had an earful! We realized we MUST edit our profile and make it more restrictive. That is why you see what you see. The requests died down somewhat, which, really, was what we wanted. It was becoming too much! Younger riders felt entitled (and didn't leave feedback, so we didn't either!). Riders wanted to use our home as a central location for daily bike tours, always ending up each day at our home, of course). All of this, tho, was OK...until not ONE WS member would host us during 15 days of touring! I was deathly I'll coming into Ocean City area. My wife checked WS. Wow! There was a member only a few miles away. She clicked on his profile- # guests- 1. bed- "no." Food- "no." Shower- "no." Lawn space- "no." Yet he was listed as "Active." She literally started crying right there on the street!

No. Sorry. We are over it! Done. Fin.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Hosting vs. Being Hosted

I have had nothing but good experiences both as a host and a guest. I have found that bicyclists tend to be great people. Our guests have been so grateful for the hospitiality that we have offered them. I have occasionally turned people down, but only because their visit was not convenient for out schedule. Love being a part of Warm Showers. Dave Pauli.

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please stay with us

hello!
we are warm showers hosts in fairbanks, alaska.
please stay with us anytime, for as long as you like.
regards,
janet

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Hosting

Im sorry you have found it such a challenge to find a host. We host Warmshowers travelers and have not had a bad experience (I cannot say the same about our Couchsurfing g guests). I have also been hosted by many awesome hosts. This being said, I have experienced areas where I have requested to be hosted and I hear....nothing. I now look at how much time has elapsed since a member had been on-line. If they have not been on line during the past three months or longer, I can bet that they are no longer active. Look for a member that is alive and part of the community. Also, search out members that may have shared interests.

I have read other similar posts and it seems the reality is that potential hosts in very popular areas get inundated with requests and therefore have a tendency to quit responding.

Warmshowers (the organization) would do well to address the issue of non-responding hosts. Just because you felt you wanted to be part of the organization at one time does not mean that you have to be kept as a member. I suppose that the organization likes to point out that they are x-members strong, but personally, I would rather have an organization 1/10th the size but with members that are alive and active.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Hosting

Do you enjoy hosting cyclists? You seem too, and your guest were highly complementary. If so, don't cut off your nose.......

Yeah, unresponsive host are a major problem on WS. They're slowly trying to delist those types. Checking out a potential host's profile, ie last log in, responsiveness, will weed out the unlikelies. I'm proactive, warning a host that if I get no email response within a day or two, I'll be calling. My profile tells potential guest to do the same to me.

I hope you marked all those irresponsible people as unresponsive. I have no patience with that. It's just plain rude. I mean, "it's inconvenient" or "we've got the flu" is infinitely better than nothing.

BTW, we would have gladly hosted ya'll. We have 3 small house dogs, so you'd have felt right at home.

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
Regards

Hi Michael & Michele,

of course it's YOUR own decision to stay or to leave. Some people before me told something about their experiences. I would miss You.

Regards Sebastian

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
We've hosted more than 30

We've hosted more than 30 people for over 100 nights through WS and have never asked to be hosted (and its unlikely we ever will) and with the exception of a few boludos we have thoroughly enjoyed it. That's why I find your comment 'we received.... nothing' a little mystifying. If you enjoy hosting why stop?

I'm unaware of how and under what circumstances you requested accommodation so please disregard all of this if you already know it but these are a few useful strategies to employ when looking for a host:
1) Build a picture of your potential host by paying attention to their response rate, last login, feedback (including the amount as guests compared to the amount as hosts), and duration of time as a member on WS. Don't waste your time with people who look like they never host or respond.
2) If you are going to make a request mention something from the profile of your prospective host, try to avoid vague, generic requests. As a host who has received literally thousands of requests across several hospex sites I can tell you from experience that this alone would put you ahead of at least 80% of the requests I receive.
3) Make multiple requests - this is standard practice in hospex. If you receive other positive replies after accepting an offer get back to the other hosts, thank them and let them know that you have accommodation arranged.
4) Always have a plan B. If you find a site that guarantees hospitality to people who have hosted let us know about it, but the truth is it doesn't exist. All hospex communities struggle with this problem to varying degrees, and it is a problem that tends to be augmented by membership growth. WS has experienced huge growth in the last few years but being a site restricted to touring cyclists it is still a relatively small hospex community. There are, however, several problems specific to the mechanics of the site that are contributing towards poor response rates, these have been discussed numerous times and I'm hopeful they will be addressed in the not too distant future.

PS. If you do eventually decide to stay on the site please take the time to give feedback to your other guests (see point 1 above).

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
My hosting...

Over about 11 years, I have hosted many people. They last three years close to 100 cyclists. I have only been hosted once because I do not travel much. I love hosting and frequently have guests stay extended periods of time because I love cycling, stories, people, culture, and languages. It is like finding family in some cases. I had a Skype call this morning from someone that has stayed with us on both his Alaska to Argentina treks. He stayed with us and helped us with my husbands campaign and fixed everyones bikes. Others, I keep in contact with through Facebook or email. Everyone's reasons for hosting are different, but I have never had a bad experience. I tell people what I am able to accommodate at the time and if I can do more, I do. I have had up to 6 cyclists at a time, including over Thanksgiving. I am sorry that you did not get hosted. Some people may be on vacation. At the very least, they should be answering you. Check your profile and see if there is anything that you can enhance. If you tour out west, you will be welcome with us (though, I am taking a break right now because I have some health issues going on). I should be up and running in August again.

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
too many requests

I have some sympathy with the person who has decided to close their account. We have been somewhat inundated with requests and as a busy family it is simply impossible to host so many tourers without affecting our family life. the guests that we have has have been very nice, but I do fear that as the site gets more popular this may not be the case. I have had to make us unavailable, which is a great shame. I wonder if there is a way that the website can allow yout to set a maximum number of host nights that you will provide per month and once you have reached your limit the website makes you unavailable?

I hate refusing to assist but it is just too much.

We have not tried to fins accomodation yet, only offered accomodation and an evening meal

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Just say no.

What is your definition of inundated with requests?

There is nothing wrong with refusing requests, you are not obligated to take in every cyclist, nor are you obligated to give a reason for your refusal. If it's too much for you and your family at that moment, a polite response is all that is asked of you, again why stop hosting altogether if it's something you enjoy?

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Each individual/family/couple

Each individual/family/couple on this site has their own threshold and their own lives to lead. There is absolutely nothing wrong with just politely saying "sorry we can't host you right now.

We often decline requests for a variety of reasons. As much as this is a great site for reciprocal hospitality, it should never stress your personal lives, wherever your threshold lies.

...Michelle

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
many thanks, that is very

many thanks, that is very reassuring, we have loved the hosting so far, i just hate declining so many! we will continue and very much also hope to take the benfit of being hosted as some point too

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Maybe keep your profile

Maybe keep your profile active for hosting but add a line that lets people know that you have a busy family and can't always accept requests. Telling them that you reply to your messages regularly and suggesting camping options in the area when you aren't able to host would probably help them to realize that you aren't the only place to stay.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
If it reassures you any more

If it reassures you any more we used to routinely knock back 3-4 requests per day before Couchsurfing went from a hospex site to some sort of hook up annex of Facebook and there were undoubtedly members who received many more requests than we did. Go with what you are comfortable with, cycle tourers aren't charity cases who will perish at the first whiff of being deprived of free accommodation (although reading some of the spectacular dummy spits on these forums from members who were unable to find a host I can understand how some here might get that impression).

Thanks for hosting and don't forget to change your setting to available when you are ready to receive more guests.