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Becoming a new host in a very active area

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WS Member Imagen de threepin
Becoming a new host in a very active area

Howdy,

I joined over a year ago in order to help a stranded cycle tourist that my wife had picked up during a storm, separated from his companion that had made the warmshowers plans.

We do tour but have never used warmshowers for ourselves. We have hosted cycists we have met and have quite enjoyed it.

My quandry is that we live in a very active touring region with a short season (whitefish montana usa) where 3 aca routes converge. We would like to start hosting but i am looking for hints as to manage the process so as to both keep the hosting to an enjoyable level and to be fair to cyclists. I travel extensively for work and with a variable schedule and my wife would be more comfortable at first if i were around. I have read the faq's and many forum posts so i believe i understand the importance of setting expectations and giving information (including an image) in my profile. 

Do requests usually come shortly before the time hosting is desired? this would make toggling availablility more useful

Sometimes plans change- what is the proper way of handling unexpected changes in availablilty if a psace has been offered?

I have heard from our local bike shops that many of the people they see coming through seem to have an entitled attitude and the forums seem to reinforce that, anyone wish to gve a newbie addl hints as to how to handle or manage this (mostly profile?)?

What might i expect in terms of inquiry volume? 

 

I am thinking i should contact a few of the existing local hosts and see their experiences. I was hoping also for some wider feedback.

 

Many Thanks,

 

Bill

 

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Staying flexible as a host

Bill, I have been hosting for over 10 years now.   And I share your challenges of living on a popular touring route (Pacific Coast bike route)  and traveling a lot.   Here is what I have been doing:

  • I set realistic limits to the number of riders I can host in a month.   (Right now, more than three a month is too much.)
  • I try to keep my availability calendar as up to date a possible.   (It would help if the calendar could store multiple dates for availability.  May be that should be a feature request.)
  • I ask that people contact me at least 24 hours in advance.  

While turning down a visitor is painful, no one has responded with anger.   I also try to suggest local public camping options for them.

I hope that helps.

Paul

 

 

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Hosting is great.

Contact Whitefish hosts Chuck Stearns & Rita Braun through Warmshowers.  They hosted me this year and are wonderful folks.  They will have the info you need to get going.  ...By the way, I've never met a rider who was anything but greatful for some shelter and socialization.  Maybe some of the young and dumb might be a little shy on manners, but not normally.  Bicyclists are a cut above.  Just remember, it is your home and you make the rules.  Somebody makes you uneasy, bye bye.  ...Have fun with Warmshowers.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
While we are not in a super

While we are not in a super busy area (Route 66), we do host about 3-4 times per year. We also travel quite a bit and sometimes on very little notice. I specifically state they must provide at least 2 days notice. This is because 1) I don't always see the request the same day, 2) I want time to consider the request (look at their profile, check out schedule, etc.), 3) we frequently have last minute travel for work so need to verify nothing coming up, 4) I may have already purchased that night's groceries so don't want to scramble in order to accommodate, and 5) the wife wants to ensure the house is really tidy.

Since this is a FREE service, frequently with a nice dinner, breakfast, laundry, and WiFi, we feel we are under no obligation to ensure we make ourselves available to suit their timing. If we can help, sure we are more than willing to help. If we can't, or just want a break from hosting, I just make myself unavailable on the website until we are willing and able to. My biggest concern is that someone requests us to host a week out and then some work travel pops up afterwards so I would have to beg off. That did happen once but I got them a free hotel room using my hotel points (a bazillion) as I felt bad after saying I would host them.

Feel free to host only as much or as little as you want. If that is only for 2 times per year, great! If you want and are able to do it 50 times, great! It is your choice, no one else's. Do what makes you comfortable or you may burn yourself out.

Best (and thanks for hosting!), John

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Network!

I live on the busy Pacific Coast route and in a large city.  This route is busy year-round!  

We have made it a point to not host when were busy.  We have also made friends with hosts from Santa Barbara to Ensenada, as well as other local to our area.  This really helps take some of the "burden" off of absorbing all the cyclists that come through.  We have also made some good friends this way!

 

Ken Francis

Long Beach, CA, USA

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
re: Becoming a new host in a very active area

Hello Bill, 

Thank you for joining WarmShowers, & for asking your question!  

I second most of what everyone else has written -- be -very straightforward- in what your expectations are.  Like a previous writer I request a minimum of 48 hrs notice ahead of their visit.  (I'm a single guy, I don't offer much in the way of food.  The name of this site is "Warm Showers", after all.)  Know what YOUR BOUNDARYS are.  Communicate them in a civil manner.  

Talking with your fellow Montanan's is a great idea!  

All that said I've never had a negative experience being a host (or a guest ;-).  And I've always appreciated more info/expectations in a host's listing.  After all you are as much a stranger to me as I am to you.  

wishing you tailwinds on your next tour,  Gerhardt (in gov't housing in Namibia, so not available to host :-(  ) 

 

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Eureka hosts here, same short

Eureka hosts here, same short season, same busy routes. We have set some of the same requests as others above and are not shy about just saying, sorry, that night won't work. I specifically say in my profile that people are welcome to contact me last minute BUT that I'm much more likely to be able to host with a day or two of notice. I haven't had many super far in advance requests, maybe only one or two a season that request more than a week out - if you know your schedule could change, you could not accept those requests or just tell them it's a provisional and to contact you again two days out or something. I've found most requests seem about equally split between last minute and a couple days in advance. If I can't host I do point people to nearby camping and other facilities if I can't help. As far as attitude or entitlement, I've had almost universally positive experiences - only one where it was a little strange, but not quite escalated to downright rude. I'm clear about what I'm offering, up front in my profile, in my response message, and when people arrive - ie, I give them my (guest) wifi password when they come in, I'll either invite them to dinner or specifically tell them they're on their own, so hopefully no one has to ask or hint. 

I'm not sure about Whitefish volume; I know you have more hosts than we do - for awhile we were the only ones in town. I think we got about 40 requests this summer and probably hosted half.
Good luck and hope you get to enjoy some more hosting!

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Becoming a new host

Hi Bill,

We've been hosting for several years and can't say enough good things about doing it.  You get strokes for being genuinely nice and helpful and you learn about other places.  It's a positive karma thing. We've stayed with WS hosts in Europe and Japan and found that being a guest was almost as good as being a host.  We're retired so we can feed people, give them a bed, a shower, and do their laundry.  You can always limit yourself, but we find breaking bread is the best way to get to know people.  Plus we've seen some really cool bikes and been amazed at the mileage on some very not so cool ones (Goodwill purchases).

Make sure your setting for "Available"  "Not Available" is correct.  We turn ours on and off like a light switch when we are unable to host.  Getting that correct saves a hassle of saying no by email/text.

We just take in pretty much anyone who calls unless we have a personal or WS conflict.  We used to be off the main Pacific route through Big Sur, but now with Hiway 1 closed (and it will be till next summer for going all the way) we're on Hiway 101 and everyone is coming through Paso Robles to get back to Hiway 1 at Cambria.

Our advice:  do what you feel like, as you won't regret it.  As the Yippies said in the 60s, If it feels good, Do it!!

Mike and Karen

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
New Host

Hey Bill,

I've been hosting for some time and I live in San Francisco now. SF is at the begining (or end) of a major ACA route as well as a stop over for a lot of west coast traffic. The profile I have up may seem a bit harsh to some but it seems to do the job of "filtering" pretty well. One of the things I ask potential guests to do is tell me something ""interesting, or unusual" about themselves. I leave this request at the very bottom of my profile page for a reason, anyone that doesn't make it that far down my lengthly profile has likely gotten no further than the city I live in and my availibility. They haven't read anything more about me or what my expectations and boundaries are. They get very low/no priority. You may not feel he need to be quite as extreme as I have, but setting out expectations and boundries on your profile page is a good first step towards having good experiences with WarmShowers guests.