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Guests asking different hosts in parallel

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WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Guests asking different hosts in parallel

The number of Warmshowers hosts is growing in Germany. This is nice - but also seems to cause a new kind of problem:

In my (small) town there are now about 5 hosts and a lot guests now seem to ask at least 3 possible hosts in parallel (without telling first). It usually takes me half a day - after getting the request via WS - making shure we can host the guest and to prepare a detailed answer, what we can offer, how to met, where to reach in the meantime... Then: no response. On the day the guest initially announced to come I wrote a message asking urgently for a short note (online or by phone) when they will arrive. Then in the afternoon or late in the night or on the next day I get a reply, and they explain they had asked several hosts in parallel, the other host had answered quicker and they hadn't had the possibility to give notice.

What could solve this problem? I can understand the advantage of asking several hosts in parallel. But it should be self-evident to give notice to everyone right in the moment you have decided on one host. It is not fair to keep all possibilities open "just in case".

Maybe the guest should mention which hosts they ask (sometimes the hosts know each other) - so the hosts can decide between them which is best suited in the moment? Mybe there could be a technical solution?

Andreas

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
Sounds like the best way to

Sounds like the best way to go is that you prepare a standard yes response which is saved on your computer, ask the people you need to on your end (probably the wife!), then if they confirm, give the asker the standard response. But with the standard yes response, explain that you need confirmation X number of hours before they arrive, or the room is not available. Explain in your standard response that you need to set things up, so need a response at least X hours before they arrive.

If the guest doesn't reply, then they can't stay. If they show up on your doorstep, they can't stay.

Save the standard response on your computer in a text file and copy/paste when responding to a guest.

This way it seems minimal work for you, particularly if they don't stay and a fair solution for the potential guest. Best of both worlds?

Unregistered Imagen de anon_user
How we handle several requests in parallel

Hello Andreas

Nice name... We are in a similar situation: a small town with a few hosts. It is quite frequent that guests contact several hosts at once.

My approach is simple. I try to answer one question quickly: whether we are available that night or not. If we are available, and the guest replies back, only then will I start to worry about logistics.

I believe the other hosts in our little city do something similar, which means that guests can quickly find out what options they have for a place to stay.

Regards,
Andreas

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
How to handle parallel requests

Julie and I have only once had an issue with this. The guest confirmed that he was coming. We cooked a nice meal for the approximate time he said he was going to arrive. When he didn't show up I inquired if he was OK. The next day he said we were "plan B". This was the only time it happened. In the future I may note that on the profile.

Other than that situation, I've had nothing but a very positive experience with my guests. I've had a few people tell me up front that they had contacted other WS members and then let me know in a short time which WS member that they were going to stay with. I have no problem with that as I don't make logistical plans until a confirmation is stated by the guest.

WS Member Imagen de White nights
Cycling gives you different

Cycling gives you different psychology. It is not like taking plane and arriving somewhere.
Only a cyclist understands other cyclists. I didn't use this website when I was cycling in Scandinavia but friends I stayed didn't know this psychology. Some didn't ask if I have something to be washed. On the road you engineer your trip, you can face lots of problems, you are out of comfort and when you wanna make a nice stop, there are tons of things you have to do. So choosing host matters in this point. You are on the road, next day you can face unexpected problems. Also when you stop, if you can't do what you have to do, it effects some next day cycling days...
So hosts should understand their choices. Of course If a cyclist behaves reckless, careless about host, nothing to do. You can use some tricks to understand their behavior and expectations about what they are looking for.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Cycling doesn't make you courteous :(

I see the problem of the initial post ( I wish I could give a "Thumbs Up " or "Like" the post, as on FB etc ..) ..

Anyway, I have come to see that just being a cyclist, even a WS member, does not make you courteous, or even give you "common sense".

When I want to be Guest, I will send a standard message explaining
1.when I hope to arrive at the destination/city/town;
2.I will explain that I am very happy to put my tent in the garden, if there is one ;
3.I will say how long I want to stay ;
4.I will say where I am coming from and going to .........and
5.of course, including mention of ALL the Hosts who will get this message

Sometimes, too there will not be time for such a message ( eg in emergency) ...but that is for another forum topic....

WS Member Imagen de CarlosB
i think your 5th point is

i think your 5th point is very clever!.
when i am trying to get a host, i don't like to contact several people in paralell. To me it is short of been rude. So I prefer to ask one host , wait for his answer. then write another one, etc. The problem on that is that sometimes you don't get an answer, and your are waiting to contact another host.
Or then having to apologized not accepting an invitation cos you found another host since you were waiting for the answer

your approach solve this by writting a common letter all!

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
I think it is very normal to

I think it is very normal to send messages in parallel. The cyclist is giving a date and says willing to stay how long s/he wants to stay at that city. You can just look your calendar and give a brief answer if you can host him or not. The conditions and other details come in later messages (if you did not mention them in your profile). Sending messages in parallel speeds up host finding process. This is normal because in most of time they can have difficulty in finding WIFI. Additionally many hosts are not replying in one day or more. I know this from myself. I (as a host) answered a request after 2 days positively. In 2 days they could have found another host. I find this normal.

If you put some rules like "answer me in 12 hours or otherwise you cannot stay", I think this is contradicting with the idea of hospitality. Maybe you are really thinking that you need to prepare or clean your flat, make some meal, arrange some other things etc. Don't take things so serious. Maybe they only need a shower, stay one night and then go. I don't think that there are some cyclists complaining about your flat's tidyness or the quality of food that you served. Expectations of the guest should be low in any case. If you want to see some good examples of hospitality check this article: http://debruynjoubert.com/2014/08/07/welcome-to-my-country-iran/
If you read it you will see how people in Iran is requesting a cyclist to stay in their house (instead of his tent), and serve him their regular food. Those people are not using warmshowers, they even did not hear one word about that, but they are hospitable. Don't be so serious. Hospitality does not need to have any written rules. I write this just showing another perspective :) Of course you can define your rules :)

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Clear communication

As I wrote before: I can understand a guest who asks a few potential hosts in parallel. But why shouldn't it be possible to sent me a short note at the same time when the guest decides to choose a different host?

I presume even the friendly people in Iran won't like it to prepare for a guest which doesn't arrive and doesn't give notice...

I prefer to be asked less then 48 hours before planned arrival. So the guest is relative shure which day she/he will really arrive - and I will know without much effort if we have space/time for a guest. Discussing this face-to-face or via phone will be easier than via email. But my last potential guest (from the US) writes me he has mobile internet but no possibility to phone me... Strange things.

Andreas

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Guests asking different hosts in parallel

to me it's not a big deal, if they show up ok, if they don't (2 times out of 5) it's not a big deal, one apologised the other didn't, when I contacted her she apologised for not notifying me.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
My parallel request experience

Early this year I got a request from a young man for a stay 2 night outs. I immediately responded yes he could stay on that Thursday eve. But I never heard back, I did not change my plans for that eve, was going to around home anyway so figured if he showed up he showed up. I would figure out a meal when he got here.
Never heard a thing. Well two days later on SAturday morn I got the paper in and read the weekly column by a local writer. She is the only other Warmshower host in the area. She mentions her wonderful visit with the Warmshower rider that she hosted Thursday eve! Ah mystery solved. I was relieved that he was okay and safely on his way. ( I have an active imagination of what might have happened to derail a response) I was glad that the last lines of her column mentioned she was heading to her summer home on the Outer Banks NC, I thought " good she won't be 'stealing' my guests for a couple of months.
I did find it a bit annoying that the young man did not have a few minutes to drop a note to my positive answer to him, It might have been cultural since he was from out of the country.

Just something to keep in mind pedalers Warmshower host are doing you a great service and we care. Simple communication is the 21st century is not difficult.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
The potential guest should

The potential guest should certainly have communicated with you at some point afterwards thanking you for your offer and explaining he had taken the offer of another host, but apart from that hasn't the solution to all this already been pointed out by Andreas, Brent, Bugra etc?

To surmise:
1. Guest sends request with dates.
2. Host replies yes - asks guest for details of arrival time etc.
3. Guest responds confirming

It is only after point 3 that I assume I will have a guest (in fact they don't even get my address until after point 3). It is the fairest way of dealing with multiple requests for the same range of dates - I will certainly not hold the room for someone after point 1 or 2 and have other potential guests miss out if I receive no confirmation.

If guests don't show up after point 3 then it is a neutral reference with the possibility of becoming negative if there is no apology/explanation in the following weeks.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Negative , for "No Show"..??

I don't think I'd be able to give a negative for a "no show". Who knows why the Guest fails to show...?

OTOH, I have given Neutral for a Guest who has provided NO feedback to me, despite my email reminder. the same Guest has given ( and received) FB since his visit here - during which he demonstrated a hearty appetite, washed his grimy clothes, had guidance on his way, etc etc.

I am thinking now tho, that i should drop his rating from Neutral to Negative, solely b/c of this lack of feedback. Essentially, if I am not worth FB, I should NOT be a WS Host. So WS relies fundamentally on FB from Guests, and maybe a little less so from Hosts.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
I guess we will all have

I guess we will all have different takes. Not giving a reference wouldn't even merit a neutral reference to me. I have references and I obviously don't think that I'm a problematic host so while I might find it a little absent minded or inconsiderate, the lack of a reference really has no value above some personal gratification. I would just remove my own reference for the guest concerned (unless it was already a negative reference in which case I would leave it for the benefit of the community).

Confirming a stay and then not showing without any communication when I have spent time and money preparing for that stay? Well I guess death would be a good excuse otherwise it would be neutral and that neutral would become a negative after a month or two with no apology or explanation. It has never happened to me on WS but I have had to do it on Couchsurfing and would have no qualms about doing it again.

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
We had one pair that didn't

We had one pair that didn't come, but they gave notice.
Our "problem" for many seems to be that we are not in the central part of Stockholm, we live about 16km north, which really is no problem, there are bike lanes all the way and the metro line is a 5 minute walk from our apartment and takes 15 min to the center.
But what I always try to do is quickly (as quick as I can when I need to check our own schedule with the wife) if we can host and then ask for a reply back to confirm it, after that I start making plans. (this has to do with food and other necessities)

This has worked out fairly nice so far :)

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Sometimes you need to...

Hi
I just thought I would put my two cents in on this. I have been cycling for two months using a combination of camping, youth hostels and warm showers. When I find a place where I look for a ws host (eg no open camp sites, no youth hostels), I often contact a couple of hosts in the area I would like to stay. This is simply because often, people don't respond, or people respond and are unable to host (which I totally understand). But if I were to leave it until I got a response (negative or nothing), it might leave it too late to contact other hosts, depending on how much notice they want.
I've only ever had amazing experiences with ws. The few times when more than one host has gotten back to me with a positive response, I reply to the first one, and then let the other host know that I am thankful for the offer but have found another host for the night.
Cheers
Helen

WS Member Imagen de WS Member
Hi Andreas,I think it is

Hi Andreas,

I think it is okay to ask a few hosts in parallel. If you ask, wait for a reply, then ask the next etc. it takes too much time.

Of course it is a matter of politeness to keep all hosts informed. As soon as I get a positive reply, I write the other hosts that I already found one host.

Unfortunately not everyone is organised well. So I may suggest that you ask the guest to confirm the request.

Cheers
Andreas

BTW: To my experience it is difficult to find hosts in Germany. MUCH easier in the UK and France.