Hospitality network

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Hospitality networks (sometimes also called host services ) are (often international) networks of private individuals who agree to accept travelers free of charge for a limited period of time.


The first hospitality network, Servas Open Doors , was founded in 1949 by Bob Luitweiler as a transnational, non-commercial, volunteer-run organization. She works for peace between peoples. The beginnings of the second oldest service are in the Traveler's Directory , which was established in 1965 by John Wilcock. It originally only listed his own friends who were willing to accept each other while traveling. In 1988 the Hospitality Exchange network was created . The first internet-based service was Hospex , which had operated from Poland since 1992 .

Since the 1990s, the hospitality network trend has shifted away from printed host lists to databases on the Internet that users can use to contact one another. These websites have grown enormously since 2000. Examples are CouchSurfing , Hospitality Club (direct successor to Hospex ) and Warm Showers . The individual services vary in their organization, in the functions that are available to the users, to a lesser extent in the terms of use and the typical target group.


Hospitality networks make travel more affordable and enable more direct contact with the people of the country and their way of life. The hosts are registered in host lists that are accessible in digital or printed form. The traveler looks for his place to stay independently by contacting possible hosts using the list.

The stay with a host is typically only a few days. In principle, in contrast to a hotel stay, there is neither a fee nor an entitlement to benefits beyond the overnight stay. Joint meals, the use of the kitchen, telephone or internet as well as participation in the costs are agreed individually. Many host lists also have people who are willing to show tourists around the city.

Staying in private households means a huge saving for travelers on the money they would normally spend on overnight stays in a hotel , hostel or youth hostel . Seen over a longer period of time (around two to four weeks), this strategy can cut the travel budget by half. This not only makes a trip financially possible in the first place, it also makes longer stays in the country affordable, which is often equated with a much more authentic experience of the country.

Examples of popular hospitality networks

  • ADFC roof donor (only in Germany, requirements: traveling by bike, purchase of the host list)
  • BeWelcome (requirement: free registration on the internet platform)
  • CouchSurfing (requirement: chargeable registration on the internet platform)
  • Hospitality Club (requirement: free registration on the internet platform)
  • Servas International (requirements: information meeting with an interviewer, loan of the host list)
  • Pasporta Servo (requirements: basic knowledge of Esperanto , purchase of the host list)
  • Warm Showers (requirement: traveling as a cyclist , registration for a one-off $ 35 on the internet platform)
  • WWOOF ("Worldwide opportunities on organic farms", food & lodging for work on the farm; requirement: purchase of the host list)
  • Trustroots (free registration on the internet platform)

See also

Web links

Wikivoyage: Host Services  - Travel Guide
  • Hospitality Guide , platform for information for newcomers and for exchanging information between those who are active in hosting

Individual evidence

  1. Couchsurfing: Couchsurfing needs your help. In: Couchsurfing Blog. May 15, 2020, accessed May 16, 2020 (American English).