I wonder whether it would be possible to add a field in the member profile page that distinguishes people cycling together as a couple or two individuals?
Over the years I have assumed men and women traveling together to be couples and just put them in a room together, even though we have more than one spare room. Conversely I have put men travelling together in separate rooms, assuming them not to be a couple. This is stereotyping on my part. I had a male guest recently who had travelled quite a distance with a woman who was not his partner which made me realise that I had been making presumptions that may not be true.
So a field that says that you are part of a couple may be useful to put in a profile. It would mean I could have the appropriate space available before people arrive.
I am thinking that it should be covered in the conversation between guests and hosts... either in the initial request, or through the in person introductions.
if it is not obvious after a bit, then simply ask, but not all cultures, even in America, are comfortable speaking openly of such things, so it could be deemed offensive, put guests on the defensive, or set guests up to feel prone to untruthfulness.
Hosts have the right to be selective about who stays in their home with them, but it could lead to denial of same sex couples or unmarried couples in need of shelter due to religious and "values" convictions or negative stereotyping by the Host.
If two people can share a tent, a campsite, or the adventure, then they can also figure out how to sleep in a bed, on the floor, together or separated as they deem appropriate... any sheltered accommodation with amenities and social interaction would be appreciated as a break from camping, so I doubt that the layout would be considered an imposition.
I think it is a non issue that will just add complications to the system and site.
If there's going to be any problem then the onus is on the guest to communicate this to the host beforehand - but as you said it seems very unlikely given the nature of cycle touring. It's like asking to have a special field for allergies (food, pets...) again it is the guest's responsibility to read the host's profile then clarify any issues in subsequent communications.
It's good to see so many members putting a value on the continued simplicity of the site.
I think it´s completely unnecessary, and even disrecommended, for a variety of reasons.
You´re having this "problem" when a man an a woman are traveling together, which makes me wonder if two male or female "friends" are traveling together, are you going to ask if they´re a gay couple as well? You can even have a man and a woman who are traveling together and they themselves may be "exploring" the possibility of becoming a couple, so your "sensitivity" is actually going to make them extremely uncomfortable by answering that question in one way or another.
Unnecesary, because if I were to arrive to your house with a female friend, we´re going to be talking to you face to face, so there may be plenty of time for the issue to pop up in a natural way (Chances are you can even tell by seeing how those two persons interact with each other).
Moreover, I don´t care where you intend to "put us": if you only have one room and we´re not a couple, I´ll tell you we´re not myself, and ask you if you have a second room; and if you don´t, I´ll ask you if I can just sleep on the couch.
And even if you cannot offer me any of those two options, ultimately it´s up to me and my partner to decide what to do when we´re in that room together: we might as well have enough trust with each other to sleep in the same bed, even if we´re not a couple (I´ve done in the past with female friends, and no babies popped out later). And even if we don´t have that kind of trust, I can just get my camping mattress and sleep on the floor like every other day I camp outside, but with the advantages of having a roof and a warm place to stay.
In any event, I appreciate your sensitivity and desire to "help", but I think you´re finding a problem where there isn´t one, since as I´ve just explained, you have both plenty of options to find out what you´re looking for in a less intrusive, more natural way, or you just might as well think that those people are grown ups and know what is best for them, without you asking their marital status.
You (WS) could also encourage users to introduce themselves properly.
"We're a couple..." and "I'll be traveling with my friend..." pretty much cover it all.
We also love to try and meet new travellers who are coming to India Kolkata
Rahul and Ria