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Suggestion to Reduce "No Shows"

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Suggestion to Reduce "No Shows"

With winter upon us in the northern Hemisphere, I am not riding as much so have more time to ponder the problems in life like how one of the biggest and perpetual and seemingly growing complaints with WS are No-Shows (from the Touring Cyclist) and/or No Responses (from Hosts).  As I was pondering these eternal questions, I was wondering how to solve them thus making the world a better place for everyone, or at least The Touring Cyclist Community.

Then during an epiphany (or maybe it was the slight buzz from the wine), I thought what does Uber do?  They allow anyone to request a ride from a pool of strangers and an individual in that pool or group of strangers can decide if he or she wants to drive that person around.  That led me to ponder if there was a way that when requesting to be hosted via WS, a small refundable charge could be applied to the Cyclist (requester) in case that person no-shows for whatever reason.  Say the charge is US$5 (or equivalent in the local currency if the system could handle that).  If the Host agrees to host through the WS system, the WS system somehow marks the request as "fulfilled" and a small charge is applied to the Cyclist's credit card, monies on file with WS, etc.  Ideally, the Cyclist would be able to make multiple requests at one time for the same night and then the system would automatically notify the other potential hosts who had not responded yet that they are not needed after all. The unfulfilled Request could automatically expire after 24-hours (or could be rescinded by the Cyclist at any time) so the Cyclist could then be free to try other options.

Should the Cyclist fail to show up on the “reserved” day for whatever reason without, say, at least a 12-hour notice they could not make it after all, the Host would indicate as such in the Cyclist's Feedback section via a "check box" and then the Cyclist would lose the deposit.  Any forfeited deposits would go solely to WS for website support, not the Host.

The Pros are it encourages Cyclists to actually show up as requested. It also may provide feedback quicker.  You could even require the Cyclist to provide Feedback also to receive the deposit back.  With the “multiple requests” option, it allows the Cyclist to not have to Request, wait, get denied and/or ignored then repeat again.

The Cons are obviously a change (probably expensive) to the WS system.  I have no idea as to the effort required for this since I have very little computer experience.  Also, the Host would have to be truthful and/or not lazy about the providing expedient feedback.  To prevent a lazy Host from not providing feedback, if no feedback is provided within 48-hours of the requested departure date, the deposit would be returned automatically.  Additionally, the Cyclist could lose the deposit if he or she was unable to arrive even with a totally valid reason such as being hit by a car and in hospital.  Maybe the system could provide a way for the Host to check “No Show but for valid reason” so the fee would not apply.  Another big Con is that the Cyclist may not get their preferred choice but say the 4th choice. But hey which is better, 4th Choice or play the “Request, Wait, Repeat” game.

To encourage better Host responses to the initial inquiry, it might be helpful to more frequently (at least quarterly) send reminder "are you still available, if not, click here to remove yourself" emails.  Also, maybe don't allow people to request to be hosted if their response is less than, say, 65%.  To prevent new members or those members who receive very few requests from being penalized due to no or little feedback, the blocking would not begin until they have had at least 5 requests.

I have been on the receiving end of both sides of these issues and of course there is not perfect answer.  It really sucks to send out 7 requests 3 days in advance for the same city/night and get no responses and then wonder if you should retry, hope someone eventually replies positively, assume no one is available, or what.  Conversely, it sucks to make plans for someone to stay and they not only do not show up, they do not even say why, just no-show.

Other thoughts are after a request is “matched”, both the Cyclist’s and the Host’s location would appear on the WS website and/or phone app.

I am just trying to encourage better “behavior” and/or expectations on both sides regardless of human actions.  Uber system’s works fairly well and thought maybe some of the features could be copied.  I would guess a lot of “perfecting” the no show and/or no response issues system would require a lot of programming but that may be way too expensive for a volunteer organization.

Anyway, these are some suggestions on how to make WS even better.  If you disagree, disagree on reason, not opinion or just because you think this is a stupid idea.  Say why it is a stupid idea.  If you have other thoughts to improve the system, feel free to offer them.

Wishing you a wonder 2018 full of great Hosts and Guests!

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If such a system were

If such a system were instituted, I would stop hosting on WS. For one, WS involves no money whatsoever and I would prefer it stay that way. A refundable fee is still a fee.

Secondly, I feel that penalizing no-shows would encourage an unhealthy approach to hosting. Far better to tell hosts (as their fellow, more experienced hosts here often do on the forums), that one should not make plans involving a guest – especially if he hasn’t confirmed that he will even be staying with you. Rather, to avoid burnout and keep hosting sustainable, guests should simply be expected to adapt to the host’s preexisting plans.

Thirdly, if the fee is refunded for no-showing for a "valid reason", then cyclists will suffer from disagreements among hosts as to what constitutes a valid reason. Because this is a network expressly to support cyclists (and in turn be supported when we are on the road), I believe that there are many common and completely reasonable reasons for a guest to sleep elsewhere: he got an invitation from a local village family (a window into the local culture that I would not wish to deny him), or he was feeling stronger than expected at the end of the day and decided to do another couple of dozen kilometers, or the cyclist heard at the last minute from another WS member that a host was cantankerous and unpleasant and it would be better to avoid staying with that host. Unfortunately, as we have seen on the forums, many hosts refuse to sympathize with cyclists in these cases and instead demand that the person show up and entertain them. I would consider the no-shows a "valid reason" while at the same time other hosts wouldn’t, and why should cyclists have to suffer such arbitrariness?

Finally, the occurrence of "no-shows" that are often only misunderstandings on the part of the host, would be reduced if cyclists didn't have to send out multiple requests at a time due to abysmal reply rates. The way to ensure that is to encourage hosts to put their mobile phone numbers on their profiles. A network based on working mobile phone numbers will naturally always have reply rates of 100%, and a cyclist will only need to call one host at a time, not throw darts at the board like now.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hey Christopher, thanks for

Hey Christopher, thanks for the thoughtful response!

I don't quite understand your "a refundable fee is still a fee" comment.  It is only a fee if it is charged due to No-Shows. Yes, Cyclists may have to deposit money (and get it back) but that is a small "price" to pay for free lodging and possibly meals.  There is also a “price” (time and effort) of having to track down a guest and I personally would be fine with depositing $5 to “encourage” my arrival thus reducing No-Shows, thus reducing burnout amongst Hosts, thus creating more availability for me as a Cyclist.  When using Uber, your money is automatically charged after the car ride so no “No-Show” fee would be incurred unless you didn’t show up for the ride.  Therefore, no money changed hands so no fee.  If Uber didn’t charge a No-Show fee, people would more frequently blow off the request, thus ticking off the drivers, thus reducing the ride availability.  It is a vicious circle.

I think your second comment about Hosts should just maintain their usual routine and not change plans is probably unrealistic for a large portion of Hosts.  I would guess very few Hosts have a routine so where the Cyclist showing up is no big deal and requires no existing routine alteration.  Schedules may have to be altered, i.e. get off work early, do grocery shopping on a different day, have someone else pick up kids from soccer, etc.  Even doing my laundry might be changed since I now have a guest who also wants to use the washing machine.  Without trying to sound rude or snarky, my pre-existing plans do NOT include having a guest around so I will almost certainly have to alter my pre-existing plans to accommodate a Cyclist.  Just the fact I am hosting a Cyclist changes my routine and/or plans.  And I can almost guarantee if the Cyclist has not confirmed, he or she will not be staying with us.  Do you really think something other than a small portion of the members allow Cyclists to show up without confirming at least the day of arrival?  I would guess less than 10% do.  I could be wrong of course but if so probably not by much.  I do think most Cyclists do not want or intend for the Host to alter their plans.  The alteration happens simply because hosting is an unusually occurrence for vast majority of Hosts.  I think you have previously mentioned you have hosted dozens if not hundreds of Cyclists and I sincerely applaud you for your dedication.  I would guess you in in the top 3% of hosting if so. Do you expect the other 97% to have the same outlook on life as you?  Just not realistic.  The penalty is to encourage expected outcomes, i.e. a Cyclist initiates a request, the Cyclist should follow through on what they requested.

Your third comment is valid, no pun intended.  I said this was a Con.  However, I would think a list of reasonable “approved reasons” could be provided.  Perhaps, the you could select on the system what is reasonable for you????  Your Village example is probably unrealistic for the vast majority of Hosts.  How is a stay with a “local village family” different from a Host residing in the same area?  Does California have “local village people” that are significantly different than you or do you not provide a window into the local culture????  If I am riding through rural Peru, staying with a local WS host would probably not be too much different than the local village family 10km down the road.  The suggestion about feeling strong and keep riding is mildly valid.  You do not reserve a hotel and then decide to cancel 1 hour out unless you got a very good reason.  The cantankerous Host should not have been contacted in the first place.  If you don’t want to stay after YOU requested it, then $5 is not an unreasonable for your sanity.

The reason Cyclists have to suffer such arbitrariness is unfortunately because a few Cyclists have ruined it for the majority.  Yes, it sucks but the alternative is fewer hosts.

I totally agree with the latter part of the first sentence of your final paragraph.  I do not agree with the “often only misunderstand on part of the host” section.  At least with me, I very clearly let the Cyclists know what I expect and when they do not show up with even a “sorry can’t make it”, I do not see how I am misunderstanding anything.

Thank you for providing a suggestion about using the phones.  Due to privacy, safety, etc. many people will not put cell phone information on the WS website.  I specifically do not want a potential guest to have my phone number until I have confirmed that person.  Another reason to no display the number is that I get so many robo calls (4-5 a day), that I ignore all unknown callers.   Additionally, a LOT of international Cyclists (only 1 of my international guests had a USA cell phone number) do not have a local phone number so both the Cyclist and the Host may be very reluctant to make an international call due to the cost.  Messaging apps work well IF you already have a common app.  However, if a WS app could be developed (more $$), like Uber, where you do not actually see the other person’s phone number until the request is confirmed, I would agree with you that the response rate would increase based on using mobile phones.

The “problem” I see is that the members make up a wide swatch of personalities.  What constitutes “boundaries” for one person are not “boundaries” for everyone.  I am just trying to make the requesting more standardized so everyone is working from the same boundaries and/or expectations.

Thanks again for responding! 

WS Member WS Member's picture
I think it is inappropriate

I think it is inappropriate to compare WS to Uber, the latter is a for-profit corporation and WS is supposed to be a community. Bringing money into the equation does alter the ambience. I remember when CS (way back before it actually became a for-profit corporation) introduced verification for $20 or whatever and many people were unhappy with it.

"How is a stay with a 'local village family' different from a Host residing in the same area?"

Have you used Warm Showers in the developing world? A substantial portion of hosts are expats, because the local population doesn't cycle-tour. Even in the developed world, lots of hosts live in a country different from their own. I am a foreigner in the country I live in, and if a cyclist gets a chance to stay with an actual local family instead of me, they should take that opportunity.

"I think you have previously mentioned you have hosted dozens if not hundreds of Cyclists and I sincerely applaud you for your dedication."

I have actually hosted only somewhere around two dozen cyclists through WS, though I have hosted well over 500 people across hospex communities. I have developed an approach by which I host heavily but remain passionate about hospex and have avoided burnout or badmouthing my guests on forums. Certainly many hosts will claim that their lifestyles make it impossible to have the same approach. But personally, I wouldn’t mind if WS had fewer hosts if the remaining hosts had a higher guest throughput and were more chill and laid back – I would rather stealth camp than stay with a host who gets stressed from being a host.

"The cantankerous Host should not have been contacted in the first place."

How would the cyclist have known necessarily? Profile feedback across hospex networks is notoriously unreliable. Most people are afraid to write anything negative about past hosts. Often the people that one ought to avoid, one knows about only through word of mouth and one hears it from another host or cyclist shortly before arriving in that city.

"Due to privacy, safety, etc. many people will not put cell phone information on the WS website."

Which is a real shame, because if publishing phone numbers worked in those supposedly halcyon days when WS was a paper-based directory (and it is still common on other hospex networks like the Rainbow Family or the Russian vpiska community), I think it would work just as well now.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Valid reasons

Christopher's  described examples of "valid reasons" for a no-show are different, of course very personal,  subjective and barely (maybe impossible?) to catch in "WS/hospex-rules".  

If "no-shows" for subjective reasons are the  nowadays freedom of the WS-cyclist on the road, I agree with Chris, a guest should not suffer from the different hosts opinions about these undefined "valid reasons".

Since a host and  a guest are of equal value, have equal rights and will use the same points of view, it's a matter of reciprocity.

This principle means that the host on his turn can cancel for his own very subjective "valid reasons" the (at first sight) agreed stay overnight. Request of the guest is rejected here afterwards. 

Question for both sides: what is a "reasonable  warning time"?

--for a guest to call the host for his prompt "no-show".

--for the host to tell the guest that his stay overnight is directly cancelled. 

Is a acceptable warning time "last minute"? One hour?Or maybe a call or message afterwards, next day?

The right answers may lead to a better/perfect understanding and appropriate reactions between guests and hosts in the colorful spectrum WS-members.

WS Member WS Member's picture
misunderstandings of "no-shows"

Too bad there are no reactions at my questions here above.
Anyhow, members who choose for the possibillity that they can change their decision at any, last moment, should clearly write a notice on top (!) of their profile to prevent misunderstandings at both sides.
Something like:

--Note for my hosts: If you accept my request to stay overnight at your place, please count with the possibillity that I will not show up for unexpected, personal reasons at the last moment.

--Note for my guests: If I've accepted your request to stay overnight at my place, please count with the possibillity that I will cancel your request for personal reasons at the last moment.

My question still is: What is "at the last moment"?

(If you prefer, change the text to adapt to your personal idea.)

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Peter,

Peter,

I was thinking the WS admin might come up with "valid reasons" and "reasonable time" examples.  Additionally, this was more geared toward NOT allowing for whimsical changes by either party.  I have had a couple of total no-shows (no notice whatsoever they were not showing up).  I personally think this is very wrong on the part of the Guest.  I also agree the Host should not revoke the acceptance except for "valid reasons".

Personally, I do not think "I feel strong so I am going to continue riding" is a valid reason.  Neither is "I want to go to the lake instead so the Guest can go elsehwere."  As far as timing, I personally will leave negative feedback (and I warn of such) if you have not notified me by 3:00pm (local time of course) you will not be arriving.  I think a lot of cyclists will know by then if if they are going to stay with us by 3:00pm.  Obviously, if someone wrote/called me and gave a valid reason (sick, major mechanical issues, etc.), I would be sympathetic as I have been there.  It is the no communication that is irritating, by both sides.

Again, if you read my last post, I agree my suggestions may not be feasible so let it pass (and will let it pass again if no one responds).  I was just trying to help figure ways so the MAJORITY of Guests/Hosts would know what to expect (social norms for WS).  Some feel only 10 days advance notice is enough.  Others think NO notice is enough.  I was trying to come up with something that the majority could agree to help reduce the no communication issue.  Of course there will always be the exception to the rule and/or those that do not agree no matter what is done.

Best, John

 

WS Member WS Member's picture
Thanks for your reaction,

Thanks for your reaction, John.

I like this forum to learn more (and take part in the discussions) about the growing variation in opinions and standards. Regularly WS-members  notice a changing host/guest behaviour, let's roughly say, the last 5 - 10 years.  

WS has to deal with that and I think that 99 % of possible misunderstandings between hosts and guests will be avoided by writing and reading (!) clear extended profiles.

I don't have to agree with the different way other cyclists behave, but I must be able to know, to read ahead what kind of host/guest I'm in contact with. 

Do we match during the hours of a stay overnight and can we have a nice time together?

Hosting or being a guest must be a pleasure for both sides.

My partner and I always go for the fun of the contact.

If a guest + host do not match (read the profile first thoroughly!), skip that host or don't accept that guest.

So simple is it.

WS Member WS Member's picture
John,

John,

I appreciate your creative suggestion. 

Warmshowers is not a perfect community. Both hosts and cyclists have varied levels of commitments and expectations. Truly the best way to deal with no-shows is through communication: Be clear in your profile about what you offer and what you expect, and communicate through feedback (after a day or so) a cyclist’s lack to show and communicate.  

WS Member Jon Keevil's picture
No Show fee changes the exchange from social to financial

I worry that adding a no-show fee would bring unintended consequences. There is a story about daycare centers told by Dan Ariely (book Predictably Irrational) and others where a daycare was trying to address the issue of late pickups. Their providers were being kept from going home on time and it caused strain. They decided to add a small per-minute fee to anyone who was late picking up their child. The result was a large increase in late pickups. The lesson was that the incentive to be on time was changed from social (I don't want to keep the person caring for my kid at work late) to financial (lets see, if I am 20 mins late that will cost $25, I guess that's OK). 

The community IMHO is based on the social capital of paying it forward and assuming it will work out. If a financial cost is assigned to one annoyance (no-show) what about another (chain grease on a towel - I'm just making that up, has not happened to me.) To me it would be a slippery slope to assign a financial measure to one thing, then why not other.

I realize I am not adding a positive suggestion for a solution and just a negative response to the one offered, so sorry for the imbalance.

Respectfully,

Jon Keevil 

WS Member WS Member's picture
Thanks Jon,

Thanks Jon,

That is a great example as to why it may not work.  OK, so my idea was not great, at least I tried.  Maybe we could slather honey inside their tents so they get eaten alive my ants (kust kidding).  Best to everyone, John

WS Member WS Member's picture
re: Suggestion to Reduce "No Shows"

hello Mr John Nettles, 

thank you for your time attempting to fix a problem that has been around for, well, as long as I've been a WS member.  as a previous responder mentioned , also, I am not in favor of adding "charges" to the hosting-guesting experience.   

the 1st time I used WS I sent out emails two or three weeks before my trip.  I got about 25% response before my trip started.  funny thing is, -after- my trip I got several more responces, all from WS folks who were out touring themselves and so unable to respond to an email.   (this experience was when cell phone, PHONES, were just starting to be available.  so all WS communications were handled via email.  -sigh- )   

I -hope- that with these constant reminders from us, your fellow WS folks, we will attempt to make requests we want to actually use, & hosts will understand that sometimes "stuff happens".  we're all bicyclists.  we're NOT "on the clock" (thank goodness).  

my $0.02 worth, 

Gerhardt 

WS Member WS Member's picture
Reliability and feedback

A bit off the original topic, but still would help a lot:
Abysmal reply rates from hosts and no shows from guests are a nusisnace.
My suggestion: No feedback within the last 3 years? Admin, please delete the profile immediately.
Even if somebody can not travel at the moment and does not get visitors it can still encourage members to meet the "warmhsowers neighbours" and write a review about that (and enjoy the evening).
I guess the number of members would drop sharply by more than 50%, but the reliability of those involved would also rise enormously. 
PS.: And nothing wrong with signing up again.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Kristian, thanks for the

Kristian, thanks for the suggestion!

I too thought that might be a good suggestion until I thought of the Host who is located off the beaten track so to speak and thus rarely gets Guests, if at all.  The Host may be very willing and able to to Host but has just not received any requests.  I "think" the Admin currently sends out a noticed after 1 year (not sure of time) if you have not logged on, you will be deleted UNLESS you log on again before the deadline.  This definitely helps out but still doesn't eliminate the No Replies & No Shows.  Of course, nothing will totally eliminate it but agree something should be done.  Doing nothing and hoping for different results is insane. 

WS Member WS Member's picture
new host

We just recently signed up to begin hosting.  I'm assuming we will get several inquiries since we live directly on the Trans Am route.  Anyway, when you guys talk about "no shows", do you mean people who actually commit to staying and then just don't show up?  Or are you talking about people who just inquire and then you hear nothing after that?

I'm not sure what to expect from all this, but my intent is to not immediately assume someone will end up staying just because they inquire.  If I actually end up speaking with the person via phone or text (I am assuming the vast majority of travelers on the Trans Am have a working cell phone?) and they verbally commit, then I will assume they are coming but don't plan on severely altering my daily plans in anticipation of their arrival.  I always have food and water in the house, so I don't really plan on making special shopping trips or anything.  As long as they don't show up in the middle of the night, I don't envision feeling put out.  If they show up, they show up.  If they don't, they don't.  But maybe my feelings/outlook will change after a few no shows lol.  Who knows. 

WS Member WS Member's picture
For me, I am talking about

For me, I am talking about Guests who inquire, you accept, they confirm they are coming, then they do not show up without ANY communication as to why.  Very irritating.  I totally agree if they just inquire and I accept, they may not come.  When I accept, I specifically tell them their MUST confirm they intend to stay with me to alliviate any confusion.  I further warn them if they do NOT confirm, that I will assume they do NOT need accommodations.  To me, this leaves nothing unclear so if they confirm they are coming, I expect them to come and if they no-show, that is very wrong to me.

 

WS Member WS Member's picture
Yeah I agree that just a

Yeah I agree that just a straight up no show after comitting is kind of rude.  All they have to do is send a quick message letting you know they arent coming after all.  Just common courtesy.

WS Member WS Member's picture
As active cyclists as well as

As active cyclists as well as hosts we all know there are many reasons for not making it to a planned destination at a fixed time and date.

The one real 'no show' we have experienced was a guy who contacts hosts and accepts several offer on the same day along his route, and stays with the one he is closest to at the end of the day.  He is a serial 'no shower'. The only way we found this out was by contacting our neighbouring hosts to see if he had stopped with them, or if their current guests knew anything about him, only to learn that 4 hosts were expecting him on the same night!

It has been said several times before, hosts should not go out of their way to prepare for a guest if possible. The service we are offering is free and 'as is', not a hotel. We are lucky in that we have spare rooms and usually have enough food in the house to feed the odd extra mouth. If you do an extra shop for your guest, think about food that can be reheated later in the week (I grew up on leftovers), to reduce the amount of wastage.

I know it is annoying, and seems rude on the part of the guest, but I don't think there is any way we will irradicate the problem of 'no shows'. More effort should be made to cull the serial 'non responsive' hosts, which, I think, will reduse the number of 'no shows'.

 

WS Member WS Member's picture
solution for the last case of

solution for the last case of serial no show would be to add in the guest profile a prominent mark that for each the next 3 days show if the guest had received a confirm from another host.
So people that see that mark can cancel directly if want, on contact and if the mark remain after a certain time set by the host can next day mark it as "no show".

Such no show mark should not be tainting the profile of someone, so would remain only for 3 months ...

About the time: it should be allowed the guest to put a time after that the stay must be canceled or confirmed, the same time , say one hour later, is the last time the host may cancel, even if the latter is a really bad thing, since while if a guest cancel is because for some reason has a different accommodation, but if it is the host that cancel not necessarily is good, think about someone that took a detour to go to a certain host in a place without alternatives ....

WS Member WS Member's picture
Getting a tad precious .

i think you worry about it a bit too much , don't change you're routine , don't go out of you're way , tell the guest when you will be home and if it don't suit them " tuff titties " they can go get a coffee or you can leave a drink and food out for them till you get home .

id only be pissed if they arranged to pick them up from the airport or train station and were a no show with no explanation .

anyway if it annoys you that much leave a comment on their page stating that it was a shame they didn't stop by as arranged , if enough people do it fewer people would reply to them when they request a stay .

WS Member WS Member's picture
1) I think WS should record

1) I think WS should record and publish all statistics on requests, shows, no-shows, hours to reply, confirmation frequency, etc.  Then if I get a request from a 50% no-show'er, hey that tells me something.   None of us should flip out at perfection or lack of, and sometimes stats will be missing (that's ok too) .

2) I think WS should just make users INACTIVE whenever necessary and not deleted so WS won't lose any stats or comments (e.g, current 1 year rule made my account deleted, which keeps potential guests from seeing my past hosting history unfortunately.  Storage is awfully cheap if we avoid storing video.

3) I think both host and guest should OFFER to show each other some ID.  I don't want to say that is REQUIRED as maybe there is someone who lives in fear of being found and is running away from evil.... but I think some kind of picture ID is a fair request.  Generally, I do tell people that I am going to take their picture and post it on Instagram or something, and if they FLIP out then another host may be a better match.  Yes, that makes me fail to help someone on the run, but c'est la vie.  

The above would be my perfectly fair rules.   I write that tongue-in-cheek remembering a political science professor responding to a comment that "laws should be fair" by saying that most laws are "fair."  For example, he noted that a law that forbids the poor from sleeping on park benches also forbids the rich from sleeping on park benches.  :)

WS Member WS Member's picture
"Generally, I do tell people

"Generally, I do tell people that I am going to take their picture and post it on Instagram or something, and if they FLIP out...."

There are a large number of hospex activists who do not want pictures of them to be put on social media, due to Facebook shadow profiles. Personally, I don’t think it’s cool of you to help corporations keep track of your guests’ movements and social contacts even if they intentionally chose not to maintain an account on that social network. But if you want to say "my house, my rules", then at least make your demands very clear on your profile.

WS Member WS Member's picture
We have a guest book

We have been keeping a guest book from day 1 of hosting (we stole the idea off another host), in it we invite the guest to leave their name, country of origin and any comment they would like to make, but in their home language, then we take a group photo for the book only. No one has ever objected, in fact almost everyone has either asked us first for a photo, or asked us to send them a copy of our photo. We have done this purely for our benefit, but it is amazing how many people love the idea and have found people they know or have met on the road in our book.

WS Member WS Member's picture
How do you feel about showing

How do you feel about showing picture ID?  I wonder what blockchain would do for this, although I'm not sure it is as secure as experts say.

I assume you make it very clear in your profile and to hosts that no one is permitted to take and share your photo unless you approve publication �.   

My primary concern is safety for my family and for travelers.  Establishing their ID seems like a reasonable approach taken by most motels.  Using social media makes it less intimidating to most people, albeit not everyone.

WS Member WS Member's picture
"I assume you make it very

"I assume you make it very clear in your profile and to hosts that no one is permitted to take and share your photo unless you approve publication"

I don’t write it on my profile, because so far it has been enough to tell my hosts or my guests, when they take out the camera, "Sure, we can get a picture, just please don’t upload it to social networks." I myself would never upload the photos I get with my guests or hosts, or fellow cyclists, somewhere without their express permission.

"My primary concern is safety for my family and for travelers. Establishing their ID seems like a reasonable approach..."

I disagree about the reasonability. On WS, in spite of tens of thousands of members, there has been one who has been persistently abusive and who might have been stopped by asking for ID (but on the other hand, the USA is known for fake IDs).. Otherwise, opening your home to travelers is not generally a risky activity, statistically speaking. I would prefer to be warned about a host who expects to see ID from every guest, because if they are that unreasonably worried and fretful about hosting, then staying with them is likely to feel like a stressful, walking-on-eggshells thing even for ordinary travelers.

Across hospex networks, I believe that only HC ever emphasized guests showing their ID directly to hosts, and there it was an extra and optional step for getting your profile "verified", it wasn’t required of guests.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Thank you for your insights.

Thank you for your insights.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Checking ID?

Correct me if I am wrong, but this checking of ID seems to stem from the US. We have never even thought of checking ID, why would you? When we get a request we check out their profile, and any social media profile, read the reviews and accept them (we have only turned 2 people away, once when we were away and once when we were full). I understand different countries have different concerns, but it is up to the host to make this call.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Generally I just take picture

Generally I just take picture of guests.  You are extracting ID thru social media, perhaps this site, but it may not be there if they are new, or if their history got deleted.  I don't know what to say about US attitudes versus other nations, I have statistics on that.