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non-touring host requests and appropriateness

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WS Member WS Member's picture
non-touring host requests and appropriateness

Hello,

My understanding has always been that this was a community for touring cyclists and hosts. (kinda says it in the name!) I could only find one post about this subject and I was dumbfounded as I read about people frequently getting requests from "avid cyclists" who are actually driving on a vacation and trying to be cheap. This is not in the spirit of this site and seems ridiculous to me. Almost every single request I receive is a touring cyclist on tour. Almost...

Months ago I was requested to host by someone arriving in town to vacation and enjoy a festival. Not on tour at all! I politely said I wouldn't be available while wondering if I should say something.

Well, the same person is making the request again. Not on tour, just in town for an event. And while he acknowledges my profile says I have deck space or a non AC'd room available, he says he is ALSO bringing his dog which will not fare well without AC. Wait. What? Seriously?

My question is do I report this? Leave feedback on his profile? Or is this actually accepted or common here? Am I in the minority here thinking this is absolutely inappropriate?

Here is a cut and paste, what do you think?

You might remember me from last December when I requested
a tent stay for the Bone Island Bare It All event. You were not available at
the time and I'm taking a long-shot request again this time. The Bone Island
event is occurring again in July and I am trying to coordinate that trip with
tenting my house for termites. That means I need to find a place for my dog
Loretta too and was hoping I might be able to bring her with me to Key West.
I'm currently searching for pet friendly hotels but thought I might ask you
if you may have accommodations for us. I would be eating all my meals
elsewhere and biking around town on my awesome new folding bike. Of course I
would also be taking Loretta out and about too. Please let me know if you may
have any room for us. Your profile states non-AC porch - which would be fine
for me but Loretta doesn't do well in heat. Thanks in advance for your
consideration.

WS Member WS Member's picture
hello chillwill, only accept

hello chillwill,
only accept touring cyclists. and polite people. this person seems not to belong to any of them. i would report this user or leave a negative comment. he doesn't seem to be interested to get to know you, if he's eating all his meals outside, he's just looking for a cheap place to pick the tent. and what will he do with the dog, bring it to the festival?!

WS Member WS Member's picture
This might not be

This might not be inappropriate, and just might be the call of the host. Some hosts might not mind taking someone in who is "day touring". I have used the site before to ask hosts if I can park my car in front of their house while I embark on a short tour. I would gladly return this for others, but some may night.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Love me, love my dog?

I personally don't host non-bicycling tourists. To me, this is clearly a violation of the spirit of Warmshowers, which is unequivocally for bicycle tourist.

The dog? Really? "My dog needs A/C so we'd have to stay inside your house even though you very clearly say you don't provide that amenity," is just another nail in the coffin.

If you are inclined to leave feedback I'd say, do it. Whether you decide for neutral or negative feedback depends on you. Just lay out the facts and don't engage in personal attacks.

Mark

WS Member WS Member's picture
non-touring cyclist

Perhaps this guy should join another international travelling group like couch sitters or Servas. I travel with my dog on the bike and on the plane. When we arrived in Washington DC many years ago after riding from Canada on the bike, we stayed with Warm Showers hosts. Or was it Servas? I can't remember. But in any case we were welcome. We have also stayed with a Servas host in New York City when the only biking was after the bus tours were over and I did the 5 borough bike ride.
I just had Warm Showers folks here in Chicago who came to attend a City Planning meeting about bringing bike share to their city and they used our Divvy bike share while they were in Chicago. I was happy to have them and was on this site in order to leave positive feedback for them.
I had another pair of Warm Showers guests just a few weeks ago who didn't bring their bikes and again I was happy to have them.
Be nice. This guy has to get out of his house because of the exterminating. Nobody likes bugs and apparently you don't like dogs either. Each to his own.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
What about older members who no longer tour?

I am registered to receive guests and am available to do so. I have also picked cyclists up off the road (especially toward sunset) and brought them to my home to camp (not Warm Showers members). I no longer tour due to degenerating joints. I still do bike day trips and kayak trips. Is it inappropriate for me to ask for hosting for those activities? I would only be requesting tent space. I became a member primarily to host, but it would be nice if I could use the service in return. Your thoughts?

WS Member WS Member's picture
Setting limits

I would think that, before leaving negative feedback on a person, we should bring the topic up with that person. The best place to start is to write something in one's profile that states these preferences clearly -- "I'll only accept guests who arrive by bike," or something like that. Then, when the request comes in, and it turns out they haven't complied with this, bring it up again.
ChillWill writes, "I politely said I wouldn't be available while wondering if I should say something." -- Why not just tell the truth to this person? It isn't more polite to evade a straight answer, especially if it can lead to a negative comment later on the WSL website.

Secondly, I don't know who among us can really speak for "the spirit of the website." Roger Gravel, the person who got the Warm Showers List going and kept it up until Randy and the web gang took it over -- Roger hosted me and my wife at his house in Quebec, when I arrived in the city at the end of a two-week bike ride and my wife arrived by car to pick me up. It fit his definition of WSL to offer hospitality to people like us. Another example: I've stayed with people on the Warm Showers List who, themselves, have never bike-toured; they just like the idea of touring and like to meet people doing it. This kind of host was not the "spirit of the website" at the outset, but seems like a wonderful development to me.

Another question is raised by another commenter -- some of us have cycle-toured for decades and both hosted and stayed with other cycle-tourists. We've come to think of it as belonging to a community. But, stuff happens -- I've tumbled into a state of health where I really can't plan a self-supported tour any longer. Can I not call upon this community for some hosting if I'm in their region with some assistance? -- say, with my wife driving a car; or with a motorized bike?

All I'm saying is that, before giving "neutral or negative" feedback, we try to come to some understanding. Even if we wind up not inviting the person to stay with us, we might be able to part with mutual respect. Sure, there will be rascals that we want to warn other members about once in a while; but I think that option should be a lot farther down on the list of responses.

WS Member WS Member's picture
I did indeed did first

I did indeed did first message the member and they immediately agreed and apologized stating that as soon as they sent the request they felt like it wasn't appropriate. So that's settled by being direct.

As others have brought up, I too would host someone unable to tour for some of the reasons mentioned above. However, I have never received such a request nor was that the point of my post. I have received requests from people simply looking for a free place to stay for partying or for triathlons. Both of which are inappropriate for this site in my opinion. And I still feel that way.

Unregistered anon_user's picture
Positive experience with non biker

I just hosted a young man who was not traveling by bike. He asked to camp in my yard. I felt that his project was noble---he was traveling around the U.S. from a foreign country in order to gain cultural experience by working in various cottage industries. He was traveling by bus and train. I enjoyed his visit and am glad I agreed to host him. I might host people engaged in other worthwhile causes.

I've traveled quite a bit using nontraditional means like Craigslist and have received generous support from all kinds of people. It feels good to be able to give something back to travelers, no matter how they arrive.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Non-Bicycling Guests

My wife and I are now hosting our second non-bicycling guest. This will be the last.

It's not like our current guest necessarily misrepresented himself (nor the two people who came by car the first time), but we feel like we're being taken advantage of. We're not a freebie motel service for car or truck travelars. We feel that people who are not actually bicycling are taking advantage of the original spirit and intent of this program. If you can afford to drive here you can probably afford an inexpensive motel somewhere.

I'm in this program to support bicycle travelers. Period. You'll find us to be very gracious and giving hosts, and, so far, all of our guests (bicyclists and non-bicyclists) have been super. However, we need to draw a line on who we're willing to host.

I am curious as to what other hosts have experienced and their thoughts on this kind of hosting situation.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Human-powered ONLY

As an organization we're seeing a slight increase in the number of queries regarding who is allowed to use Warmshowers. These queries are almost always in regard to people driving up to the host's house. Some of these drivers have bicycles on their motor vehicles, most don't.

There are a number of discussion threads about this as well. It seems fairly clear that each host has a different opinion (no surprise there - we're a human organization at heart). The two main opinions are: 1) a host will host anyone regardless of their mode of transportation, and; 2) a host joined Warmshowers to host bicyclists NOT motorists and so will not host motorist.

Personally, I fall into the second camp - I joined to host bicyclists, not motorists. I've had to modify that a bit as I've also hosted a couple of runners. Now I say I only host human-powered guests.

That said, each host is perfectly free to host whomever they wish. Personally, I'd rather NOT see Warmshowers become a general "crash" service. There are plenty of other services available for the general traveler.

I'd rather see Warmshowers grow stronger for bicycle tourists and other human-powered travelers. This is a unique aspect of the organization and I'd like to see it maintain that uniqueness.

WS Member WS Member's picture
Hear, hear.

Hear, hear.

WS Member WS Member's picture
human powered

I like that. because this year I had my first warmshower guest who did not pedal up.
he ran up. he set a goal to run across the country raising money for the wonderful charity Compassion International. Of course I hosted him. Very impressive young man
So far no other non biking requests have come thru, but if one did thru warmshowers I would redirect them to Couchsurfing which I am also a member and have them request through that. Yes in the end same net result, but keeps warmshowers for the human powered only and lets me build up the same good reputation on couchsurfing as I have on warmshowers.

WS Member WS Member's picture
^ This too I would do the

^ This too

I would do the same and hope other hosts would too. If you don't have an account with CS/BeWelcome/etc.. just send a link.