Frequently asked questions
About BeWelcome (general)
- What is BeWelcome?
BeWelcome is the world’s largest free hospitality community. This means that travellers are offered hospitality by other members. This hospitality can range from being hosted in the homes of other members, or being shown around the local sights, to meeting up for a coffee. BeWelcome also supports online exchanges and local activities.
Every member of BeWelcome has a profile. Members can search for other members at their travel destination, check out their profiles and send them a message or accommodation request.
BeWelcome is a volunteer-based, non-profit and open source project. This means using the site is free – we are not trying to make profit out of people’s hospitality – and we are committed to transparency and democracy: about our decisions, our budget, and our privacy rules.
If this sounds good to you, just sign up.
- What is hospitality exchange?
Hospitality exchange (as practised by BeWelcome) basically means travellers and locals staying with one another free of charge. However, hospitality exchange offers much more than just free accommodation. Some members do not offer a place to stay, but instead provide dinner, a guided tour, local information, or just meet up for a coffee or a beer.
People may have many different reasons for joining hospitality exchange networks. The most common motivations are:
- to meet interesting, open-minded people
- to meet locals and to gain an insider view
- to save money through the offer of free accommodation
- to have flexibility and freedom of choice when travelling
- to make local contacts
- to improve language skills
- Who runs BeWelcome?
BeWelcome is a project completely run by volunteers. All of BeWelcome’s “staff” (site admins, developers, designers, moderators, translators etc.) are volunteers. If you wish to help us run the site, please check our volunteering page to see how best you could fit into one of our teams.
The legal structure behind BeWelcome is BeVolunteer, a French non-profit organisation. BeVolunteer is in charge of organizing the work of all the volunteers, giving general guidelines and priorities, managing the budget, and taking decisions about the site’s management. These decisions are taken by BeVolunteer’s members at the annual General Assembly (GA) and, between GAs, by the elected Board of Directors (BoD).
To join BeVolunteer, you first need to help with BeWelcome. If you have been an active BeWelcome member and volunteer for at least 3 months, you can apply for a BeVolunteer membership. Being a BeVolunteer member allows you to take part in the General Assembly (GA) and to vote for the Board of Directors (BoD). For more information about BeVolunteer and becoming a BeVolunteer member, please visit the BeVolunteer website.
- How is BeWelcome financed?
The BeWelcome project is entirely financed by donations.
BeWelcome is run by volunteers. Thanks to that we have very few expenses, such as server rent, domains, administrative fees, and security certificates. Our volunteers (including the members of the Board of Directors) pay their own expenses, so any donations are used to support the site.
We believe in transparency. Our accounts are published once a year to be checked/agreed on by the General Assembly of BeVolunteer. During the year, the Board of Directors and the Treasurer take care of financial matters and are also your contact persons for related questions. More information about BeVolunteer finances and accounts are available on the BeVolunteer website.
- How can I help BeWelcome?
Being an active member is the first way to keep BeWelcome running. Use BeWelcome as a host or traveller, organize or attend activities, join your local group or other discussion groups. Spreading the word about us to your friends and through your social networks is also helpful.
If you wish to help further, you have two possibilities: