Frequently asked questions
Using the site: hosting and being hosted
- How do I find a host?
Go to the “Find members” page and enter the name of the location you are going to visit in the text box (a city, town, or village – the search does not work with countries or regions). When you start typing the location name, a list will show the possible locations. If the place has BeWelcome members that will be indicated with a number in parenthesis. Choose the correct location, click on “search”, and you will get a list of all active profiles registered at that location (and, by default, in a radius of 25km/15mi around that location). Take your time to review the profiles and read the information given there carefully. Then write a message to those members you would like to stay with.
There are also advanced options available to refine your search. For example, you can limit your search to the exact location you entered or extend it to a wider area by choosing a wider radius. You can also limit your search to members who can host more than one person by choosing the respective option. Additionally, there are several options to sort your results.
- How can I contact another member?
To contact another member, go to his/her profile. There, you will find a “Send Message” link in the left sidebar below the profile picture. Just click on it and write your message in the blank field provided and then click on “send”. The member will receive your message in his BeWelcome mailbox but all messages will also be sent to his/her e-mail address.
- How do I write a good request or invitation?
Writing a good request is important, as it is the first contact you will have with a potential host. This request and your profile are the only information a host will have about you when deciding whether to host you or not. You will increase your chances of being hosted if you write each potential host a personal request, rather than sending the same message to everybody.
The request should briefly explain why you chose to contact this specific host. For instance, why were you interested in the profile, do you have any common interests? You could also explain why you are coming to that location and what you expect to do while you are there, so your host knows how much time the host will have with you. For example, are you interested in doing some activities with your host (city tour, bike tour, party…)? Or do you already have your own activities planned and you’ll just be there in the evening? Then, of course, giving some practical details is important: how many guests and how long you’d like to stay, but possibly also other information like your means of transportation and schedule (especially if you have to arrive or leave very late or early). Finally, giving your real name, if it’s not displayed on BeWelcome, is usually a good idea.
The request only serves as a first contact, it’s usually followed by other messages to set all the details of hosting. Even after sending a request, you are always free to decline a hosting offer (if your circumstances change, or you don’t like the host's answer, or because you received several positive answers). It is common (and advised) to send several requests at the same time to increase your chances of finding a host, so people won’t get offended if you decline their offer after sending them a request. However, if you do have to cancel a request, always make sure to tell the host as soon as you can.
- How long can I stay with my host?
This depends on the member hosting you. Some members specify the maximum length of stay of their guests on their profiles. You should speak to a member directly about anything not made clear in his/her profile. As common courtesy we ask you to respect the host’s plans and restrictions and not to impose yourself on your host longer than he/she would like.
- Is there a minimum period of time hosts should be able to host guests?
Hosting arrangements are up to guests and hosts to decide. Usually guests do not stay more than a few days with their hosts. As a host, it is important to communicate exactly how long you are willing to offer your hospitality. You can specify this in your profile or treat each guest individually. Please note that nobody is obliged to offer anything, it is important that hosts feel comfortable with whatever arrangement they offer.
- Will my host be able to host more than one guest?
This only depends on the member hosting you. Some members specify the maximum number of guests they are willing or able to host on their profiles. You should speak to a member directly about anything not made clear in his/her profile. As common courtesy we ask you to respect the host’s restrictions and not to impose more guests on your host than he/she is willing to receive.
To search hosts by the number of people they can host, please use the “Find members” page. In the drop down field “Hosts at least” choose the number of people you are searching a host for.
If you are travelling as a family, we recommend that you join the “Families” group and the “Family Welcome Group” to get some advice or to find hosts through these groups. Of course many members will be willing to host families even if they are not members of these groups. So, if you find someone who is willing to host several people but has not mentioned anything about families on his/her profile, just contact the member directly to discuss the possibilities to visit him/her with your family.
- I need a last minute host (for today or tomorrow). What can I do?
For some places, the local communities have set up “last minute hosting” groups where you might be able to find hosts on short notice. To find these groups, go to the groups page, enter the name of the place (e.g. a city) where you need a host in the search field, and click on “Search”. Go through the list of results and if there is a last minute group for that place, join the group and post a new message there.
Alternatively, just regularly search for members in that location (by using the “Find members” page) and check whether some members have included their phone number or Instant Messenger contacts in their profiles. If they have, you can contact them and ask them if they could host you on short notice or help you find another solution. However, please understand if some members do not feel comfortable with hosting somebody on very short notice.
- I need a host for a month or longer, can you help me?
As a member of BeWelcome, feel free to contact other members to make such requests. It is up to your potential host whether or not they feel one month is too long. You can also check their profiles to see how long they are willing to host other members.
- A member has contacted me and arranged a date for his stay with me. He/she never turned up though, nor did he/she notify me of any changes in his plans. What should I do?
We recommend that you contact this member again. As there are sometimes communication problems, allow for a week or two for her/him to reply. If you still have not heard anything and you are sure that there was a definite date arranged at which this member was supposed to arrive, please post a (neutral) comment on the member's page since this is the kind of behaviour we do not tolerate in this hospitality exchange network.
It is of course common courtesy to let your host know if you change plans and cannot stay with them. Members who do not show up should be aware that they inconvenience the host as well as other members who maybe were turned down in your favour. BeWelcome will not, however, get directly get involved because the comments system is perfect for exchanging this kind of information.
- Can I host at more than one address?
At the moment you can only be listed with one address. You could add your second address to your profile summary and thus inform people about it. Please be aware, however, that your second address will not appear in the member location search. In the long run we hope to be able to provide a better solution.