How can we incentivize guests to keep using the platform or become hosts themselves?

Something we’ve discussed in our online event is the fact that many people used Couchsurfing during one trip but never came back to the site again once their trip was over, and weren’t interested in becoming hosts.

What do you think are some of the reasons for this? Why do you think some people only surf once or twice and never tried it again?

And what are some ways we can we make the experience of hosting more attractive to people who have may have only been a guest or attended events and hangouts?


Develop good local communities. Also assist those communities in not being too much traveler or local centered. E.g. by advising in choosing weekly meeting location and how to manage those meetings. Doing so keep the people involved after traveling. In the end it is not only about traveling but about having a certain mindset.


I honestly feel people do want to host. Especially when they get hosted initially, considering they had a great experiences and they are not a free loaders by nature.

I had hosted many surfers who didn’t even consider hosting anyone until I asked them. Some live with parents or in a student hostel.

It is hard to motivate someone who does not want to host anyone. I guess we spoke about it in our first emeet when I mentioned that someone I hosted, after they went back to their countires, didnt even log back to CS.

In some countries, people see CS as ‘an app to get free couch’ and that’s how they use it entirely. I feel couchers will not run out of hosts. Like you mentioned yesterday, it is about bringing women into the equation and if they can host too then I really feel couchers can make a huge impact regarding the safety of women.


I think you should go for the hosts in the first place, and not for the surfers.

i will have to come back to the community standing score- i am from a culture that is very “principle first” (deductive reasoning) whereas countrys like Australia, Canada and Usa are on the other side of the scale “Application first” (inductive reasoning). Thats why i dont understand your way of thinking sometimes, bc i am from a different culture. I want general principles and facts about the score before i decide if i like it. (The culture map by Erin Meyer)

So another idea to the score:
Make 50% kind of stable- if you once reached it you will not loose it. Like

  • 10% -> for 1 time hosting,

  • for 1 time surfing

  • for reaching member status in forum

  • for hosting a event

  • for using hangouts

The reason i stayd long time in cs are the people! Lifelong friendships. I was so happy when a Host of mine from Southamerika texted me when he was in Europe to stay with me, bc we already knew each other and are friends. Also i prefered surfer that host too.
So you could give community credits to staying in touch. Or give them stars: This person motivates me to stay part of couchers community!


Maybe have a page of “how to’s of being a decent host”. Also include people’s stories or tips about hosting or what something special about a host. Basically for those who would consider it, but wouldn’t know where or how to start.

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Maybe users should be able to tweak their security settings more refined:
who can message me: friends
who can couch request me: friends, friends of friends, non-men
who can see me in search results: members, at least ten positive references
who can see my photos: friends, friends of friends, non-men

I always thought that a big visible hosting count would be a great incentive to host more.

if I go to the home page of couchers, it still looks like we’re focusing on getting people from CS to move over to us.
Perhaps it’s time to get this more as a side note and focus more on what we do or would like to do after this pandemic is over: hosting, traveling, building local communities, organize events, …
It would look great to have a few panels there pointing this out and linking further to these subjects.


I just want to second @coboat 's comment. My first time using couchsurfing I surfed for 4 months, and I don’t think I ever attended an event or really knew anything about them. It was just after I returned home and was back on the website that I figured it out.

Make events very prevalent. Nudge new couch surfers a week after their first time surfing with a link to attend an event near them. As coboat said, making active communities is the first priority, but once that’s in place, give the new members a nudge to join in. Event organizers should be able to invite incoming travelers to events like ambassadors could (maybe not full bore, with some kind of brake for organizers who spam).

If they stay connected with this community, they’ll see people bringing their surfers to events, it’s an easy step from there to get that surfer hosting him or herself. And while there may be plenty of dropoff this way, I’m strongly against any sort of incentive that will turn hosting and surfing into a transaction. Because that’s what I just quit.


I like this idea!

For onboarding new users on the forum we are moving from having a “new member” category towards curating the forum with tags. So we’ll have a welcome tag that can be on all the content and topics we’d especially recommend to new users to find their way around.

We could have some similar curating tool on the platform. So more experienced users could tag events, groups, discussions… as a good fit for new users. And by default you would receive recommendations based on this tag as a new user.

Actually, we already have a more general discussion going on about events and recommendations in INVITE to event.

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so from this weeks Sunday meeting, i had an interesting discussion about what Couchers should do to keep people who are mainly surfers (who usually only use the website when they travel) to keep them incentivised to using the platform even when they’re not travelling, possibly through local or global events which would be displayed on the main website, the more a person uses the website for the community the more likely they are to convert to hosting aswell and become a cult member like the rest of us : P that or become more active in events or sharing knowledge on Places pages

CS has always had tons and tons of different groups in their forums, but never had a good way to sort them, making it finding an interesting topic all the more hard (and most people are clustered in the largest groups as they are easiest to find), having groups would definetly be a good incentive for a returning surfer

there’s probably other ways to improve the site, i just don’t think it’s good for the website if it’s a cross between people who host and those that surf with no inbetween to keep the surfers coming back

i was gonna make a new topic but thanks to the topic system the forum suggested me this topic, which is what i wanted to write about