Recruiting people to Couchers

Hi there, I’m coming from Couchsurfing.com and although I’d love to promote Couchers there, it can be difficult since the admins of the site discourage users from that kind of activity. I’ve been wracking my brain on how and where else we can promote it.

Some ideas -

  • Facebook backpacker/accommodation groups
  • Facebook “share economy” groups like Host a Sister
  • Using alternative platforms to host people and then tell them about Couchers :stuck_out_tongue:
  • On local community boards (physical and virtual)
  • Reddit posts on relevant subreddits (r/travel, r/couchsurfing, r/workaway, r/shoestring, etc)
  • Organizing meetups and promoting via word of mouth

Any other ideas? Would love to hear about them!

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I think Facebook backpacker groups are a great idea as they are basically a disorganised version of what this is supposed to be!

Also perhaps Meetup.com, the app? I know they often post events there that are also on Couchsurfing (or people just post their event on both platforms) so you could post couchers events there (and on Cs maybe) and just tell people about couchers when they turn up? :slight_smile:

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I have never used Meetup.com but I want to. Where have you used it? Have you had good luck with it?

I think CS admins/ambassadors would probably get mad about promoting a different platform through CS, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about Couchers at CS events…

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Yes I went to some really fun events in London, Germany and Sweden, as well as a less inspiring event here in Canberra :sweat_smile:. The ones in Europe were often half Couchsurfing people who’d seen it on Couchsurfing rather than meetup. So it’s totes normal for cross promoting events from what I’ve seen, but using the name “couchers” in the event name would be a no go I think :smile:

I found the meetup events in Europe I went to were basically Couchsurfing meetups, but here in Canberra they seem to be more oriented for locals rather than backpackers, but I have limited experience so I could be wrong :upside_down_face:

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Actually to clarify my last comment thinking back I think all meetups were a little more local oriented than Couchsurfing, so usually more people who have recently moved to a place/ locals looking to meet new people rather than short term backpackers. But still super fun for everyone and everyone welcome :blush: and would be a great way for backpackers to meet potential hosts or locals to show them around!

Realistically we are going to have to organize/attend whatever local meetups we can for a while to try and get likeminded people to join Couchers. Not to mention that because of the pandemic there isn’t a whole lot of international travel going on anyway.

One early strength of CS and personally why I think it became so successful was that most cities had a group of locals meeting up every week and planning events, doing outings, etc. I wonder if they found each other through the couchsearch and wanted to hang out, already knowing they had something in common? Or, did they first meet in person and then convince one another to join regular meetings and sign up for CS?

I know of one group of about 30 people in Istanbul who organized meetings through CS from 2007-2012 but never hosted, didn’t surf, and rarely even invited anyone other than themselves. The exclusionary nature of their group made them even more attractive and more and more locals wanted in :slight_smile: Nowadays they have disbanded (mainly since “Groups” doesn’t exist on the CS app), but there are still many who attend the regular events.

We do have to create real physical communities somehow, and if apps like Meetup have done that for us already in our respective community, I don’t think there’s any reason why we can’t kinda hijack them for the purpose of promoting Couchers. Couchers meetings/meetups/events/whatever will have a different aspect anyway, which is the randomness of the backpacker or visitor passing through.

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You can also use instagram to promote for couchers.org as creating account first for presenting the community on this social network and start posting and uploading stories using high traffic hashtags used by travelers and couch surfing hashtag itself

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Nuno, great idea! Welcome to the forum, it’s great to have you.

I’m not an Instagram user myself, and I forgot about the power of the hashtag. Yes, I think that as soon as we have a minimum viable product (MVP) we should simultaneously open accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to capture as wide of an audience as possible. Any other social media platforms that would work? SnapChat, TikTok, etc?

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I’d be a bit careful with trying to grow too quick, as you’ll get a lot of freeloaders which will decrease the overall surfing/hosting experience IMO. Although I understand the need for scale, for the sake of earning a reputation and goodwill, in this phase I would go for a more focused approach. That could be via forums where (slow?) travellers hang around, existing hospitality communities, professional travellers (travel bloggers, tour leaders, etc.) and such.

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What did you think about the discussion in this thread Make Membership Invite-Only?

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Oh I missed that. For this phase I believe that would make sense, and even with a capped # of invites. In a later phase then it would make sense to uncap the invites and make registration publicly available.

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Yep one can create regular meetup.com events as ‘couchers meet travellers and locals’’ I guess. Then promote that to his/her facebook or/and instagram actually.

You need dedicated locals who love the idea and are not afraid of both strangers/travellers, but also of covid19.

We use masks and wash hands all the time, i dont see why an event OUTDOORS that is regular and uses masks/handwashing would not be feasible also in the app of couchers.org when its ready. JUst reminding ppl to wear a mask, do not attend an event if recently were sick, and if you want to go super strict, an event can admit only users who have recent covid19 test tested negative (this happens in some countries’ borders right now as a method of control).

But a mask that is comfy (not all mask allow you to speak and be heard, some have a shape so that you can speak!) and lots of alcohol gels around and distances between each person ,in an open space and not indoors, shold work ok i think. If someone is visibly sick they should not attend any event. COvid19 also spreads from non-sick carriers but thats why we wear the masks for and keep distance from and prefer open air meetings than indoor cafes.

@Emily Not sure if you know but it’s reported in many CS related FB groups that members profile get deleted by mentioning other platforms on CS. True censorship nowadays :disappointed:

I’ve heard that! I meant that you could talk about it in person at CS events. but perhaps that’s risky, too, these days, with so much witch hunting going on…

@Emily, I totally agree: It is important to have a local community with regular meetings. I am not using couchsurfing anymore, but I still go to their meetings, where it would be really easy to promote Couchers.org

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You can create a tinyurl and that way still promote Couchsurfing alternatives on Couchsurfing. I think in this phase the focus should be on recruiting developers for that we could look for Hackathon events on meet up or Facebook, maybe even pay for an ad at a Hackathon or something since I think this is the most crucial point, recruiting other volunteers is also nice and even users is great but we need to put must of our focus on development in my opinion, first the product has to be good enough then the people will come not the other way round…

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I personally probably have about 50-100 ex-CSers on Facebook and I suspect that many of us in this group probably have about the same.

Perhaps if we were to start there (with a focus on the strong community builders) and then they were to invite their contacts we’d have a strong base to start with so that we can start holding local community events and meetups.

There isn’t a lot of travel at the moment anyway, so it could be a good chance to work on building the base and core community.

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Regarding local community events and meetups, we could also enable publishing events on the forum until it’s possible on the app. Right now we restricted access to events to @staff members and we have only one “official” event going: the Weekly Online Event.

What’s nice about the event feature on the forum is that events automatically populate the Upcoming events calendar (that is accessible from the top hamburger menu). So we could have an easy overview of what’s happening.

Just want to float the option. When there’s some interest in publishing events, be it already offline or rather online, we could already offer it here on the forum.

I am hosting a weekly meetup event in Miami, as well as a language exchange group. I’d like to start posting on here, to get more people involved.

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That’s the spirit! :partying_face:

So we enabled events on the forum as a preliminary feature until it’s available on the app.

Just read about Publishing a public event and give it a try :+1:

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