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 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.