Comparison of Hospitality Exchange platforms

Here is a factual comparison table of some hospitality exchange projects. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s covering the ones that are often considered an alternative to couchsurfing.

Colors are biased towards our values (e.g. advertising or corporation model are in red).

  • CSCouchsurfing“Share your life”
  • HCHospitalityClub“Bringing people together”
  • BWBeWelcome“Open your door to the world”
  • WSWarmshowers“A community for touring cyclists and hosts”
  • TRTrustroots“Travellers’ community for sharing, hosting and getting people together”
Founded 04/2003 (non-profit);
05/2011 (for-profit corporation)
2000 02/2007 * 1993 (list);
2005 (website) *
12/2014; initial talks started 2013.
Legal status US C Corporation No legal status French non-profit association US Non-profit 501(c)(3) UK Non-profit Foundation
Community Very active Not active Active Active Active
Members (active and non-active) 15M (10/2016) 792K (09/2017) 104K (9/2017) 101K (5/2017) 27K (9/2017)
Hosts 400K active (2.6%) (10/2016) 24K (23%) (9/2017) 53K (52%) (9/2017) 5K (20%) (9/2017)
Open Source No No Yes No Yes
About development Ruby on Rails, React. Small paid team. Custom PHP. Stalled for many years. Custom PHP. Two volunteer devs. Drupal. Until 2017 volunteer team. Since summer 2017 paid development done by Upleaf. NodeJS, AngularJS. One core dev, plus a few volunteers.

Feature comparison

Browse by map No No Somewhat Yes Yes
References Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Events Yes No Yes No Yes
Interest Groups Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Contacts Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Discussion area Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mobile apps Android, iOS No No No Android
Mobile friendly site Yes No No Yes Yes
Advertising Yes Yes No No No

More about our values

We believe pure sharing platforms should be run by non-profit legal entities, with free software. See also the Trustroots manifesto.


Further reading



Comparison of Hospitality Exchange platforms by Trustroots Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

16 Comments on “Comparison of Hospitality Exchange platforms

  1. I do like trustroots, but they still use the word comunity incorrectly. As long as there is no way on the site to have group discusions, there will not be a comunity there is just people wanting to host and visit. Some kind of forum is essential for creating a meaningfull hospitality site and I hope this feature will be there soon.

    • Well put, Marcel, and agreed. I feel the same way about the inability to leave references on TR. Great comparison/table regardless, Mikael, and excellent quote choices! There’s some never-finished, self-promotional comparison chart FvdB created (as publicly noted) on BW. Typically outdated, lost in the depths of their glorious pile-of-wiki, and extremely creative in an attempt to paint BW in a purely positive light. I was going to produce an honest and realistic comparison, but you beat me to it.

  2. I am interested in the concept have joined every site I could find. I have made a few email contacts and met a BW member in a coffee shop.

    I have not yet hosted or been hosted through any of these sites. Some are easier to find your way around than others.

    Being a retired RN, somewhat long in the tooth old gal,travelling/living with hubby and toy poodle, having a life time of experiences and living on a pension I think a hospitality site is a smart thing.

    Will it work for us-dont know. Not looking for any high adventure, drama etc-having worked hospice, jails and justice, mental health and emergency. We are taking a break from adventure. We will be looking for overnight accommodation, and can provide overnight accommodation when we are home.

    We eat all food sources with gratitude and really dont think anyones intimate life is any concern of ours. The humans are monogamous heterosexuals Hairy is only 6 months old and hasnt said one way or the other.

    Here is hoping for a positive experience regardless of the site used.

    • You sound like someone I’d gladly host, or stay with, Carolyn! Did you create a profile here on TR, also?

  3. Without a reference system this will never be an alternative to CS.

    • Unfortunately, the CS reference system is fatally flawed. CS scrubs the site of many negative references, especially those concerning criminal acts. Meanwhile, many CS members have been sent to prison for rape and other serious crimes.

  4. We think so too and that’s why we’ve been working on a reference system for a while already. I think it’ll be ready for the next travel season. That said, we don’t think that existing reference systems really work that well, so we’re thinking quit a bit outside the box. We’ll post on our blog and Facebook page more details soon.

  5. Pingback: Redes de Intercâmbio de Hospitalidade -

  6. I think it’s very important to include references. Trustsroots is too much hippie power. “We should all trust eachother” and stuff like that. While I do agree I also think that it doesn’t mean that we don’t trust eachother because we want to know a bit more about them before we go to stay at their homes or let them into ours. I dont think that people would steal from me regardless but it would be useful to know what kind of person it is. And ofcourse if they do steal people’s valuables i would like to know.

    Couchsurfing recently added a new rule. Any user that suggests a romantic relationship with another will get banned. Ofcourse conditions apply and couchsurfing is a bit capitalistic nowadays and behave in the way that will make them grow and make profit. So while it is perhaps not the best to copy, it does provice useful information about the target audience. Basically it tells us that this is the kind of stuff that people worry about the most. Creepy guys who hope to get laid.

    I think this platform would benefit greatly from including references and make it a bit more clear that there are actually some rules. Perhaps not as strict as CS but just to make clear to everyone that “OK guys this is not a short term dating site, just go to tinder if you want to sleep with strangers”. Everyone would benefit from it.

    Either way thanks for the helpful post! Just linked to it in one of my own posts if anyone wants to check it out. It’s a list of a few simple things anyone can do to make travelling cheaper and more environmentally sustainable.

    • CS has a long history of refusing to remove sexual predators and refusing to provide any information about the known risks using the site. The “new rule” has not led to banning people who have negative references for their sexual conduct.

  7. This comparison lacks several several major aspect about the hospitality exchange platform.

    It’s quite important to identify the audience. WarmShowers for example is only for bicycle touring audience to give them an opportunity to stay for free for a night or two. Motorist, hitchhikers, and others are out of place there.

    Also there is no mention about how each site vets hosts and guests.

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