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”
Founded04/2003 (non-profit);
05/2011 (for-profit corporation)
200002/2007 *1993 (list);
2005 (website) *
12/2014; initial talks started 2013.
Legal statusUS C CorporationNo legal status, sole proprietorFrench non-profit associationUS Non-profit 501(c)(3)UK Non-profit Foundation
CommunityVery activeNot activeActiveActiveActive
Members (active and non-active)15M (10/2016)792K (09/2017)104K (9/2017)127K (5/2017)44K (5/2020)
Hosts400K active (2.6%) (10/2016) 24K (23%) (9/2017)53K (52%) (9/2017)8.5K (20%) (5/2020)
WEBSITE VISITORS1.4M (4/2020) no data80k (4/2020)not surenot sure
Open SourceNoNoYesNoYes
About developmentRuby 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. several volunteers.

Feature comparison

Browse by mapNoNoSomewhatYesYes
Interest GroupsYesYesYesNoYes
Discussion areaYesYesYesYesNo
Mobile appsAndroid, iOSNoNoNoAndroid
Mobile friendly siteYesNoYesYesYes

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

22 responses to “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.

    1. 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. Easily solved. Trustroots just needs a subreddit.

  2. Carolyn Vaughan Avatar
    Carolyn Vaughan

    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.

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

  3. Elisabeth Castelijns Avatar
    Elisabeth Castelijns

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

    1. 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.

    2. A reference system is not sufficient to make CS acceptable to me. Since they are for profit, they should be able to hire a web designer with some common sense to re-do that DISASTER. NeXt, they can do something about the high percentage of middle-aged males who will only host females. And third, stop the paranoid fear of a member mentioning any other site.

      One solution to a site with no references is to put links in your profile to your profile on a site that does have references. Of course, CS won’t let you do that, last time I checked (years ago).

  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. […] Comparação de plataformas de Hospitality Exchange. […]

  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.

    1. 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.

      1. I had some issues with guests once, a few young men thinking my place was a free-loading student house without any rules. CS handled it nicely, after some persistent and very clear emails… CS stands for Casual Sex right? But yes, it went down fairly quickly after going commercial.

  7. Just updated some fields regarding

    • Seems like has gone closed source. Waiting for confirmation. At least GitHub repository holds just their previous site and no real code updates for a while anymore and press release doesn’t mention this either.

    • WS announced earlier this month they’ve ditched their native app support and implemented mobile friendly site instead.

  8. 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.

  9. Must disagree on “browse by map.” The map on BW is far better than the map on WS. On WS, you have to wait for a fetch of everything from the database every time you pan or zoom. BW sensibly waits till you get it where you want and click to fetch only those within the viewport. WS choice of terrain make it hard to really see where you are, too, though as a cyclist myself, I understand it may interest some. But it’s of interest in planning a route, not in seeing where a potential friend might be.

    What I feel all these sites need is an easy way for someone eager to host to find people headed their way. I normally end up on AirBNB or in a hostel, for two reasons:

    1. I usually have no long-range plans and when I do, they often end up changing. Many people don’t login every day, if even every week, so a request from me will generally not be seen until too late. And if it is seen, many people will decline because it is too short notice.

    2. Since I am homeless (by choice), I kind of feel like a freeloader asking for lodging when I can’t give back.

    I can put my tentative itinerary in my profile, but there’s no easy way from someone else to search that.

    As a retired software engineer, maybe I could assist in adding something like that.

  10. […] ver um comparativo destes métodos? Leia este post aqui (em […]

  11. […] presence?) and force myself to the uncomfortable random meetings once again meetups, events, Trustroots (much better than CSurfing, smaller, no-profit, open source ? ). Sadly I have no resolution for […]

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