What is BeWelcome?
BeWelcome is a hospitality and culture exchange network. Many members of BeWelcome offer a place to stay overnight to traveling or visiting members or to meet up and show them around their city or region. Free of charge. BeWelcome aims at creating more real social connections in the world and deeper cultural understanding.
BeWelcome was founded and is managed by a team of volunteers from all over the world. Their dream is to create a project that allows everyone to visit a destination through the eyes of local people and to experience the variety of cultures in everyday life – when travelling but also at home. Read up on the BeWelcome history: https://www.bevolunteer.org/about-bevolunteer/history/
Who are the BeWelcome members?
There are many reason why BeWelcome members open up their homes to other members. Members offer a place to stay because they want to support travelers, they would like to gain a deeper insight into other cultures, they are prould of their city or region and like to show people around, like to meet new people and make friends, have them over for dinner, and enjoy good conversation.
Other reasons joining BeWelcome include:
- to meet interesting, open-minded people
- to meet locals and to gain an inside view
- to save money through the offer of real hospitality and unpaid accommodation
- the wish for flexibility and freedom of choice when travelling
- to get contacts, pursue effective networking
- to improve language skills
For more information why members join, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
How safe is BeWelcome?
BeWelcome members open their homes to people they have never met or stay with others while they are travelling themselves. This requires a lot of trust which is often well deserved and the basis for many wonderful hospitality experiences. However, hospitality networks also attract people who want to take advantage of the trust and hospitality of others. We cannot rule out that some members might have bad intentions and sometimes opportunity makes thieves. Additionally, cultural exchange as it takes place through BeWelcome can, from time to time, lead to misunderstandings or personal boundaries being overstepped. Therefore, BeWelcome has implemented several features to help members make informed decisions about who they would like to host, meet or stay with. Additionally, a Safety Team is in place to prevent abuse, to make sure that rules are complied with and to take further steps if they are not.
Read more on our Safety pages.
How is BeWelcome organised?
BeWelcome was founded by former volunteers of Hospitality Club, another hospitality network. Later, ex-volunteers of Couchsurfing, yet another hospitality network, joined as well. These volunteers share the vision of a network that is based on the principles of transparency, openness, and democracy. BeWelcome is not in competition with other hospitality networks but sees itself part of a larger hospitality movement, where different organisations may have different priorities or focus.
BeWelcome is run by BeVolunteer, a non-profit association registered in France. BeVolunteer is the legal organisation behind the BeWelcome project. BeVolunteer is a volunteer-run organisation with yearly elections for the Board of Directors. It offers the members different possibilities to take part in shaping the organisation. In principle all members of BeWelcome can also become members of BeVolunteer whose members have voting rights and can also run for the Board of Directors.
The software that is used to run BeWelcome is open source software, or free software. This means everyone is able to have a look at the source code and submit changes. The software is released under a GPL license. BeWelcome is the first non-profit hospitality network based entirely on open source software.
BeWelcome facts and figures
- February 2007: BeWelcome is launched as the first non-profit open source hospitality network
- August 2007: 1,000 members
- October 2008: 5,000 members
- July 2009: 7,000 members
- October 2010: 9,700 members
- November 2011: 15,000 members
- May 2012: 20,000 members
- May 2013: 40,000 members
- June 2015: 80,000 members
- April 2016: 90,000 members
- May 2017: 100,000 members
- June 2019 120,000 members
- June 2020 130,000 members
- November 2021: 175,000 members
- November 2022: 215,000 members
- November 2023: 200,000 members (after a clean-up of inactive members)
For up-to-date statistics please check the statistics page.
Get in touch with BeWelcome
We have several members you can contact to ask questions about BeWelcome. Please feel free to sign up and contact members yourself or post a message in the forum. We also have a pool of volunteers in different countries who are happy to share their experiences with you. Alternatively, you can also speak to one of the BeVolunteer members or members of the Board of Directors.
For more information please contact us. You can also visit http://www.bewelcome.org/about/feedback, choose media inquiry, send your message and wait for a response from a BeVolunteer/BeWelcome volunteer.