Hospitality Club
Area servedGlobal
OwnerVeit Kühne
Founder(s)Veit Kühne
ServicesSocial networking service
LaunchedJuly 11, 2000; 23 years ago (2000-07-11)
Current statusOffline

Hospitality Club (HC) was a hospitality exchange service (a gift economy network for finding homestays whereby hosts were not allowed to charge for lodging) accessible via a website.


Hospitality Club banner; taken in July 2005 in Monnai, France.

The first hospitality exchange service based on internet technology was in 1992 from Poland, which was later folded to Hospitality Club.[1][2] Hospitality Club was founded in July 2000 in Koblenz, by Veit Kühne.[3][4]

In 2005, a disagreement between some members of Hospitality Club and its founder led to the foundation of BeWelcome.[5] Many HC members, who became distinguished volunteers within Couchsurfing (so-called CS ambassadors), left HC towards CS because of its missing legal status and insufficient management transparency.[6]

In February 2006, Kühne was working full-time on Hospitality Club.[7] In the spring of 2006, the hitherto biggest HC-Party took place in Riga counting 430 participants from 36 countries.[8] As of July 2006, the site had 155,000 members.[9] This number grew by around 1,000 new members a week in 2006.[8]

In 2007, Google Trends search volume for started to decline and was overtaken by the search volume for CouchSurfing.[10] In 2007, HC's specified goals have been to facilitate "intercultural understanding ... bringing people together ... travelers and locals".[11]

In 2008, HC had more than 400,000 members from 200 countries.[3]

In 2012, HC made a partnership with AirBnB, inviting its members to join AirBnB.[citation needed]

In 2013, HC had more than a half of million members from 200 countries.[12]

By 2017, only one third of members were still active.[13]

Maintenance of the portal stalled in 2019, since early 2021 Hospitality Club was unusable, since April 2022 it is not possible to access the website.[14]

Safety measures

Hospitality Club had a reputation system, whereby members left references for others.[8] For added safety, members were encouraged to check each other's passports, although it rarely happened.[3]


  1. ^ Sierra, Mayra Eugenia (2019). Couchsurfing: Un estudio exploratorio de las motivaciones en la experiencia turística (Tesis) (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  2. ^ Koszewska, Julia Maria (2008). Gift, Exchange and Trust.
  3. ^ a b c Baker, Vicky (27 June 2008). "Top 10 hospitality travel sites". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Rodemann, Julian (29 March 2016). "Couchsurfing mit Haken" [Couchsurfing with a hook]. Die Welt.
  5. ^ Baker, Vicky (18 April 2008). "Going local in Caracas, Venezuela". The Guardian.
  6. ^ o'Regan, Michael; Choe, Jaeyeon (2019-04-01). "Managing a non-profit hospitality platform conversion: The case of" (PDF). Tourism Management Perspectives. 30: 138–146. doi:10.1016/j.tmp.2019.02.018. ISSN 2211-9736. S2CID 150755845. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  7. ^ Thomas, Amelia (28 February 2006). "Backstory: Extreme vacation". Christian Science Monitor.
  8. ^ a b c "Freunde in der Fremde" [Friends abroad]. Stern (in German). 27 January 2006.
  9. ^ Stellin, Susan (July 9, 2006). "Go to Strangers (and They'll Come to You)". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Rustam Tagiew; Dmitry I. Ignatov; Radhakrishnan Delhibabu (2015). Hospitality Exchange Services as a Source of Spatial and Social Data?. (IEEE) International Conference on Data Mining Workshop (ICDMW). Atlantic City. pp. 1125–1130. doi:10.1109/ICDMW.2015.239.
  11. ^ Luca, Lucian C. (2007). Staying without paying: Heading towards free tourism (PDF). Budapest: Central European University. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  12. ^ Локша, Анна Владимировна (2013). "О необходимости повышения социальной составляющей молодежного туризма в России". Телескоп: Журнал Социологических И Маркетинговых Исследований (in Russian) (5). ISSN 1994-3776. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  13. ^ "Ein umstrittenes Geschäftsmodell". (in Swiss High German). Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  14. ^ "Der Hospitality Club – ein Nachruf". (in Austrian German). Retrieved 26 August 2022.