Can Couchsurfing Right their Sinking Ship?

CouchsurfingI hope so.

A few months ago, I wrote a post on Tnooz detailing some steps CouchSurfing should take to revive their community. Ignoring the obvious rifts in the community and staying the course clearly wasn’t a viable option. My recommendation was to fire all their top execs, hire leaders from within the community, and then go on a full on roadshow.

This past Friday, their CEO Tony Espinoza stepped down.

I want to be very very clear on my stance on CouchSurfing, so there is no confusion.

The Couchsurfing hospitality movement is awesome, and has been for a long time. I know many, many people who have surfed all over the world and developed amazing friendships as a result. I’ve attended several meetups abroad, and met great people at them. I’m a huge fan of what Couchsurfing has stood for for a long, long time.

Oh Hey World is focused on connecting like minded people in person…regardless of what they believe in, or which websites they use or don’t use. We’re not out to make CouchSurfing go away. Far from it. In fact, I’d love to help Couchsurfing succeed by connecting surfers/hosts who are still passionate about it in a more efficient way while they travel.

As I mentioned in my original post, I still believe a roadshow is the only way to get the wheels back on the track. Someone at the top of the organization who is 100% committed to righting the ship needs to go talk face to face with the former diehard supporters, and win them back over. As such, I created a “community” page on Oh Hey World for Couchsurfers who wish to give suggestions as to how to bring the magic of the movement back and are open to speaking to others who feel the same way. The Couchsurfing community can use the group page as you see fit. If you want any of the content on it modified, I’m happy to do so – just send me an email (drew at ohheyworld). If you want to use some other platform, group, website, or app to organize yourselves and provide feedback to CouchSurfing — then that’s totally fine too.

The page can be accessed HERE.

Of course, I have no idea what is happening inside the Couchsurfing walls to know how employee moral is, as I’m not a part of the organization nor am I an active member of their community. I truly hope Couchsurfing figures out a way to right their ship. As of now, it looks bleak from the outside.

But don’t listen to me. Listen to the Couchsurfing community members (and here and here).

Note: To use the community page, you’ll have to sign into Oh Hey World, check-in to a city, and THEN visit the Couchsurfers community page. We’re currently working through the UI/UX/Design – we’ll end up with an intuitive flow focused on communities and not the check-in…but we’re not there yet.

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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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