On March 1 GuesttoGuest changed the way they calculate the point value of homes. GuestPoints are the currency this home exchange network uses house swapping. Everyone fixes on a value for a night in their home, and earns points by hosting guests. And then members spend those points staying at other people’s houses. I’ve written about the challenge of setting the points values for homes. My conclusion is that the value of a night should be the same across all homes. But that’s not how it works on the main points-based networks.

GuesttoGuest’s announcement summarized: “Today, homes are evaluated based on their location, number of guests they can receive, and the amenities included in the home.” Their logic for this change (I’m not entirely sure what has changed) is interesting:

We have observed that some members receive much fewer requests than others due to the fact that their homes cost too many GuestPoints per night. For example, a GuesttoGuest member in Brittany named Soazig says, “my home was valued at 320 GuestPoints. This put the breaks on the amount of requests I received. In fact, a new member with only 750 GuestPoints could hardly stay two nights in my home. GuesttoGuest suggested that I lower my home’s value to 200 GuestPoints per night. One week later I finalized an exchange that allowed me to gain 600 GuestPoints!“

With the original calculation system, some members had a lower chance of receiving guests than others.

Therefore, in order to make the search for an exchange easier and to re-establish the balance between our members, we have re-engineered the calculations in regards to the attribution of GuestPoints. The new system will be better distributed and will allow all homes to find an exchange more easily!

Members will be able to raise their GuestPoints up to 30 points higher than the site’s recommended amount.

There’s no reason Soazig couldn’t have lowered the points value of her home on her own. But apparently this does not occur to some people. And I do respect GuesttoGuest’s attempt to engineer a system that will encourage more exchanges.

My home was originally valued at 80 points per night by the GuesttoGuest calculation and I was getting plenty of swap offers. Under the new system it will be lowered to 73 points per night. According to my quick search of other homes in my city, most that are my size or smaller are still listed for a higher points value. There is something about the algorithm that I don’t understand. I would like a bit more transparency, but I think a 30 point range for my house is plenty. However, if you’re home is valued at 250 points, a range of 30 is far less variability.

I’m guessing most people won’t really notice the change. However, I hope GuesttoGuest will let us know if they see a correlation between this new calculation and the number of exchanges happening.