Guest Post from Etienne, an experienced house swapper from France, and an ambassador for GuesttoGuest.
GuesttoGuest was launched in 2011. In early 2015, they decided to associate some members to an ambassador program, which started in June 2015. The aim of this program is to help the website to develop, on a volunteer basis, in our free time (for instance, I’m primary teacher in my « real » life 🙂 ).
So in Spring 2015, GTG asked me and some other members who were active with them on social networks and by mail, etc. if we wanted to be ambassadors. I agreed and began at this time. We now have about 25 members in this program. Some are really involved and help every day, others are only there sometimes, every one give a hand as he can. We are mainly French speaking (from France and Belgium), but also Spanish speaking (From Spain and Argentina).
Here are the main actions we do to help the website :
We answer on the live tchat system, on left bottom of the website (« Need help » red button). Each person who arrives on the website or who’s browsing it can ask us for advice, questions, explanations and details etc. We answer directly and in real time. The tchat is available 24/7, even on weekends when the office in Paris is closed.
We collaborate closely with the pro team. We communicate almost every day with the pro team to help improve the website (or applications). For examples, we report bugs, we share ideas that members on the tchat give us, and we offer some proposals for new functions. When there is a big update (like a new messaging system or function), we run some tests in preview, and we can give some feedback to the tech team.
We administrate the members’ Facebook Group: A while ago GuesttoGuest launched a Facebook group, which is a complement to the website. It helps members to contact a lot of others members with only a post, to offer a home or to search for a period (ideal for last minute search for example). This group is now composed of thousands of members, so we help the team to deal with it. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1184798394872698/
We also organize events. Guesttoguest complements it’s online presence with meet-ups about home exchange, mainly in France, but also sometimes in Spain (there was one in Belgium and in Canada too in 2017). Those events are either organized entirely by the website’s team if they don’t have any ambassador in the city where they want to do the event, or in collaboration with us if it’s in our area. For example, I’ve organized already 2 « Guestnights » in my Normandy area, and a third one is coming soon. About 10 events are planned in 2018. Those events help new members learn how the website works and for experienced members to meet other swapers, make some contacts, discuss and share about their favorite holidays program. 🙂
We also promote the website in media on the team’s proposal. Sometimes we just make some testimonies about our experiences for the GTG’s internal communication: blog, social medias (Instagram, Facebook etc). We also respond to requests from external media like local newspapers, TV, websites like this one, radio, travel fairs etc. For example in July 2016, I did a radio interview about home exchanging in my area, and in autumn 2017 I participated in a collaborative fair called « Share Paris ».
It’s a real pleasure for me to help the website’s team which is so devoted to make its members happy. The story is far from ending, we have a lot of new projects to help both all the website members and the team to grow.