Home Exchange

My Membership was Deactivated by NightSwapping (and I’m happy about it)

How to Nightswap

In May I received the following email from NightSwapping (formerly Cosmopolit Home), a unique points-based hospitality and home exchange network:

Hello Dawn,

I am Clémence, your NightSwap Coach.

These last few weeks, you have received quite a lot of NightSwap requests which you systematically reject, and it only generates frustration for our members.
Which is why, in line with our NightSwapping policy, your listing has been hidden

The satisfaction of our Nightswappers is our top priority. A simple answer is always welcome, even if it is a negative one, so that our members can organise their trip.

Put my listing back online : [link was included]

*I invite you to complete the calendar of your availabilities in order not to receive requests at time you can’t host anyone.

I remain at your entire disposal for further information.

Best regards,

After a moment of surprise and a bit of indignant anger, (I was quite diligent about responding to every single request I got, plus I just hate the idea that I should be deactivated from any network!) I realized this is a good policy for member satisfaction. In fact, it’s a policy I wish more home swapping networks would take up, or at least some variation on it.

NightSwapping.com

NightSwapping.com

I wrote back to tell them I appreciated this policy. And Marc from Nightswapping responded that I could easily reactivate my account while avoiding requests I can’t accept:

I suggest that you update your calendar then you won’t get request when you are not available to NightSwap.

If you go to your dashboard you can update the calendar of your listing and put it back online : https://en.nightswapping.com/listings

Summer is coming and you might get some requests to host.

I thought my calendar was up to date and I was just getting requests from people who weren’t looking at my calendar. But in fact the folks at Nightswapping were correct: I found their calendar function difficult to use and so I didn’t bother to set available dates. This led to a bunch of requests for dates that I couldn’t host anyone.

 

Nightswapping.com calendar

Because Nightswapping involves members earning points by hosting people both when they are away and when they are still at home, it seems that they expect a higher acceptance rate than a typical home exchange network where members are likely to reject most inquiries because they don’t match travel dates or destinations. This is more in line with the Couchsurfing model of hosted lodging. And if they can get members to keep calendars up to date with what days they can host someone, Nightswapping might actually get a decent acceptance rate.

I do have a few criticisms of this policy. As mentioned above, I find the Nightswapping website’s calendar rather hard to work with. Also, I couldn’t find anything about this deactivation policy on their website, and I really would prefer transparency from my home exchange networks.  But I think they are on to something in terms of active member satisfaction. And this is a complaint I’ve heard from many experienced home exchangers: too many inactive “members” in some of the networks.

What’s the ideal active member policy?

In most networks it doesn’t make sense to deactivate people for rejecting requests.  But I would like to see listings hidden from searches after being completely inactive for a period of time. I see three viable options here that would work for both free networks and those that charge a membership fee:

(1) Display the acceptance rate of each member

(2) Display the response rate of each member

(3) Deactivate people after a long period of complete inactivity on the network

For typical home exchange networks that don’t anticipate a lot of hosted stays I think most swap inquiries will be rejected because they won’t match on date and/or destination. And it seems unfair to me that someone would have a “bad” acceptance statistic just because they have a popular house and get a lot of requests that don’t match their stated preferences. Especially since most home exchange networks don’t have calendars that allow you to distinguish between when you can accept a guest and when you are looking for a simultaneous swap. So I don’t like option #1.

Option 2 is already implemented by some sites  like Couchsurfing and GuestToGuest, which list the response rate of members. This tells you how likely you are to get an answer to your inquiry. But it doesn’t tell you how likely you are to get a positive response. Still, if someone has a 0% response rate, I’m much less likely to reach out to them. It’s possible they are just new (though this can easily be solved by displaying a “member since” date on profiles), but otherwise a zero percent response rate says to me this person is just completely inactive. I would like to see all home exchange networks implement this option.

I also like option 3. I would like to see all those profiles that have a zero response rate, and who have not logged in to their account in a long time (maybe 3 or 6 months), just be automatically deactivated or hidden from searches. This would save active members the time of weeding through and sending requests to people who are never going to respond.

How about it home exchange networks? Is there a reason for not implementing options 2 and 3? I think this would address many complaints from your active and devoted members, presumably the people you are most interested in keeping happy. Feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.

 

 

 

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