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My friend Jouni came to London to attend a conference. He stayed in my spare room and used a spare desk space / internet connection at my office (small company with 6 people). He was able to go to his conference and hang out with us in the evenings, without having to pay the crippling cost of a hotel
Because his business area is similar to ours (he's in computer games, we're in live performance) there was lots of unexpected cross-fertilisation (let's call them 'network benefits') - the exchange of ideas, contacts, techniques, problem-fixes, conversation. The trip was worthwhile both for him and for us.
Of course he'd do the same for any of us if we needed it. But what about an exchange site (similar to the spirit of house-swapping sites, or ebay) that let this work with anyone ? I.e. in exchange for hosting (i.e. room + office space) people from the site, you could take business trips anywhere in the world for only the cost of flight and meals. People would have to be introduced to the site by a friend, so you could maintain a kind of 'six-degrees' trust network, and bolster that with ebay-style reports or maybe a credit system (1 hosting day = 1 credit).
Of course this would be great for individuals or companies with limited resources. But the money's not the point - it's the freedom, the network benefits, and having a social introduction to a city rather than the alienated, sanitised hotel experience.
We thought this might be baked, but a quick search found nothing *quite* like this. So I thought I'd consult the venerable bakery...
Wikitravel: Hopsitality exchange
Without the technology/social networking angle - still, there's probably quite a large overlap between hosts, travelers, and network-savvy people. [jutta, Sep 05 2005]
||Agreed, very neat... But I don't see M$ loaning office/bed space to someone from Google or vice verse, tho. Great for small disperate outfits/cultures, though.
||[bumhat]Smart website, BTW.
||Perhaps it could be sponsered by the conference-organizers or locations? Wembley... Frankfurt Messe, etc... It'd cut the throat of the large (and small) hotel groups...
||Very good idea [bumhat], and ditto on your website; one of the best looking (and working) and cleanest I have seen in ages.
Happy Halfbirthday as well.
||+ for making the world seem a bit smaller.