The contents of this page are a compilation of best practices from different Servas National groups. Final approval for this page is pending approval by the Servas International Executive Committee.
Hosting with Servas has many benefits. It can introduce you to new people and cultures, help build peace and understanding around the world and establish new and long term friendships with people from many cultures.
Note: Although a 2 night stay is the preferred hosting period, as of 2015 Servas allows hosts the option to offer just 1 night of accommodation as their preference.
As a Servas host you have the responsibility to:
- Keep your host information up to date, especially the email address and phone number.
- Reply promptly to every request — even if you are unable to host. Many travellers are waiting for your response before they contact others.
- Provide a comfortable (but not necessarily luxurious) place to sleep for the agreed upon time (one or two nights, as specified in your profile).
- Discuss with your host ahead of time what kind of accommodation, meals, length of stay etc. you can provide, especially if these will be limited in some way. Discussing any special needs or situations ahead of time could make a big difference to the quality of the visit.
- Spend as much time with your guests as is practical for you. Remember that an important goal of Servas is to learn about the country, culture, and life of your guests, while sharing information about your own way of life. Discussion of topics that promote peace and understanding worldwide are important elements of the Servas visit. Be considerate of guests who need time for rest or relaxation.
- Notify the traveller immediately if you are unable to provide accommodation after you have agreed to. Try to find an alternate host, or contact your local coordinator for assistance.
- Not refuse a traveller based on race, religion, or sexual orientation.
As a Servas host you have the right to:
- Decline to host at any time if it is not convenient, or if travellers provide insufficient notification. You are never required to host a guest who shows up without notice.
- Decide whether you will accept travellers as a day host, for one night or two, or invite hosts to stay longer.
- Determine the level of hospitality you provide. Many hosts provide meals, but you can determine whether you will provide meals, allow guests to use your kitchen, or provide no food service. You may provide transportation for sightseeing or to the airport, but are not required to.
- Request that travellers not remain in the house when you are away. Restrict your hosting to “male only” or “female only”.
All hosts have the responsibility to help ensure that Servas can thrive and grow as an organization that remains true to its goals and values by:
- Not accepting any travellers who do not provide you with a current and valid Letter of Introduction (LOI). If they don’t send it with the initial contact, please request it. LOIs must have a stamp and authorisation from an administrator and have an expiry date that is later than the time of their visit.
- Contacting your local coordinator if you receive requests from people who do not provide current LOIs when requested to do so.
- Discussing situations with travellers if they behave in ways that you think do not reflect appropriate Servas values. If you think that the issue has not been resolved, contact your local coordinator.