This policy covers the criteria needing to be followed in order for all hosts to feel and be, both, fairly treated and valued. All projects and processes must consider the following criteria. This policy is laid out to ensure that all of our hosts best interests are always put at the forefront of decisions made in Withlocals as a key stakeholder.
Hosts Being Valued
Open Communication & Fostering Belonging
Keeping communication lines open is important for both fostering belonging and reducing issues around miscommunication. We have set out a criteria to allow us to understand when we must engage hosts:
Understanding how much a project influences hosts:
High > This will change the day to day of how all hosts works and interact with Withlocals (EG: moving to frameworks, changes to cancelation policy, or moving to open itineraries in lieu fixed itineraries, fundamental changes in how availability is managed)
Medium > Has considerable influence on many but not all hosts (EG Airbnb Project, changes on how we work with certain partners). Some hosts may not notice or may not be influenced by this change.New rules around joining new itineraries, performance rewards/recognition.
Low > Minor changes to all or most hosts, but it could go unnoticed. New material being released at the education center, newsletter now going out to hosts. Introducing minor new features or removing features with low usage rates.
None > Does not directly influence the host - more company or guest facing projects
Each project needs to have an assessed impact level. This will be a judgment call. With time, we can better define criteria for this. If unsure, discuss internally with relevant stakeholders (e.g. community management, operations, host tools).
When releasing new products/projects/processes, the following steps should be considered.
Communication of new product/project/process released that impacts hosts. Ensure timely and clear communication of new projects. Methods of communication can include: Email, text, in app notifications, slack channels, in-person or virtual community chats, newsletter, Withlocals IG and Host Live Stream. For high/medium influencing releases, consider using multiple channels.
Feedback avenues on project releases > Utilize methods of gaining feedback on releases.
High - Ensure maximum reach with forms integrated into website with app notification, utilizing community channels, email and other outreach methods
Medium - Forms attached to a preferred communication channel
Low Ensure support is open for feedback through email, tracking methods should be made available.
Feedback & communication guidelines:
High influence > All Stakeholders should be given the opportunity to provide feedback in the ideation phase. If the initiative receives objections from 50% or more of the addressable community, it should be revisited.
Medium influence > Stakeholders should be informed prior to release. Stakeholder consultation is recommended.
Low > Stakeholders should be informed prior to or soon after release. (for certain things it may not be required to put a specific information release, consider putting through to the newsletter.)
1 - Host Income
To ensure we are in-line with each market’s local standards of price increases, and that our hosts are able to earn a fair and equitable income, we should maintain a high level of pay empathy for each market. To ensure this, a model was developed to check, city by city:
- Annual inflation rate in the city
- CPI (Consumer price index) increases on basic goods annually on a city level
- Minimum wage adjustments done by the government (where applicable)
The above checks are deemed sufficient to validate our host hourly fees per city for both licensed and unlicensed hosts.
This check should be run annually and fees adjusted accordingly for all hosts.
2 - Independent Project Compensation
Hosts are often asked to join in projects for Withlocals and contribute time, effort and knowledge. We must be aware to compensate hosts for their services when asked to do work outside just regular hosting. This compensation may be financial or otherwise in nature, but must be fair and reasonable.
> Anything that will take a host 30 mins or more should receive hourly rate or more.
> Hosts do not need to be offered pay for - Focus Groups, Surveys, Chats, Information Gathering for learning center (interview, quotes). If they are going to take less than 30 minutes. However it should be very clear that their contribution is completely voluntary and will help improve Withlocals. Please consider a motive if input needed, donating to a host's chosen charity at random for example.
Hosts being Fairly Treated
Fair Access to Opportunities.
Withlocals strives to award hosts based on their engagement, participation and success. Withlocals does not show any favoritism towards hosts, opportunities are given based on a fair criteria:
What criteria should be considered when giving a host an opportunity for more work.
- Review rating (9 or above)
- Low Cancellation Rate (<1.5%)
- Availability (check calendar/schedule)
- Account status (set to active)
What criteria should not be considered when providing a host with an opportunity
- Personal Connection or Recommendations
- Age, gender, ethnicity - unless there is a specific cultural objective that requires any of these to be considered
- Due to success of previous project participation (leads to always choosing the same people)
- Returning of favors
Withlocals should consider those with intrinsically less access to opportunities, such as women, youth, disabled, LQBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and ensure they are considered and provided the right resources in order to gain fair opportunities.
If multiple hosts come up as options based on above criteria, and there are only limited opportunities at the time. To enable fairness, use a randomizer in order to select the host/s.
Fair Opportunities for Bookings
Withlocals wants to ensure to award those hosts that create positive contributions with more access to bookings, but this must be carried out always in a fair way.
When we will never prioritize hosts for bookings with this criteria
> Age, Ethnicity, Gender
> Personal Connection
> Favor Returning
When Withlocals does award hosts with priority to bookings.
> Review rate
> Low cancellation rates
> Availability at the time of booking
> Guest preference or criteria
> Participation in learning center courses
Providing hosts with booking benefits as an award should always be reasonable, if in doubt please consult the DEI team. Ensure to continue to be transparent around this, everyone should understand the criteria of when and why certain hosts are given preferential treatment to bookings. Ensure feedback loops are in place if this process needs to be revised.
Fair Cancellation & Transfer Policies
Ensure our cancellation and transfer policies are fair and equitable. Always remember that life happens and we should be fair and consistent.
When a host cancels, we should always assume best intentions and give the hosts the benefit of the doubt. Assume they canceled for a good and valid reason. Our communication aimed at hosts post-cancelation should take this into consideration.
Should we penalize hosts for repeat cancellations, we must ensure that our penalties are fair, consistent and transparently communicated to all hosts.
Ensuring that the way we manage transfers is fair and equitable allowing all hosts an equal and fair chance at receiving a transferred booking. Our transfer system should aim to eliminate bias and favoritism both on the part of Withlocals and the transferring host, all the while ensuring that the guest receives the best possible experience.
Non WLO Hosts are Withlocals hosts too
It is imperative that our community feels fairly treated. This applies to host offer hosts only as well. We should ensure that host offer only hosts are equally engaged and served as part of our community. Constant communication targeting and relevant only to WLO only alienates host offer hosts and pushes them farther from the community.
Examples of when H/O Hosts to be Considered (Not limited to)
> Payment Processes Updates
> Website appearance changes
> Reach out to hosts for social media content
> Release of new projects in which we need host input