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In October, layoffs claimed an estimated 40 percent of the staff, and CEO Tony Espinoza announced his departure — giving an opening to competitors like Be Welcome and Hospitality Club.
Although the company has initiated a doubling down on mobile, the experience of users like Riccardo might suggest another path to profitability. The almost decade-old Couchsurfing, which is available in 100,000 cities across the globe, is becoming the go-to hookup app for a certain class of young world travelers.
Today, each of the site’s 7 million members has a unique profile which reads like a personal ad, highlighting interests, locations traveled, details about their accommodations and, most important, references.
This system allows friends you’ve made globally or locally to vouch for you and the unlikelihood of you being a serial killer.
“All of my friends, they love these stories,” Riccardo tells Business Insider over beers in a quiet bar in Midtown Manhattan. I’m like, ‘You know, whatever, we went out, had sex...’ They’re like, ‘No, no, no—tell me when she got there, where you went, did you kiss her, every single detail.’” We had the same questions.Experienced couchsurfing casanovas know to hold off on making a move until later.Your guest is already committed to coming home with you, so why risk the old fashioned approach?Members can request a couch, host a traveler, or find new friends to meet up with locally.Riccardo agrees to host only female travelers and stipulates that they be younger than him.