Becoming an Australian Servas Host

Many potential Servas hosts hear about Servas from friends and acquaintances who are Servas hosts or travellers. So you are probably already familiar with some aspects of Servas. You can see below for some of the responsibilities expected of you as a Servas host. If you understand and agree with aims of Servas, explained >>here<<  and you now would like to become a Servas host yourself, Servas Australia is now using the Servas International membership system which can be accessed at https://www.servas.org. Once there to create your Servas membership application click the Green “Join Servas” button. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a reply from your regions Host Coordinator usually within a week. They will send you the Servas Host Application form. As part of the membership process you will need to be interviewed, at which time:

  • Your application information and the details you provide can be reviewed.
  • You will learn more of the history of Servas and the way it works at both the international and local levels.
  • You can resolve any questions you may have about Servas and what it is about.

The accommodation that you offer, your interests and other details that you provided with your application will form the basis of your entry in the ServasOnline membership database. ServasOnline is quite new and most countries still create their own host list as a PDF document. An electronic copy of the Australia host list also provided to all Australian hosts.

Hosts pay a $10 membership fee per person per year. If both persons in a couple which to be members it is $20 per year. Fees are used to cover the organisation costs. A portion of fees goes to the Servas International Development Fund which is used to help selected Servas organisations in developing countries.

As mentioned all Australian hosts each receive a copy of the latest host list and also four newsletters a year. The host list PDF is complied at the end of the year from the ServasOnline database. You may update your ServasOnline profile at any time. Membership renewals are conducted annually at the end of the year when renewal notices are emailed out.

Some responsibilities of Servas hosts

  • Provide accommodation for up to two nights’ stay for travellers if such a visit is mutually agreeable. The stay may be extended but only on your initiative.
  • Spend time with travellers to facilitate cultural exchanges that may help to build world peace.
  • Endeavour in all circumstances to make travellers feel welcome and to have enriching and rewarding experiences of their Australian visit
  • Respond promptly to travellers’ requests for accommodation.
  • Verify on arrival that the traveller carries a current Servas Letter of Introduction (LOI).
  • Advise your host coordinator of any difficulty or any unsatisfactory experiences giving full details so that appropriate action (if any) may be taken.
  • Furnish up to date information for inclusion in the next Servas Host List. Advise the membership officer if you want to be deleted from the host list, or if you have any alterations to your details.

Notes:

Hosting is entirely voluntary and you are under no obligation to accept travellers if for any reason it is not convenient. But if you are unable to provide accommodation, you may like to consider contacting other likely hosts to help the traveller find alternative accommodation. Alternativley you could advise the traveller to contact other Servas hosts in the host list that may be suitable, or failing that, contact your host coordinator, who may know of new hosts that are not yet listed in the Servas host list.

You are not obliged to arrange transport for travellers to or from your home but many hosts do help in this way.

No host may confiscate a LOI from what they consider is an unsatisfactory traveller. Confiscation is at the discretion of the Servas Australia president only, after consultation with the relevant host coordinator or travel officer and after taking all the facts into consideration. This action is extremely rare and only undertaken after all due processes. The ultimate sanction taken against an unsatisfactory traveller is the confiscation of their LOI, without which they can no longer travel under the Servas system.

It is a good practice to maintain a visitors’ book of Servas travellers in which names and addresses of the travellers are recorded, along with the date of the visit, their country of origin and applicable comments. Besides being a record of lasting memories and travellers details, numbers of visits are often required for compiling the statistics requested by Servas International.