How to be a helpful guest: Give all possible information in your initial contact.
This is a story of a somewhat frustrating interaction with a potential guest, whose name I have changed.
Here's what he wrote:
Hello Anne & John Schubert,
Hi! My name is [Bill]. I'm a student. I'm in Pennsylvania We came from Toronto by bicycle If you can, we want to stay for a while Thank you!!
Sent from the Warmshowers App for iPhone/iPad
Now: what didn't he tell me?
He didn't tell me his phone number.
He didn't tell me when he wanted to arrive at my house.
He didn't tell me when he would want to leave.
He didn't tell me, within 200 miles, where he was.
He didn't tell me how many people were in his traveling party.
And . . . he didn't call. If he wanted an answer within a day, he should have called. (Not all hosts want phone calls, but I'm fine with them, and my page clearly says so.
This may be difficult to imagine, but I was away from my e-mail for TWO WHOLE DAYS. So when I did respond, here's how I responded:
Hi [Bill], Sorry for the slow reply. I was traveling during the weekend and didn't get to my computer. ;-) I may have to travel on business this week. I won't know until the last second whether I'm going or not. What day or days did you have in mind? How many are in your group? Next week (August 25-29), I'll probably be here the entire time. Will you still be around then? John Schubert
See what's wrong with this? I have to ask [Bill] a bunch of questions to figure out the basic information [Bill] should have provided in his initial contact. This puts the onus on me to figure out if this would work. The guest should make that easy for the host.
I sent [Bill] a subsequent e-mail, telling him I'd be available that week, but never heard back from him.