Q: What is Horizon?
A: Horizon helps travelers find places to stay with people they trust.
Q: How does it work?
A: Login with your Facebook account, then join groups whose members you are interested in connecting with in person using group unlock codes. Once past the onboarding screens, you can find members by location who are connected to you through mutual friends and groups. When you find someone, you may ask them whether they are available to host during your visit. If they accept and you stay with them, you’ll have the option to say thank you by making a donation. Note that hosts can enable and disable visibility of their accommodation details based on their level of connection to you and for specific groups.
Q: What about sublets?
A: We realized an incredibly strong need for finding accommodations within trusted networks was sublets/roommates. Thus, we support posting prolonged stay opportunities. We connect the host and renter directly; it’s then up to you to arrange final details offline.
Q: What’s with the name?
A: As you know, a horizon is where two things meet – and, in our case, it signifies two people coming together. The name also alludes to broadening your “horizon” by experiencing the world with your own eyes.
Q: How do I get Horizon on Android?
A: It’s ready! You can download the app here.
Q: Why do I have to pay service fees when I donate?
A: We are passionate about enabling you to connect to community wherever you go and raising money for great causes; the intersection of these two things we like to call travel by giving. We feel the best way to sustainably facilitate these two things is through operating Horizon as a for-profit business. Using technology that allows us to provide great experiences to the largest number of people requires significant investment, upkeep, and innovation as new technologies arise.
If you are a member of a community on the enterprise plan, all your transactions will be waived for stays with other members of that specific community.
Q: How much do I have to donate?
A: In our early testing, travelers are donating $7 per night on average. That said, you can donate as much or as little as you’d like.
Q: Why should I donate through Horizon rather than donating direct?
A: By all means, donate in whatever way you prefer! We have paired travel and charitable giving with Kiva. In the future, we plan to track your overall impact, which includes donations made traveling as well as those resulting from hosting.
Q: Why do I have to pay credit card processing fees?
A: Please see our costs and fees page.
Q: Why is Horizon supporting Kiva?
A: One of Horizon’s co-founders, Drew Meyers, has been a microfinance supporter since learning about Kiva in 2007. He and his friend Jerry co-founded a microfinance blog (myKRO.org) since 2008. Beyond that, finding other microfinance advocates while traveling is one of the core pain points Drew experienced while traveling that ended up leading to the creation of Horizon. Additionally, one of our advisors, Sloane Davidson, served as a Kiva Fellow (KF8) in the Philippines.
Q: What is a community?
A: A community is a trusted network of people, and source of potential hosts to stay with while traveling. Common communities include facebook friends, friends of friends, or group which users are affiliated with such as a fraternity, fellowship, or university alumni association.
Q: What type of communities is Horizon for?
A: Any community in which members desire to connect in person. Examples include service organizations, religious organizations, professional trade associations, and alumni associations. The ideal community has a large geographic diversity of members.
Q: Which communities are available?
A: Beyond the “publicly available groups” available on our web version, the only communities that are available inside Horizon are ones we’ve specifically created for communities or groups whose administrators have reached out to us. There are several unlock codes located here and here. If you’d like a group created, please let us know.
Q: I want Horizon for my community. How do I enable that?
A: Ask by email - send the desired name of the group, and what you want the “unlock code” to be. We’re then happy to create a group for you that you may share with other members. Example social media posts can be found here.
Interested in additional features or analytics for your community? Read up on our premium offering
Q: Horizon is NOT…
A: Couchsurfing or AirBnB.
Given Horizon’s product is fundamentally about people and not places, we’re closer to Couchsurfing than AirBnB, but there is certainly overlap with both – particularly with our support for sublets in communities such as travel nurses.
The big difference is Horizon facilitates existing trust, rather than creating new trust. It’s no secret the biggest barrier to growth for both AirBnB and Couchsurfing is trust.
Couchsurfing is a single hospitality exchange network (the largest, but not the only), while Horizon enables hospitality exchanges to take place among members of any existing trusted community. Longer version.
AirBnB is a peer to peer accommodation marketplace allowing individuals to monetize their couches, rooms, or homes by renting to anyone with an AirBnB profile and credit card, while Horizon enables you to host only people from your trusted networks in your home, with the ability for those travelers to say thanks by donating to your charity of choice. Longer version.
Q: How does Horizon make money? A: We’re planning a model similar to Meetup.com. Public groups will be free, but those managing private groups (over a certain number of members) will require a subscription for premium features, and to manage very large groups (and sub-groups).
Some of our early thinking on the “enterprise” group offering can be found here.
Q: Why not make money from advertising, and make everything free? A: We’re not interested in building an advertising model. To the extent that we incentive people to spend more time using Horizon’s product (we call that the time suck economy), we fail. The fundamental product goal is to get people OFF the screen, and to experience the world face to face.
We believe those using and receiving value from the product should be the ones that support the business.
Q: I don’t want to login with a Facebook account - what are my options?
A: Logging in with a Facebook account is currently required to use Horizon. This results in a better experience by enabling us to show you friends and friends of friends. We understand individuals have varying privacy concerns, and we aim to have a way for people to utilize Horizon without using Facebook down the road.
Q: Why does clicking contact open an in-app message sometimes, and opens an email other times?
A: In-app messaging only works if both people have the newest version of the iOS app or have recently logged into our web version. If you click contact on a profile and you’re directed to email, it means that either the other person has only logged into the web app, or they have not upgraded their iOS version to the latest release (version 1.5+).
Q: How are the counts next to cities calculated?
A: The counts are the number of unique facebook friends, friends of friends, and common group members that have logged into Horizon.
Q: How do I expand my possible places to stay?
A: Join groups, and invite your friends by extending an invite to those you already trust. There is certainly no requirement to reciprocate, but extending an invitation to your own home to others is the best way to get them to open their home to you, and increase the coverage of potential places to stay in unique cities and countries all across the globe.
Q: Why do only some of my Facebook friends show up?
A: Two reasons. First, we only display friends we can associate with a specific locations - some people do not fill out their “lives in” field on Facebook, or have it restricted so other sites cannot access it. Second, Facebook only returns your friends that are also using the Horizon app.
Q: Why are accommodation details not available on all profiles?
A: Visibility of accommodation details is controlled per community from your settings. Please realize different people have different living situations. Some have an extra bedroom, or couch - while others live in a tiny studio. Some have a significant other who isn’t a huge fan of house guests, or may have kids. Regardless of whether they have made their accommodation details visible, you can still contact trusted connections for travel advice, coffee, or a meal.
Q: How do I edit my profile?
A: The profile photo and name are pulled from Facebook. You can edit your bio from the web version here or from settings on iOS. Your accommodation details are currently editable via settings on both web and iOS. We plan on making more of the profile customizable, but haven’t prioritized that work yet.
Q: I work for a 501(c)(3) charity, and would like to enable travelers to donate directly from Horizon. How do I do so?
A: Please get in touch, and we’ll get back to you with further details.
Q: I love Horizon’s ability to strengthen community and increase donations, and want it to exist for my non profit organization, college, or university. Can we create a branded solution?
A: Yes. Contact us for details