Hospitality Industry After COVID-19
- Are you interested in earning a good income by starting a homestay business?
- Then you are at the right place!
- In this article, we will provide you with all the pros and cons of running a homestay business.
What Is Homestay?
- While planning a holiday, the first thing you need to decide is accommodation.
- You need to choose between a hotel, hostel, or a homestay.
- Those who are travelling solo, prefer to stay in a hostel.
- Those who are travelling with their families, usually want to stay either in a hotel or a homestay.
- A homestay is a form of hospitality where guests share the home with a resident of the city or village where they are travelling.
- Less crowd and a taste of rural life are making homestays the most preferred choice of tourists in India.
- Many homestays are located in beautiful locations, in places that are often outside the normal tourist’s radar.
- It can be in the mountains, or a village, or near forts or forests.
- A homestay offers several benefits than a normal hotel like a glimpse into the everyday life of the residents and a lower carbon footprint.
- Many homestays are fully furnished with smart TVs, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.
- One disadvantage of home-stays is that many of them don’t offer Wi-Fi internet services.
- Another point is that there is a fixed time-table for foodservice and room cleaning.
- Himachal Pradesh is emerging as an attractive market for homestays.
- According to sources in the Tourism Department, the number of homestays in the state till the end of 2019 was 2305.
- Other places that are seeing increasing interest from tourists are North Bengal and Kerala.
- It is an excellent low investment business that can also support local tourism.
How To Start A Homestay Business?
- You can start a homestay business with minimum investment and earn some passive rental income.
- The three main factors contributing to the success of this business are the layout, cleanliness, and hospitality.
- Here is a guide on how you can begin a homestay business:
- You can partner with a friend to hire a cottage or a house in your chosen location.
- It need not be very large-even a spare bedroom in your flat can serve the purpose.
- From a minimum of one room to a maximum of six rooms without a restaurant, can be utilised for one homestay.
- You can easily run this business from a home-office.
- All you will need is a laptop with an internet connection and a mobile.
- The Facebook Business page is another tool to help you in this.
- Getting a homestay license for your home or property should be one of your top priorities.
- You have to register with the tourism department by filling up and submitting an application form.
- You also have to take permission from the local panchayats and the police.
- Each state tourism board has its standards for basic amenities, room dimensions, safety protocols, etc. as a basis for granting licenses to homestays.
- Another important criterion for a license is that the owner of the homestay should himself live there with his family.
- If the property is rented, you have to inform the landlord about the sub-leasing and get his approval.
4. How To Promote Homestay?
- Construct an active marketing plan.
- Know who your customers are and how and where to reach them.
- If you provide good service your customers will recommend your homestay to others, and you will get repeat business.
- You should post the feedback and reviews of your guests on your home page.
- Think about your competitive advantage.
- Find what makes your homestay unique, or create exciting activities, and use this to attract guests.
- You can advertise your homestay on online travel portals and get clients through the booking platforms.
- However, you have to pay some homestay commission to these tour operators.
- An online presence is very important and you have to create a unique brand name for yourself.
- It will be good to create a website and provide details such as prices and photographs in it.
5. Keep Systems In Place
- Your homestay should be clean, organised, safe, and well-stocked.
- Provide the cleaning staff with a checklist to ensure that everything is spick-and-span.
- It should provide a healthy and hygienic environment for the guests, and maintain the proper standards as laid down by the regulatory authorities.
- Fire safety is very important, and so is security.
- Since home-stays are often located in remote locations, you should have a vehicle and driver on standby for any eventualities, a guest falling ill for instance.
6. Customer Service
- Look for ways to continuously improve your customer service and solve any problems guests may have.
- Try to look at things from your guest’s perspective.
- For most guests, high-speed internet is a must, and you must provide this facility.
- It is best, to be honest with your guests.
- For example, if they have to climb some stairs to reach the apartment, it is best to give them this information beforehand.
7. Cost Control
- There are several costs in running a homestay.
- You have to keep proper records of income and expenditure.
- Once you know how much it costs you to host guests, you will form an idea about how much to charge for the services.
- Also, try to find out what other similar accommodations are charging before you set your price.
- You should carefully select the guests before allowing them to use your premises.
- Unruly guests who party hard, and those with alcohol or drug addiction, can mar your reputation.
- Small families and groups from a company will be your ideal guests.
Homestay Business Ideas
- If your homestay is located in a hilly area, you can offer trekking services to your guests, to break the monotony.
- Other offbeat activities that the tourists might find interesting are apple picking, growing organic vegetables, etc.
- You have to involve the family members of the local resident whose accommodations you will be using for the homestay.
- The guest has to be made to feel like he is an extended member of the host’s family and experience how they actually live and learn about a foreign culture.
- You need to build a house that has double functions, one as a private home, and second, that can be also used as a lodging.
Risks In Homestay Business
- Running a homestay business is not always a smooth affair; you might have to face some problems.
- There are no telecommunications signals in several villages in India.
- Internet is very crucial for homestay owners to market and promote their business.
- So, you should find a good service provider for this.
- Since this business is highly competitive, some of your competitors might give ‘bad’ or ‘false’ reviews in the guise of guests.
- Some of their associates can post remarks on forums about your homestay stating it to be ‘expensive’ or, having ‘poor service’.
- You can counter these claims by giving your replies on these forums, and asking for proof.
- Lack of proper marketing is another problem from which this business suffers.
- Homestay owners lack the big marketing budgets of large hotel chains to advertise their products.
- To promote this business, you have to employ cost-effective and innovative tools.
- Posting high-quality pictures on Facebook and Instagram of happy guests can beat any costly ad campaign.
Is Homestay A Good Business?
- Homestays are transforming the way people take vacations, and India is no exception.
- Against the backdrop of the pandemic, people have become more aware of the benefits of healthy living.
- They are beginning to prefer homestays over traditional hotels because being close to nature would boost their immunity.
- The Ministry of Tourism has promoted homestays as “ Incredible India-Bed and Breakfast/Homestay establishments” for both domestic and foreign visitors.
- Unlike hotels, which have huge overheads due to high salaries and taxes, the costs of running a homestay are quite low.
Changing Trends In Hospitality Industry
- A good homestay business decision would be to charge 50 percent of the total amount at the time of booking.
- This will protect you from the risk of a guest cancelling his reservation at the last moment.
- Guests have been given importance in India since ancient times, and there is a popular saying called “Atithi Devo Bhava”, meaning guest is God.
- Homestays are fast becoming a popular business option for owners who have extra space in their properties to accommodate travellers.
- It is a profitable and low investment business idea for any smart entrepreneur.
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