The question “what is Homestay.com?” is a very popular one among people looking for vacation hosting online and among international students. I will address that question and more in this review.
Homestay.com is a platform on which guests seeking accommodation can connect with willing local hosts in destinations all around the world. Homestay.com boasts a selection of over 55,000 homestays spread across 160 different nations around the world.
You have ample choice, and Homestay.com also attempts to match prospective guests with hosts that share similar interests so as to make the experience worthwhile for both parties.
One major benefit of staying in a hosted home is that you get to interact with the natives. You get to learn about their culture, language, beliefs, cuisine, faith, predominant sports, educational system, and a whole lot more.
Home sharing is the driving principle of Homestay.com. The website features a broad selection of quality rooms available at budget-friendly prices. Basically, on this platform, hosts get the opportunity to rent out their spare rooms and spaces to guests from all around the world.
Homestay.com was founded in 2013, and so it is a fairly new addition to the travel website industry, as compared to some other well-established travel websites. However, it is making quite a name for itself, and gathering some really great reviews. The homestay rental company was founded by Tom Kennedy (a co-founder of Hostelworld.com), and Debbie Flynn (of the Irish Education Partners & Star Hostels Group), both travel industry veterans.
The vision behind the creation of Homestay.com, as displayed on the website is quite simply “taking an offline industry online and making homestays and private room rental a popular accommodation choice.” And the company has been doing just this, and building quite a track record. Since inception, the travel company has had over 200,000 guests from more than 195 nations around the world. More than 750,000 nights have been booked, with an average stay duration of 12 nights. Over 2.5 million messages have been sent between guests and hosts on the website.
More than 35,000 guests have reviewed their stays with Homestay.com’s hosts, and over 90% of these guests have rated the site at 4 stars or more. With more than 4,000 reviews on TrustPilot, Homestay.com is rated at 8.5 over 10. Finally, quite impressively considering the surrounding factors, the average host earns about $1500 per year.
WHAT IS A HOMESTAY?
Homestay.com differs from most other travel websites in that only actual homes with resident owners willing to put up with travelers are listed.
Basically, a homestay is an opportunity for a traveler to stay with a local family in his/her travel destination for a fee. This accommodation alternative is affordable and comfortable. It works for travelers of all ages and works of life. Interns, those studying abroad, gap year students, and anyone that wants a real feel of the destination can choose a homestay. It’s a wonderful way to come face-to-face with the culture and local community of that location.
Hosts on Homestay.com have their own hobbies and interests, and every so often, guests are able to find hosts that share like interests with them. This is the beauty of the homestay experience. Hosts can help guests find their way around, orientate them about the area, or show them the great places to eat.
Like a lot of other travel websites, Homestay.com encourages its users, both guests and hosts, to leave reviews stating their experiences with the site, so that new comers to the community can benefit from these opinions. Guests can review their stay, and hosts are allowed to reply to these reviews.
Homestay.com has set up some guiding rules and principles to ensure that the core values of the site are promoted at all times. The desire of the company is that customers grow to have complete faith in their fairness and integrity. Homestay.com customers are encouraged to leave genuine and honest reviews that are concise and descriptive, and would be helpful to future guests and hosts.
Homestay.com recommends that guests review the hospitality and housekeeping of the home, the amenities in the area, the location, as well as whether or not their expectations were met, in order to foster an atmosphere of transparency and trust.
HOSTING ON HOMESTAY.COM
Hosts on Homestay.com get to make a little extra cash while they welcome people from all around the world into their home. The onus is upon them to ensure that the guests have a great homestay experience, so that they can secure good reviews and thus attract new guests to their homes.
Hosts on Homestay.com have to consider the following factors so as to make their homes attractive to prospective guests on the site:
Obviously, the price of a homestay would be the key factor that would draw in or repel guests. Hosts should endeavor to glance through the prices of other hosts in their area, and set their price lower for their first few bookings. After a number of good reviews from guests, a host may then consider raising the price bar a notch. Weekly and monthly prices should be included if homeowners are open to long-term hosting.
The importance of visuals in drawing guests cannot and should not be underplayed. Photos are basically the only thing that guests have to go by if they want an idea of what your home is really like. Hosts should take time to get great photos of their homes. The photos should be homely, well-focused, clear and bright.
Hosts on Homestay.com have to give details about their homes, guest bedrooms, and themselves. The whole idea of homestays is that guests know what to expect if they choose to stay in your home with you. The “Meet Our Host” section lets hosts briefly introduce themselves to their potential guests.
The sooner a host responds to a guest, the more likely the guest is to book their home. Message and request notifications are sent to hosts via email and SMS. As guests are encouraged to message more than a single host when seeking a homestay, you are likely to miss out on the booking if you don’t reply promptly. When you notice that the same question is getting asked by different guests, you will do well to include that information in your profile. Don’t hesitate to also ask your guests questions that would help you deduce their expectations.
As a host, proper management of your calendar is a key way to increase your guest requests. In fact, hosts may get suspended for constantly declining guests while their calendar is still up and running. It is important that hosts block inconvenient days and dates out of their calendars so as not to mislead anyone.
It is important that hosts set ground rules so that guests will understand how they are expected to conduct themselves during their stay. Certainly, all the rules may not be known until one has hosted guests for the first time. Think about just how much you are willing to tolerate, and state it all there.
No doubt, a homestay is one of the best ways to discover the similarities and differences between life at home, and life at your destination. You get to relate with locals, who are more than willing to help you navigate the environment. It doesn’t matter if you’re visiting a remote location or a buzzing city, if you stay with a host, you are more likely to have a homely stay. A hosted vacation experience ensures that you get a warm travel experience.
Homestay.com also aims to help local communities gain from large-scale local events, deal with accommodation shortages, and ensure that prices stay affordable.
Homestay.com is all about providing a home away from home. Hosts on the site must comply with the objective of providing qualitative and affordable homestays for travelers’ short- or long-term trips. The fact that the accommodations listed on Homestay.com are all actual homes with the owners present is the main selling point of Homestay.com. Hosts don’t just hand over their keys and go away. They stay and interact with their guests, helping them to settle into the life in that locality.
Another unique feature of Homestay.com is that the site can help you find the perfect host family match to suit your travel expectations or desires. If you plan to cycle around the city, or be involved in the kitchen, there are hosts that would suit you just right, and Homestay.com makes sure you find them.
If you are looking for a private vacation rental that you can have to yourself, then Homestay.com is not for you. The site is also very new, and thus, so many bigger names in the industry have already won the hearts of many. Also, the company does not have the range of choice that some other older sites boast.
Sharing a home with a total stranger can come with its risks and eventualities. Thus, the trust factor is heavily required with Homestay.com.
Homestay.com is a great tool for both guests and hosts, as long as its purpose is completely understood. The site was designed to foster the warm experience of home sharing, and it does just that. The warmth in meeting people of different nationalities on a one-on-one familiarity level is a great experience for hosts and guests alike.