Homestays have always been popular in tourist destinations. Homestays provide a warm and welcoming environment to travellers, as they are away from home. Usually, a homestay business is run by house owners with extra space or a room. House owners make this space a hospitable stay for guests and charge a specific amount of money. So, if you are a house owner with an extra room or area in your home, this article will help you monetise that extra space into a homestay business.
Did you know?
India still needs 2.5 million homestay businesses according to a survey in the year 2020.
Here are 6 Ways to Monetise Your House for a Homestay Business
What is a Homestay Business?
Homestay business is different from a regular hotel or hostel. It's where a resident of a town or city chooses to rent out a spare bedroom or space in their homes and monetise it. Tourists who are travelling from various regions get to enjoy a glimpse of the culture and hospitality of the area by staying there. Homestays are unique since they offer scenic locations, bed and breakfast, and a realistic view of the everyday life of that region. Many homestays have a lower carbon footprint, and for this reason, they are perfect for those travelling solo and even family trips.
Documents You Need for Starting Your Homestay Business
Before you get to work on your homestay business plan and start making an income, you have to submit the following documents to authorities:
- Proof of ownership of homestay.
- Your homestay plan proposal.
- Police Clearance Certificate.
- Photographs of your property from different angles, including interiors.
- Plan and elevation data of the building.
- A location plan to show how the roads connect to the building and what nearby amenities the homestay has access to.
Risks Involved in Running a Homestay Business
No homestay business is perfect, and you have to prepare yourself for every possible outcome. There may be times when guests damage your property, and you'll have to levy additional expenses. Good internet access is essential for your guests, but if your homestay is located in a remote area, get a dependable internet portal. It's recommended to partner with a reputed internet service provider and ensure that the connection doesn't break.
Another challenge is getting fake reviews on your website, Google, and social media pages. Your competitors might not like your revenue growth and post fake content about you. Social media drama is not uncommon, and sometimes, even customers may leave nasty remarks. If you kicked a customer out because of unruly behaviour, they might leave bad reviews about your business and spread rumours online. You cannot control these things, and there's simply not enough time to do that. When marketing your homestay online, you have to post high-quality images and videos to attract your customers. Most of them are active on Instagram and Facebook, so you'll risk missing out if you're not active on these platforms.
How to Start a Homestay Business?
Suppose you have a large space, even better. You need a spare room in your apartment or villa to be rented out to guests. Some homestay businesses follow a simple model where the landlord rents out the living room or a bedroom with an attached bath. At the same time, others can be lavish and rent out a whole floor or house to guests.
Every homestay business has to acquire the appropriate licences from the state to rent or lease out their premises. For this, you will need to submit an application form to the tourism department of your region with all the necessary documents. For these licences to be granted, some standards have to be met, such as essential amenities, room dimensions, safety measures, etc. If the property doesn't belong to you and is rented, the landlord of the homestay has to be informed before making the homestay application.
3. Customer Service
Your customers will make a big difference in whether or not you get future clients for your homestay business. Please pay attention to their reviews and feedback and focus on improving your overall customer service. You can't be perfect like hotels and restaurants. Still, common areas you can improve on are resources such as providing high-speed internet, clean drinking water, and a peaceful low-noise environment to guests. If you don't have a lift in your residence, be honest and let your guests know beforehand. It's the little things that matter.
You should inform guests if certain things are not allowed on your premises. Unruly or violent guests can wreck your homestay's reputation if you are not careful. There's a possibility they could damage your property or assets, especially guests who get drunk too often or have an alcohol addiction. Be clear about your boundaries and what's acceptable regarding behaviour. The best guests for your homestay business are usually small families and couples backpacking in that region.
Make sure your homestay's upkeep is done well. A homestay business without well-maintained hygiene is just like a cheap hotel room. Your rooms should be regularly cleaned and organised. Put sanitisers in every room and make sure your wardrobes and other essentials are organised. Don't neglect fire safety and authorities usually lay down hygiene standards. If your homestay is located in a remote area, you can provide travel services or let guests rent vehicles so they can explore the surroundings comfortably.
6. Additional Services
You can provide additional services to your guests for a better customer experience. Some activities guests might enjoy are growing organic vegetables and fruits, visiting nearby aquariums and exploring the nearby surroundings. You can offer to take guests on hiking, trekking, or birdwatching on the weekends to switch things up. If your guests are interested in learning a foreign language or want a culture trip, you can provide them with that at an additional cost. The goal of any homestay business is to make them feel like members of an extended family.
How to Market Your Homestay Business?
Building an online presence is very important for your homestay business since it'll help you to attract more clients. When it comes to your marketing strategy, focus on the best features of your homestay. What amenities and offers do you bring to guests that excite them? Maybe there's a swimming pool in your residence, indoor games arena, special outdoor activities, etc. You can list out the perks of staying in your home, such as exploring nearby surroundings and talking about the location, too.
Make guests want to visit your place and stay there by taking attractive pictures from different vantage points. Post them online on your website and other homestay platforms.
If you choose to advertise your homestay business on tourism portals or websites, you might have to pay a commission fee. However, this is worth it since you can get more engagement and draw in more customers from those sources. Be sure to list out the prices and don't fail to mention any restrictions such as no drinking, smoking, pets allowed, etc.
Homestay business can be a part of your side hustle to grow your finances. Now that you have understood everything about it, get started.