10 interesting things I have learnt as a homestay founder

By Varun Arora

New Delhi, Jul 17 (IANSlife): Millenials, also known as generation Y, are a group of people born between 1980 and 1999. They are demanding, daring, and eager to explore the world. Following the pandemic, millenials have embraced local travel, driving down demand for homestays. So, let’s take a look at my learning and adaptability strategies as a homestay founder.

Providing a memorable experience: Millenials have altered the travel landscape by willing to forego branded clothing, an expensive coffee, or even Netflix in order to save money on travel. To meet these expectations, it is critical to provide an authentic experience that makes people feel at ease while enjoying the luxury of a well-designed homestay.

Understanding a customer’s need: Why does a traveller visit your hotel is critical to understanding. Is it the interiors, the local cuisine, the balcony view, or the 24*7 Wi-Fi with an indoor Jacuzzi? Since travellers craved private accommodations with zero intervention, which a luxury villa or homestay provides, demand for homestays and luxury villas has plummeted post-pandemic.

There are no time or space constraints, no shared pools, and the freedom to use the property at the discretion of the traveller. The idea is to tailor offerings to the traveller’s reason for visiting your location. If your homestay is near a wildlife reserve, you should be aware that a traveller chose your homestay, not only because they liked the property, but also because of the forest reserve. As a result, it makes sense to focus on your guests’ interests and create a potential homestay experience.

Communicate with your peers: Working with local homestays, their owners, and travel operators is a great idea. Making beneficial connections will almost certainly lead to better opportunities.

International and domestic travellers are always looking for great safety, hygiene, and cleanliness when visiting a new homestay. Getting the fundamentals right, such as a warm welcome, clean bed sheets, sparkly napkins, and excellent room service, can do wonders for the business. It’s also critical to hire staff with clean credentials and to inform guests if they need to be cautious of their surroundings.

Curating unforgettable experiences: There is a reason why a traveller chooses a homestay over a hotel; they want to connect with the local culture and experience the local people’s traditions, cuisine, and life stories. Curating a homestay that includes lunch at a local’s home, hosting local activities, or arranging a local dance performance with high tea will set your homestay apart.

Communicate: Communication is the key right from sharing perfect GPS locations, checking on guests for any special food requirements or informing them if your homestay is in a network-challenged area. It is always a good idea to provide your guests with emergency contact information as well as contact information for local tour operators.

Maintain a strong social media presence and prioritise online reviews: When it comes to millenials and Gen Z, social media engagement drives your business. Every tour is planned on their smartphones by millenials based on recommendations from a blogger or an Instagram story of a friend or follower.

If you work in the hospitality industry and don’t already have a social presence, go make one. Involving travel bloggers, live streaming your property, and mandatory check-ins will undoubtedly get you trending. Maintain a positive online hotel reputation in order to increase bookings. Respond politely and provide solutions to negative social media reviews.

Be approachable: Millenials are impulsive and impatient when it comes to services. They would prefer to speak with a person when making a reservation, checking in, or dealing with any other property-related issues. A mobile app can help to simplify the process and ensure a pleasant experience.

Create loyalty programmes: Whether it’s millenials or other travellers, everyone is looking for appealing packages and memberships to help them save money. Creating loyalty programmes, happy hour discounts, and free/add-on services can help your business significantly.

Set boundaries: If you feel the need to separate private and public areas in your homestay, go ahead and do so. Make it clear and polite to guests which areas are accessible to them. Setting boundaries is essential for avoiding future misunderstandings and ensuring smooth operation.

Embrace digitisation: Bulky wallets are an absolute no-no for Gen-Z travellers. They prefer digital payments even for minor transactions because they are more convenient and provide benefits such as points, cash back, free tickets, and better savings. Accepting digital payments via the appropriate payment gateway is a sure way to attract Gen-Z to your property.

At Ekostay, we truly believe that millennial travellers will have a greater impact on the travel and tourism industry than any other group. Homestay travel experiences, adventures, and urban destinations are expected to expand and dominate the tourism industry. Being technologically viable while also providing a curated homestay experience is exactly what your business requires.