Sanskrit phrase ‘Athithi Devo Bhava – meaning ‘The Guest is God’. Backed by this heritage of India HomeStays today become a viable option for tourist and home owners.
HomeStays are getting popular among Tourist, young professionals, couples & nuclear families.
Young professionals and couple are planning more holidays, opting for long and short stays in homestays that are clean, safe and affordable or you can say pocket-friendly.
Indian travelers are looking for a home away from home.
Many hilly Tourist Places and Tourist attractions in India are either not having hotels available or less number of rooms are available than requirement. Homestays are easy and good alternate to hotels there.
Most of homestays are located along the amazing scenic, picturesque and snow capped Himalayan mountains. This makes your stay life long memory.
Homestays in Indian states Himachal, Uttarakhand, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim & Arunachal Pradesh are getting more and more popular.
They are also introducing tour packages. These are becoming integral part of tourism sector.
Alternate accommodations such as homestays – which occupy only a small section of the market today – will grow in stature and play a significant role.
- As per a report from Indian Hotel Association, India will need more than 2.5 million rooms across the hospitality industry to meet the snowballing demand by 2021-2022.
- Homestays have surely made their mark in the tourism market.
- Homestays model has also been adopted by large formal holiday hospitality chains as a logical extension of their services. Through small aggregators(charging very less fee) are more suitable to keep the costs in check.
New model of livelihood:
In remote India around tourist places where less opportunities of employment are available homestays are becoming Sanjeevni for them. They are getting handsome money from tourist and providing employment to other connected people in the locality.
Availability of HomeStays:
Around tourist places, now, the increasing number of people are opening their homes to tourists. This gives travelers the opportunity to live their travel dreams and take back an experience of a lifetime.
The young educated home owners are more creative, dynamic and creating new opportunities of employment in the form of homestays.
Home owners are now tech savvy and equipping their homes with state-of-art interior, gadgets and facilities which fulfills the requirement of tourists at par with the expensive hotel rooms.
Why tourists prefer HomeStays over Hotels?
Hotels which come with limitations but homestays often provide a level of comfort which even the most reputed hotels cannot hope to match. Most of homestays are preserving their antique furniture, agri. tools etc. and give a feel like a home, which connects you to your roots.
Now, due to spread of education, availability of Television & internet they are also having luxury, high level of hygiene, clean, safe and most important are wallet-friendly.
Digital India Program helped to provided 24×7 digital TV and WiFi even in remotest places.
Perfect for short & long stay Holidays:
These are perfect match for wallet-friendly short & long stay holidays, ranging from weekends, weeks and months. There are wide range of homestays which are offering rooms for weeks and months.
Perfect for students, employees who work from home and want to enjoy while working, for families going for long summer holidays.
This is suitable to home-owners and guests both, as homeowner also getting a assured long-term booking and that also from the same guest.
HomeStays for solo tourists:
Some would argue that traveling solo is the best way to see the world. I’ve traveled solo and can say it’s a good way to travel. There are certain things you miss though – a familiar face, sharing a meal and having a chat about your day. Stay in a homestay and your host can provide all this and more.
HomeStays for Students?
When you’re in college and studding outside in some other city, this can be one of the most exciting parts of your student life.
We have to go back to home once study is complete, but we also know we’re going to experience a most amazing time when we live in a different place or country. Possibly for the first time in your life.
Exciting? Yes! It’s Daunting? A little! But, hold, not afraid, if you want to experience like your home, staying in a homestay is a good way to achieve that.
We all know that during student life money matters, so our accommodation should be wallet-friendly & affordable.
Students can save money while staying at home. As this will be definitely going to prove less expensive than staying in a hotel. Also, this will give you freedom of staying at your own home. Hostels are not available or having less rooms.
‘Healthy body and sound mind‘ also important for a good student life. Local, organic and affordable food will be a key to the students while staying in a homestay during their study.
Students traveling for a language course also choose living with a family in a homestays as it offers them a great opportunity to practice their language.
HomeStays for Business Tourists?
Professionals are choosing homestays when traveling for work. Those who are traveling for business also often choose a homestay. This gives them comfort of home and insight into a local life and with a good price.
HomeStay gives feel of Home while Traveling.
Proximity to main tourist places is key to the homestays. This is one of reasons of their popularity and specially Himalyan Homestays due to scenic views and snow caped mountain ranges.
While staying in HomeStays we get chance of knowing Local Heritage, Culture & Festivals.
HomeStays gives chance to taste local food/cuisine?
Many homestays are having arrangement of breakfast, lunch and dinner as per guest schedule. Mostly, local food is available which is organic as grown in their home gardens. Today, tourists like to have local grown organic, authentic cuisine which is cooked in local style and with local ingredients.
To make it more interesting and engaging hosts can give a chance to guests to learn how the local foods are cooked.
Hosts should include a complimentary light breakfast in the per room price, they can provide other meals too by prior arrangement.
The best thing about this is that both will share a meal with and learn more about destination and each others culture.
This leaves long lasting impact and happy guest will help in growing your business with referrals or through online reviews and recommendations.
Chance to learn new languages, traditions?
While staying with locals in a homestay we learn new languages and we get a chance to know their traditions.
A chance to mingle with locals and improve brotherhood?
You will meet the local people and get a chance to live with them while staying at homestay. We know them and it improves brotherhood and boost ‘we are one’ and social harmony.
Staying in HomeStays is the cost saving tool for Tourists?
These are wallet-friendly and affordable for Tourist. They can invest that spare money for local handicraft and hand-loom shopping.
HomeStays – potential to generate employment
This sector is having rich potential to create employment when lakhs have lost their jobs. Government needs to support this transformation to bring about a revival in the industry.
Homestays can generate employment easily without much investment from home owners and government.
Tourist places especially in hilly areas, it’s not easy to get environment clearances for building a hotel. Also, it’s not environment friendly to build hotels by cutting big trees.
So, to meet up with the tourist requirements of rooms, government should encourage home owner to make available their spare rooms for tourists.
This will be easy option of earning handsome money by utilizing existing rooms. Even without investing much and is good mean of employment.
Becoming popular during pandemic, as they allow them to maintain Social Distancing…. due to less number of rooms and less people to interact with on the same place.
How they can compete with Hotels?
As most locals homestay owners are having gardens and fields, so they can make stay of their guests more engaging by arranging:
- fruit garden tours
- give experience of gardening
- fruit picking
- strawberry picking
- arrange local agriculture field tours
- wellness tourism – arrangements of massage if possible
- yoga sessions tourists will have a life long memory. Which will connect them with home owner lifelong and will help in boosting future business through referrals, word-of-mouth and online recommendations.
- getting online bookings
- transport facility
- 24×7 Wi-Fi, Electricity & Phone
- safety of female tourists
- food hygiene, quality and variety
- statutory compliance to follow
Expectations from Govt.?
These should be backed by awareness campaigns. So that, local communities can contribute to the effort. From pristine beaches to snow-capped mountains, forts and palaces to temples and monasteries, India has everything a tourist wants.
Government should introduce some policy to encourage homestays by providing easy finances, connectivity both road and 24×7 Internet/Electricity/Phone.
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Himalayan Homestays photo (For representational purpose only)