How To Start Your Own Homestay Business and Make a Recurring Passive Income for Your Travels
Sometimes when I travel with a group, we will stay in an apartment homestay rather than a hotel. This is great as we work together online. Plus we get to chill out late at night to watch a game or Netflix.
Sometimes, we get an hour or two of work in as well.
For most guests, high-speed internet is a must and this is one of the requirements that I look for when I book.
If you’re thinking of hosting an apartment, holiday home, guest house or even a homestay, I’ll like to share some ideas that will make you a great host and repeat business.
What you will want as a host are good quiet tenants who don’t cook up a storm, flood the bathroom and party at the pool area.
Business people and entrepreneurs are good guests to have. We don’t touch your “stuff” and it’s easier to run a rental this way.
Some of my friends, who run an Apartment for over three years, tell me that it is a good investment. You will reap the rewards if you do it right.
Here are the tips on how to be not just a good homestay host, but a great one.
Be Honest With Guests.
While your apartment homestay may not be brimming with ideas nor be the nicest apartment ever, you will do well manage your guests’ expectations.
People are happiest when you price it accordingly.
If there are stairs, show these. Using poetic license (Photoshop) to patch up that hole in the wall or clean up pipes etc. just doesn’t work in your favor.
Be upfront about the condition of your rental. If it has the world’s smallest bathroom and a shower that doesn’t drain properly; please fix the shower. Please don’t magically make the bathroom bigger or worst still use another photo from “elsewhere”.
Be open about the condition of your apartment. The photos must show the room just like what is described.
If you price it low, you will attract budget travelers and backpackers who just wanted a cheap, clean room to rest in.
Ideas: Remember it is the reviews that make or break your listing.
Familiarize Yourself with the Local Laws
If you are renting an apartment, the Management Cooperation has are rules and conditions that you need to adhere to.
Even though many others are hosting their rooms and apartments are doing it without letting their landlords know, the tenants are actually going against their leases. This counts as subletting and if your landlord or neighbors find out about it, there may be consequences.
Find out about the local laws so you can have a plan, or even buying your own space to list.
You can also try finding a landlord who doesn’t mind. This might prove to be a challenge as noisy occupants will cause the neighbors to complain.
Be flexible with check-in and check-out time
Sometimes the best vacation plans fall short due to a flight or car delay your guests might encounter. So be contactable both ways.
Find out their flight schedule and sending a text to enquire works in your favor. Your guests will know that they can count on you to have a smooth vacation no matter.
Adopt a Business Mindset by doing a bit more than what you promised in the listing.
If you plan to make business through Apartment hosting, you will need to consider how you can make your listing more attractive.
A friend of mine offers some 3 in one Coffee and Milo and a nice box of famous Local Biscuits to guests. He also throws in a few Instant Cup Noodles for good measure in case of very late check-in.
This is appreciated by his guest as sometimes they are too tired to go out to eat.
Maybe it’s providing breakfast and coffee. A loaf of bread with some jam is always good.
You could provide a free guided walk through your neighborhood.
Encourage them to stay longer by giving a discount on the 4th night for instance.
If you are able to offer fresh coffee every morning or even go the extra mile to get them an iron and ironing board, think about how happy you would have made your guest.
The reward is in gaining both their friendship and trust and hopefully more recommendations and good reviews.
Plus getting some electrical items are a deductible business expense which your other guests can use.
In your hosting profile, you can turn on Smart Pricing feature, which lets you set your prices to automatically go up or down. This is based on the demand for listings like yours which you can control by settings that you can adjust at any time.
Send guests an email a week prior to their arrival.
If you are able to personalize your email written to your guests, you can send them some information about the house as well as the neighborhood. This will include places to eat, cafes, gyms, and activities.
An email is great as some international visitors may not have access to data on their phones.
Another helpful tip is to find out if they are driving to your home. If they are, tell them of the parking restrictions, if any.
Tips: If your guests are driving, tell them where to park.
Ask about their food preferences a restriction if any when they book.
When you email your guest and ask how they take their coffee, or if they have any dietary restrictions, it shows that you care. If you decide to leave some fruit for my guests, give them some options. Perhaps there is some fruit that they like to try.
If it’s a Durian or Mangosteen, you can put in a restriction to allowing certain items in the home, say No Pork or Beef.
Tips: Be sensitive, your guests may have religious restrictions on the consumption of pork or beef. Some could have a nut or shellfish allergy.
On Arrival – Have soft music playing when your guests arrive.
Choose elevator music or soft classical piano or instrumental rather than other genres.
It’s a nice way to set a relaxing atmosphere.
Tips: Stick to classical instrumental music rather than what is current.
Whenever possible, greet guests when they arrive at the door
Offer to carry their belongings. Guest appreciate some help with bags and a friendly face to greet them upon arrival. A Warm Welcome puts people at ease.
Sometimes guests are stressed out or may not be feeling well on arrival. Be sensitive and ask them if there’s anything they need.
Offer them a drink, even if it is cold water that you fill up in a glass bottle in the fridge. Offer a hot drink, coffee, tea or even a Milo if they want.
Sometimes they may need something for a migraine or just need to have some water and sleep off jetlag.
Idea: Create a simple DIY a welcome basket, filled with 3 in one beverage, biscuits or some snacks.
Use a key-less lock if you’re not able to greet them.
I have stayed at apartments where the owners send me a preset code that allows me to open their letterbox to pick up the house keys. This offer the guests complete security to know that no one else has a copy of the keys.
For the owner, the guest is able to check in (very late) and leave (very early) without any worries about lost keys!
Idea: Add the apartment keys to a Badge Holder Card which includes your contact phone number or email on the tag. You can add some basic information such as handy phone numbers for emergencies.
Give them a quick tour.
If you are there, offer a quick tour where you turn all the switches and appliance to show that everything is in good working condition.
If you’re not at home, leave them notes that explain where all the essential items are kept.
You can always drop by later with any extras that they require.
Idea: Have an affordable, sturdy suitcase stand where guests can plop their luggage.
Invest in good ambient lighting to set the right mood
Good ambient lighting makes your home feel warm and welcoming even if you are not there. General lighting should be bright enough without being harsh or cause shadows. Make sure there is sufficient light and there are no dark unlit spots in the house.
Idea: Your guest will love the warm ambient lighting from interesting lamps and wall lights!
Leave small explainer notes on switches and around all of the electrical appliance.
This will help guests navigate the home so they know which light switches to use. You can ask them to leave one or turn off the timer if necessary.
Tips: Your guest will appreciate your effort to label the switches!
Think Positive: Most of Your Guests Will Be Amazing
With repeat customers that come through recommendations of former Apartment guests, you will receive bookings from people who are amazing and well behaved.
They won’t expect you to do the dishes. However, you can provide daily cleaning service at an additional cost.
Idea: A good host tends to attract a good house guest which adds a fun cultural component to the experience for all.
The Odd Guests – Stick up for yourself
Sometimes you may not get all good guests and you may need to get some to leave. This is not meant to scare you but sometimes you may get one or two odd guests.
You can fill out the House Rules section on your host profile so guests know what’s okay — and what’s not — while they’re staying there. Just be prepared to enforce if these are broken.
A friend of mine who runs a homestay once asked one guest to leave for smoking in the house.
Some could behave badly by bringing random girls back to the apartment or make disrespectful comments to other people living there as well.
Idea: If someone does something that makes you or your other guests feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to stand your ground.
Make Minimum-Night Stay Requirements
This is to make you rental and maintenance cost makes sense. If you let people book just one night without a minimum night stay, it is not worth it. A one-night stay over the weekend will make you miss out on a longer and more lucrative booking for long weekends!
You will be doing a lot of laundry and clean-up more every day!
Idea: List your place with minimum-night stay requirements. It will definitely work out better for you.
Keep All Payments and Messaging Within Listing
If you’re just starting out and testing the market, you can list your place and pay no commission on your first five bookings on booking.com
Using a booking engine has the added security benefit since the company vets and knows who is coming into your home.
The booking engine takes a small cut of your profit. It is safer to let the booking engine handle the payment instead of getting paid in cash. Handling your booking one-on-one without the middleman will leave your vulnerable as there is no record of who actually stays with you.
When you host your place through the service you are always assured of peace of mind and feel confident about welcoming guests.
You get to set your rules, your prices, policies and regulations for guests. Booking.com helps you – Access 24/7 support and guest misconduct reports.
So if something unexpected happens, the misbehavior can be reported to the team Booking.com
Use Referral Links to Grow Your Travel Fund
Many tourists start with search engines and some travelers start off by looking for maps. Either way, if you want to make some extra cash whether you are a traveler or a host, you get a unique referral link that earns you cash whenever they get someone to sign up.
Think Twice About Turning on Automatic Booking
One word of advice, it is smarter to host the entire apartment out than just a room in your home as you will be living there at the same time.
You may get more bookings if you activate the auto-booking feature BUT getting a guest with the same lifestyle as yours may be a problem.
So it is always good to find out the nature of their visit, so you can decline the reservation.
Clean! Cleaner! Cleanest!
A meticulously cleaned accommodation means the shower, toilet, sink, floors behind every door is swept and cleaned after every guest checks out.
There is no better way to make a good impression other than a spotlessly clean home free from smudges and fingerprints.
Idea: Clean means everything is CLEAN!
Create a Fridge “Concierge Station” and leave plenty of information on to do in the area
You can offer free brochures of sightseeing spots, travel books, and menus of local attractions and restaurants. Leave them a sheet of information about buses and transportation, museum information, and short local day trips to take.
One of the things I like the most when I am hosted is finding out fun things to see and do in the neighborhood.
So if you have coupons, maps or helpful brochures you could hang these by refrigerator magnet on your fridge. Your guest could use the references and you need not repeat yourself every time someone stays at your place.
What to provide for the ideal Apartment?
Every host is expected to provide guests with essentials: soap, toilet paper, clean sheets, and towels.
When you offer a little bit more you can make your guest’s stay more comfortable and in return, you can earn good reviews.
For starters, you can raise the bar on essentials by providing locally sources shower gels and great smelling bath salts.
Hosting tips from other successful hosts will inspire you to be creative while staying on budget. You will only need a little time and effort. Folding back the corners of that first sheet on the roll is something that you will find in a hotel and impress!
All these little things have an enormous potential for injecting new charm into your space. Have fun!
Check out these great ideas that you can implement!
- Use a high-speed Internet service provider
- Soap and Shampoo in regular size from a wall mounted dispenser.
- Provide one toilet roll per bathroom per night stay.
- Provide a Bath towel per guest.
- Washing machine and Dryer
- Clothesline with pegs
- Wardrobe with hangers
- Hair Dryer
- Mirror in Bathroom
- Electric Kettle
- Coffee Mugs
- Melamine Plates
- Stainless Steel Cutlery Set
- Air-Conditioning in Bedrooms
- Shoe cabinet
- Non-Slip Floor Mat in Bathroom
So how do you list your apartment homestay and where?
List your place and pay no commission on your first five bookings on booking.com
If you have any hosting tips of your own to share? Sound off, below.
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