Homestay Vs Hotel? Which Is Better?
As more and more services are offering shared facilities, Travel industry in India is also witnessing the concept of home sharing popularly known as Homestays.Homestays accomadation are growing their popularity due to unique operating model that it serves and the more customized stay experience that it offers.Homestay experiences are more closer to nature and away from the regular fixed menu items unlike hotels .No wonder why a major chunk of travelers these days are skipping the regular hotels and trying out a homestay experience.
Homestay: concept and history
Homestay as a concept is as old as 1950 from Northern Europe where few non-profit organizations started it as a hospitality exchange program.It was a concept derived from shared economy where fellow travellers offer lodging /accomadation in return to services /housekeeping or monetary compensation at times.It started as a program to exchange hospitality services, promote intercultural relations and friendships across territories. The person offering his home to fellow travellers is known as a Host, and the stay ranges from a night to a longer duration like a year.
5 Reasons to choose a homestay over a hotel
1.Homestays give a more personalized experience
As the nature of the stay tells you that the stay is hosted in one’s personal home, So the treatment is more of a guest than a customer at a hotel.There is ample amount of flexibility with the stay as per the guest requirements.Unlike Hotels ,homestays does not only function for commercial profits , the emphasis is more on serving the guest and converts his stay to a pleasurable one. Often personal requirements in cases like food,beddings etc as per the guest are also accommodated if feasible.
Read about our homestay experience in Hartola,a small hill station in Uttrakhand
2.Homestays offer more peace and calm as they are away from the mainstream hustle
Homestays are mostly built a little away from the main city street ,Hence it offers more peace and calm.It is a perfect accommodation option for all those who need some quiet environment amidst nature to enjoy their vacation.Since the house owner himself stays in the place hence all requisite care is undertaken to make the stay as homely as possible.Since its away from any roadside traffic one can easily escape the vehicle noise and immerse into the serenity of the place.
3.Homestays offer local cuisine with a homecooked taste
Homestays offer regular local cuisines that the family themselves would be having.This provides a great opportunity to enjoy and relish the locally available delights which can add to the uniqueness of the experience.
Also as many times the produce is homegrown the food is completely organic and straight from the farm which offers an amazing taste to the guest.Since there is no professional kitchen with fixed menus one can place request as per his needs and preferences also .The food is simple yet with an extraordinary touch of the place making it an additional feature which the guests enjoy.
4.Homestays gives a chance to learn about the local economy of the place
Homestays offer stay options at regular residential places with local population around.Many a times these are small villages with their own economy and ecosystem.While staying at these homestays one gets an amazing opportunity to interact with the locals around . Exploring the place around, having a taste of local cuisine help the guests to learn about the local economy of the place.
Mostly the community around is welcoming and hospitable to the guest arriving in the area.One could also show interest to participate in any day-to-day activities to learn more about the culture of the place.
5.Homestays lets you discover offbeat travel destinations
Apart from the regular travel destinations Homestays also find their existence to offbeat destinations where big commercial hotels aren’t available.These destinations would be a little secluded hence would draw a lesser number of tourists. These offbeat places are a perfect retreat for nature lovers who want to beat the crowd and explore the serenity that the places provide.
Types of homestays
1. Entire homestay
This includes the entire place offered to the guest for accommodation.This would include all essential parts of the house like dining,living,kitchen etc.The house has all essential amenities with a fully functional kitchen where you can also opt to self cook if needed.
2. Private room
This arrangement offers a private room in a house with a shared kitchen and washroom available.The other parts of the house are commonly shared by other co-travellers.This arrangement is suitable for solo travelers.
3. Shared space
This works like a dormitory/hostel and functions on a bed basis with rest of the space in the house as shared. Its a suitable arrangement for a big group of travellers as its economical and cheap.
4. Unique homestays
These homestays are unique with the nature of the built and the surrounding where they offer accommodation.They offer unique and unconventional stay which are also comfortable at the same time.These find huge popularity among couple tourists.Some examples of unique homestays are:
5. Business or workplace homestay
These homestays are equipped with additional amenities which help in carrying out work from the stay. Amenities like high speed internet, dedicated workplace, closeby transport arrangements etc.
6. Luxury homestay
These homestays are luxurious in nature with added luxury amenities like pool,gym,home auditorium etc.They charge premium pricing sometimes more than a high rated hotel.
Examples: villas,castles,chalets,bunglows etc.
Things to remember while opting for a Homestay
1.Always speak to the owner directly
Reach out to the owner directly rather than speaking to some of his staff .This can help avoid any miscommunications.Also it helps to gauge the general arrangments level at the place.
2.Confirm and request food requirements in advance
Since homestays do not have professional kitchens , hence there might not be excessive stocks for a lot of things and few items need to be procured which would need some time in advance.
3.Get an idea of the route
While speaking to the owner do ask a general idea of the route and note down any landmarks which could help you reach the place. Relying completely on internet navigation won’t be a good idea as some locations could be remote and offroad.
4.Check the reviews and ratings if available
Do search for any reviews or ratings if available which could give you an idea about the place. Online portals like Airbnb and Vrbo list out homestays reviews at their platforms.
Advantages and disadvantages of a Homestay
1.Shared economy concept
It is a shared economy concept that fosters the reuse and recycle theory and help in reducing the carbon footprint.It helps to avoid overcrowding of hotels and unnecessary commercialization of the place .
2.Promotes intercultural exchanges
People from different cultures and regions interact which leads to an exchange of culture , languages etc.
3.Promotes the local economy
As homestays are operated by local residents ,it promotes them by utilizing their farm produce ,handicrafts and involvement in native activities.
1.Offbeat locations ,so rare public transport
Mostly homestays are located at offbeat locations so figuring out the location and accessing the place requires self effort .Unlike regular hotels which fall on regular destinations and can be reached via public transport as well.
2.Limited food menu
Since homestays are locally managed and operated by the family in most of the cases, hence it would be unreasonable to expect a host of professional kitchen menus and services.Mostly the arrangements are made from what is locally available.
3.Less digital presence and branding
Homestays do not indulge in too much branding and promotions and mostly word of mouth leads the way to them.Hence many great homestays would not be that large scale publicised as in case of some big hotel brand.
What is the difference between a homestay and a guesthouse?
A guest house is a private home allocated to serve guests accommodation.It is operated separately while the owner resides in a completely different house unlike in homestays where a part of the same house is rented out.
The major difference between a guest house and a homestay is the interaction between the guest and the host.While a homestay is a more closer form of hospitality where the guests are treated as part of the family whereas the guesthouse provides completely separate accommodation for a privately spent stay for the visitors.
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