Home Away from Home
“Athithi Devo Bhava” which means the “Guest is honoured as God”, is an old Indian adage. More clearly, Indians consider it a big honour to have guest in their home. Homestay business is rapidly growing all over the world. A homestay is similar in concept to that the Bed and Breakfast of European countries. Bed and Breakfast system is widely popular in European countries. But the concept of homestays are popular among the university students in the European countries. Most of the students in the famous Universities of European countries such as Britain, France, Germany prefer homestay accommodation facilities.
The basic idea behind the homestays is to provide a clean and affordable place for foreigners and domestic tourists alike including a good opportunity for them to stay with an Indian family to experience Indian customs and traditions and relish authentic Indian cuisine.
Certain features of Homestays
a) Distinctive and unique accommodation
b) Personalised service
c) Local knowledge
d) Home cooked food
e) Unique activities – exploring plantations, village visits, picnics, herding animals, temple tours etc.
f) Celebrating festivals – There is no better way to celebrate Indian festivals than with an Indian family.
Homestays in Kerala offer a bright affordable and secure accommodation option for tourist. Homestays give the visitors the real experience of home away from home. Every home has a host present and they do more than handing over the keys. It is at a homestay that one can really get away from the crowds and enjoy the serenity of the villages. Homestays will give the tourist a warm welcome and memorable experience to true local way of life.
In Kerala the Homestays are classified into three categories – Diamond House, Gold House and Silver House. Considering the huge potential of tourism industry in Kerala, Govt. has regularized Homestay business. In order to get the license from the Dept. of Tourism, certain guidelines have been chartered out.
Serviced Villas are given equal importance in Kerala. Serviced Vilas are fully independent and furnished houses will equipped with Kitchen and a cook. In servived villa host family need not be present. These villas have been taken up as an initiative by the Dept. of Kerala Tourism to provide a comfortable and affordable stay to tourists at various locations in Kerala.
Starting a homestay business may be easy when you have vacant rooms but maintaining the business will be challenging one. Homestay provides are frequently worried about the filling up their vacant position. Certain tips are offered here :
(a) Creating a theme – Themed homestays with the help of a professional interior designer. You can make a theme in your rooms for creating more attractions. For example, Marine theme, Forest theme, Agriculture theme, Bali theme, Himalayan theme.
(b) Cleanliness and maintenance
(c) Provide basic amenities such as bath towel, body gel, wifi – connection, bbq equipment, Iron board, hair dryer etc.
(d) Social media development
(e) On line booking facilities
The rapid growth of homestay business is a good sign for the tourism industry all over the world. The present day travelers are seeking for a more homy and cosy accommodation facilities. Yes, it is home away from home in all sense of the word.