A beginners guide to hosting

Welcome to Homestay.com! You’ve made a terrific choice if we do say so ourselves. To get you started, we’ve gathered all the need-to-know bits, so you’ll be hosting like a pro in no time. Let’s get started.

Is it a full-time job?

No it's really up to you how often you take guests. Some hosts use Homestay.com as an added income and are keen to host guests year round. Others host guests when it suits them. The one thing we ask is you keep us posted and update your calendar to let guests know when you are available. There is nothing worse for our guests than being disappointed when their chosen host doesn't accept their request.

Here is a rundown of how the process works to attract guests:

  • Responding to guest enquiries and general questions - We recommend to our guests to send a few requests to different hosts at once. So there may be a few requests to respond to before securing a booking. Some guests want to know a bit more about the home or local area so it can take a couple of messages to ensure it's a good fit for both guest and host. We don't take payment details from the guests at time of request so even if you accept request the guest may decide not to proceed with the booking. You will receive an email from us when the guest confirms their booking.

  • Payments - The guest pays a 15% booking fee to confirm their booking and pay you on arrival or in advance by arrangement. Once the guest confirms the booking we advise you contact them to discuss payment.

Host Valentina

What kind of host am I?

Just like there are different kinds of guests - tourists, students, business travellers, people relocating for work and solo travellers - there are varying kinds of hosts too. Some hosts like to be a personal tour guide and cook for their guests. Some simply handover a key and let guests do their own thing. Whatever kind of host you plan to be, make sure it’s clear in your profile description and complete the "On a typical day..." section. It's important guests to know what to expect from your homestay.

Have a think about the following question and ensure you set up your profile accordingly.

How far in advance do you like guests to book and how long do you want guests to stay?

Are you unsure yet if you will be able to take guests in 6 months time? That's no problem you can adjust your settings to ensure guests can only contact you to stay within the next 3 months. We have a few options here you can allow guests to book 3, 6, 9 and 12 in advance of their stay.

Some hosts like to take guests for a few days at a time and not have guests in their home all the time. Some hosts who rely on the regular income prefer longer term guests staying months at a time. Your preference may change over time too after having different types of guests. You can edit your preferred length of stay at anytime in your profile settings.

Any tips for improving my listing?

Make sure your price is competitive. You and the other hosts in your area will be competing on the basis of price, location, local amenities, photos and your interactions with potential guests. We advise doing a quick search for homestays in your area and take note of what other hosts are doing and improve where you can.

Ask yourself what sets you apart from the other hosts. What’s close to your home? Are there any universities, language schools, business parks, famous landmarks, bars, museums or places around you? Are you located in a lovely setting in the countryside?

Be smart about what advantages you can offer potential guests, and make sure they come across quickly in your descriptions and photos.

Are there any big events coming up in your area? If so, edit your listing to include how close you are to the event.

Hosts that get the most requests are those that have a fully detailed, attractive listing. This means:

  • Good quality bright photos and lots of them
  • Competitive price including weekly and monthly rates
  • Local attractions and public transport options listed
  • A small description of yourself
  • An availability calendar that is up to date

Have a read of these tips that will help you make your profile look great.

Ok, all set up. Now, how does it all work?

Find out more about how the booking process works once you accept a guest request.

Payments

You can either get the full balance payment when the guest arrives or arrange full or part-payment with the guest in advance. Read more about how getting paid works.

Who are the guests?

Guests come from all walks of life and are travelling for a variety of reasons. Some are students or business travellers while others are solo travellers or on holiday. You can get to know them before accepting their booking using the messaging system or by video calling them for a chat.

You can read more about our guests by visiting the Help Centre.

What do guests usually expect?

The good thing about getting to know your guest a bit before booking is that you can get a sense of their expectations.

One tip we would give is around the guest's language. Some guests may not have the same first language as you. Simple online translating tools such as Google Translate can greatly help your potential guest understand everything should you hit any bumps in communication.

Here are some common questions asked by guests:

  • How and when do I pay you?What is included in the price? Are there any extra fees?
  • What is included in the price? Are there any extra fees?Can I use the kitchen and appliances?
  • Can I use the kitchen and appliances?What other services are offered? Airport pick up?
  • What other services are offered? Airport pick up?
  • Can you offer me a discount for a longer stay?
  • Will I have a key to the house?
  • Will my room have a key?
  • What is the homestay close to?
  • How close is to city centre?
  • What are the transport options?
Host and guest Request

See what guests say about great hosts

When a guest's homestay ends, they receive an email asking them to review their stay with you. These reviews then appear on your profile so future guests can see what a great host you are.

If you need any more tips and advice, have a look at the Help Centre. You can also get in touch with us with any specific questions, if you may have.

Happy Hosting!

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