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As a host you get to meet new people from all over the world, make some extra money by renting out your spare room, and learn from your guests as they stay with you. It's important to be a great host so that your guests have a great homestay experience and you get lots of bookings. The first place you can be a great host is in your homestay profile.
Your homestay profile is displayed under the city or district in which you live. Remember, when guests are choosing a homestay they see your profile listed along with all of the other homestays in your area so, in order to get bookings, you need to stand out from the crowd.
If you are thinking of signing up as a host or you have already, here are some tips on how to be a great host and ensure your profile looks its best.
Your pictures are the first thing a guest will look at when they visit your profile page so it’s worth taking the time to take some really good images of you and your home. You don’t need a professional photographer or an expensive camera, the most important thing is that the images are clear, in focus and give a sense of your homestay and you as a host. Make sure the rooms you’re photographing are well lit and tidy.
If you have a friend or family member who can take photos for you, include yourself in some of them! Or if you have any that reflect your past-times in the home, such as cooking, gardening or whatever they may be, include those also. After all, the reason our guests book a homestay is that they want the experience of living with someone else and getting to know the local culture and interests.
Your profile picture too is very important as it is the first connection guests will have with your as their potential host. Show your personality and try use a bright photo with a clear view of your face. Remember to smile!
When you sign up as a host you'll need to enter details about your home and the facilities for guests but you will also be asked to enter some information about yourself. Ideally, we'd like our hosts and guests to meet people with shared interests, making the stay as enjoyable as possible for both of you.
The best way to make this happen is to tell potential guests about yourself in your profile: you can check the interest categories that suit you best, whether it's opera, gardening or learning a language.
In the House and Family Description of the Homestay you can also include information about yourself, such as who lives in the property with you, and what you like to do with your guests. The Location section where you can fill in information about your area, such as the local amenities is also a good place to include information about transport links to your area.
It may sound obvious, but make sure to check your booking messages and respond to them as quickly as possible. When you sign up as a host you will enter your mobile number as well as email address. When you receive a message from a guest requesting availability you will be notified by SMS as well as by email. The sooner you respond, the more likely you are to get a booking. Guests are advised to message several hosts when looking for accommodation in any area so make sure you reply.
Once you accept a guest's booking request, they can then pay their deposit and book online, with the balance payable to you on arrival.
If you notice that several guests ask the same questions, such as the transport links to and from the airport, consider adding this information to the location information on your profile. That said, don’t be afraid to ask your guests questions too. We want our hosts and guests to have a shared memorable experience and to get to know one another, so don’t be shy- ask away! We encourage our hosts and guests to send each other several messages and be clear about all the details before making a booking.
When you sign up as a host on Homestay.com, you are given a calendar, which is located in the Availability tab. This is to allow those visiting your profile to see if you room, or rooms, are available for the dates they require before they message you. If you will be away or don’t want guests in your home for a particular period of time, simply block the days off on the calendar.
Once you confirm a booking with a guest, this will automatically block these dates off in your calendar to prevent any double booking. Using the calendar will make it a lot easier for to you to manage communications between guests as well as keeping track of the arrival and departure days of your guests.
As a host, you should set house rules, and we’ve included a section on your profile where you can outline these to any prospective guests. If for example you don’t smoke and would prefer non-smoking guests, you can specify this in your profile under House Rules in the Your Home tab.
If this seems like a lot of information, don’t worry, our signup process for becoming a host is really simple and easy to use. If there are any questions about your profile, our host support team will contact you before it goes live. You can find out more information about becoming a host here, or read some of our host testimonials telling us why they love being hosts on Homestay.com.
By: Mary Plunkett