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The school holidays have commenced across the nation – a season in which parents usually take road trips with their children for exciting holiday experiences or simply to sample some of the best local delicacies found in Malaysia. It is common for families to opt for homestay properties, especially when these trips stretch for longer periods.

Currently an increased number of families choose homestays as compared to hotels especially when involving families that are larger in numbers, as homestays usually have the capacity to cater and that too at a better value. To those seeking a “home away from home” when they are on an escapade, homestays are indeed a suitable option.


Hitting the road for Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

Property owners whom have decided to transform their homes into homestay properties should take note, that the school holiday season could prove to be fruitful. 

One should understand that while commencing a homestay business could be easy, maintaining the business and ensuring that the vacant rooms are fully-booked especially during off peak season, can indeed be a challenge.

Keeping these factors in mind, PropSocial has compiled a list of useful tips for homestay business owners to ensure consistent occupancy rates throughout the year.


1. Creating a Theme or Style

Beautifying your homestay according to a certain theme, could make a lot of difference. Homestay makeovers can be an interesting process especially when you have a theme in mind. Homestay owners that are running a business in the outskirts of town or at distance from tourist attractions should turn their properties into a standalone tourist attraction.

For example, if your homestay is in a beautiful orchard with a myriad of fruit trees, streams and ponds, create an eco-themed establishment whereby guests may go fishing in the ponds, take a cool dip in a stream or even pick fruits when the fruit trees are in season. Some homestays even provide the opportunity to harvest the produce from localised organic vegetable gardens on site, that later could be turned into scrumptious meals!

Fresh produce from organic gardens could be part of an eco-themed homestay.

The best way to attract families with children is to incorporate themes that can spark the excitement amongst the young and young at heart for example themes that are pirate-related, cartoon character-rich aside from making use of animal motives. One can try revamping on your own or get the help of a professional interior consultant to get the ideas spewing.


2. Cleanliness, Maintenance and Providing a Safe Environment

Although this tip is key, a handful of homestay owners take this factor lightly leading to possible unfavourable experiences and complaints. Take extra care in maintaining the condition of your homestays. Mow lawns, clean dated carpets, repair all leaking pipes and do just anything that could make the condition of your homestay spick and span.

In addition to keeping your homestay clean and hygienic, take the necessary precautions for fire prevention and make sure you assist all mishaps when they do take place. Once these steps are practice the complaints would be at bay and travellers should come back again and again.


3. Providing Necessary Amenities

Take a glance at popular homestay websites and one will find that some of these establishments are comparable to five-star hotels. Many homestays are beginning to provide basic needs such as bath towels and toiletries.

This thoughtful preparation will definitely make a difference in one’s occupancy rates. One’s property will be the homestay of choice the next time a traveller is opting to stay in your business locale especially when these little comforts are in place.

Well stocked bathroom amenities are always appreciated by guests.

A homestay owner that has no clue on how to begin could keep a list of what a well-managed homestay incorporates and what it takes to make your guests truly feel at home.

WiFi connectivity is usually a list topper while other amenities worth considering include barbeque equipment, ironing boards, hairdryers, cooking facilities as well as air-conditioning and water heaters in all rooms.


4. Upload Good Pictures of your Homestay

Showcasing good images of your homestay is one of the biggest assets that lead to a successful homestay business. Good photos help in making a good first impression amongst travellers considering to book at one’s establishment. It is also wise to get pictures of your business taken professionally, ensuring that the outcome is high in quality, especially when used for marketing purpose.

Swimming pools are always an attraction for family vacations.


5. Keep Records & Put Systems in Place

Consider self-improvement such as attending trainings to ensure that you do your book keeping correctly and keep good records of accounts.

Invest in good homestay systems help to keep your homestay clean, organised and well stocked. Systems should be clear, easy to follow and in the form of a written checklist. This way, you will always have a well-managed homestay without running short on supplies especially during peak periods. 


6. Getting on Social Media

With digitalization, it has become much easier for those in the industry to promote their business online and the easiest and cheapest way is to promote their homestay via social media.

Creating a page or account for your homestay via Facebook or Instagram for instance, is easy and what’s more important is that you can create as many pages (if you own multiple homestays) as you need for free. You are basically building a platform for all your future online marketing plans at zero cost.

Take an active approach with regards to marketing and promoting your homestay. Know who your customers are and how to reach them. It’s easier to get in touch with potential guests via social media especially when the platform offers a messaging feature as the exchange of messages on social media is usually free.

Upon providing good service, your happy guests could share their good experiences on these social media platforms and help recommend it to others. 

Social media is a good marketing platform for your homestay.


7. Accepting Online Bookings

With access to the Internet and social media, many homestay owners are beginning to accept online bookings manually via social media and through messaging apps. However, processing bookings during peak seasons and public holidays could be stressful via this method.

When faced with such a situation, booking platforms provided by Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) can help. OTAs help homestay owners fill up their vacancies by listing the homestays on their website and at the same time, process any bookings that are made through their online booking system. Listing on OTAs enable homestay owners to get more exposure and reach out to travellers seamlessly. 


8. Giving Guests a Warm Welcome

Giving your guests a warm welcome is also a simple way to make guests feel happy. A warm greeting can leave a positive first impression and encourage them to book with you repeatedly.

A simple gesture such as offering guests a refreshing drink or some tea or coffee when they arrive or even providing them with a guidebook or map of local tourist destinations to help your guest with their bearings can go a long way. Additionally, one could also suggest one’s guests popular F&B options, places to visit and how to get to these destinations.

A cool refreshing drink is a good way to welcome guests to our homestay.

It is favourable to always look for ways to continually improve one’s establishment and consider, guest feedback and proceed to implement them wherever possible. This way, guests will feel cared for and should most definitely come back for the pleasant experience offered in your homestay.


(By Juli Murshidah, 28 March 2019)

Do you find these tips helpful? Try them out and let us know. If you have any suggestions, do share them with us in the comments below.


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Thanks for the tip off