Homestay.com Celebrates its First Birthday, Launches Dream Homestay Contest
Homestay.com will offer the lucky winner and a guest of his or her choice round-trip airfare, 10 nights of accommodations at the homestay of their choice, and €1,000 (US$1,340) spending money. The winners will be among the many thousands who have found, booked and enjoyed their homestay experiences by using Homestay.com (no purchase is necessary).
One year after it opened its doors and following its acquisition of HomestayBooking in June, Homestay.com offers more than 30,000 host listings in over 3,000 locations across 95 different countries. Guests from 115 different nationalities are actively using Homestay.com each week to find the right homestay match for their travel experience. A recent survey of Homestay.com guests and hosts showed just how enjoyable the homestay experience has been so far. Some highlights of the survey:
- 96% of guests would book again on Homestay.com
- 87% of guests surveyed rated their homestay experience as very good or excellent
- 83% of guests surveyed rated their experience booking accommodations on Homestay.com as very good or excellent
- 85% of hosts surveyed rated their experience listing accommodations on Homestay.com as very good or excellent
- The two biggest reasons guests reported for booking homestay lodging were value for money and engaging in a local experience
“The collaborative economy has opened up many opportunities for profit, but the biggest benefits to us all are the convenience, the connections and the lasting memories that sharing brings us,” said Alan Clarke, CEO of Homestay.com. “Personal attention shouldn’t be the exception for travel lodging experiences, it should be the norm. Staying at a homestay is a great way to ensure that exceptional experience. It’s an amazing way to experience a new city.”
Homestay.com was founded one year ago by travel industry veterans Tom Kennedy and Debbie Flynn, who together saw an opportunity to take a largely offline industry online and bring homestays from a primarily education-focused travel sector into mainstream leisure travel. The responses from the Homestay.com survey and guest booking data from the site show that their vision was accurate: leisure travel accounted for 43% of homestay bookings in the first year, while student travel came in at 20% and business travel at 13%.
Homestays are an increasingly important part of the rapidly growing global private accommodation marketplace, estimated at US $13 billion. In the U.S., the share of travel consumers who have rented private homes or condos has grown from 8 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2014. Though to-date the share of all travelers choosing sleeping quarters in private homes is at 3 percent, there is much room to grow. According to research from PhoCusWright, there are categories of consumer for whom the usage of sleeping quarters in private homes is at 30 percent, a rate as high as hostels and some hotel categories. With low levels of online penetration today, and low levels of awareness, the Homestay marketplace is just emerging.
Homestay.com, named one of Europe’s top three travel innovators by PhoCusWright, is a Dublin-based firm pioneering new ways to enjoy experiential accommodation choices through a “hosted travel experience” homestay model. Homestay.com is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. The company also provides the Homestay Manager software to Homestay agencies and host families worldwide. Homestay.com chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay. CEO is Alan Clarke, previously of PaddyPower.com.
Mark O’Toole or Todd Van Hoosear