Homestay? Anyone with recent experience?

I had forgotten I’d even put my listing up on this site, until last night when I got a request for a 3 week stay in July. I’ll be honest, and some may call me the opposite for saying this, but I’d much rather take this reservation through Airbnb.

First question. Do any of you have any experience with Homestay.com? It looks like they take a pretty large portion of the whole amount?

Second, is there a good way to kind of steer a potential reservation like this to Airbnb?

Not familiar with them.

Can you get them to book one week via Homestay and decide how you are going to do the rest via email or phone call? You’d have to block your calendar on air. Do you have good luck filling your calendar last minute? Like your last long stay there might be a mutual decision to go your separate ways.

Eww, you only get 85% and they’re supposed to pay you and you pay homestay? Is that how it works? Their T&C is so vague.

Yes, it’s a bit difficult to figure out, which is one of the reasons I don’t want to use them. If I’m understanding it correctly, when the reservation is made, Homestay takes a 15% deposit that they keep for themselves. As a host, you are then responsible for collecting the balance from the guest yourself. Not liking that. I’m glad someone found me on that site, but I’m thinking I’m going to pull that listing.

They also won’t collect my state’s occupancy tax, which Air has just started doing. So, I’d need to add that amount in, convince the guest to pay it.

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@KKC, thanks for the suggestion, something like that might work and I’ll let you know how things turn out.

For what it’s worth, I’m currently housing my 2nd long term guest. He is delightful in comparison to the first. For one thing, he came without pets. :grinning: For another, I didn’t realize just how disrespectful the first one was until I met this lovely fellow.

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I’ve been hosting on Airbnb for four years, but after a year of doing so, I decided it is no good to “put all your eggs in one basket”. I don’t want to be listed on one site only, so I listed my room on a couple of others, too.

Homestay.com is one of them. They are somewhat different from Airbnb, but I like them, nevertheless. They do take a 15% cut from the price you put up on your listing, but, so does Airbnb. Only with Airbnb, it is added to the price the guest sees in your listing (don’t forget the 3% fee hosts are having to pay), so there isn’t any difference there.

I have about two or three guests every year booking on Homestay, and generally speaking, they are great. They usually stay for a week or so, while most Airbnb guests only stay one or two days with me. They are generally much more interesting people than the average Airbnb guest is, since Homestay seems to attract people who are keen to interact with hosts more than your average Airbnb guest does.

While Airbnb have a great system of telephone numbers that hosts may call for any questions that might arise, Homestay have a number in Dublin, Ireland, only, I think, plus a very effective online chat system offering quick assistance, too.

So to sum it up, I rate Homestay as almost as good as Airbnb is. Wimdu and TripAdvisor, which I am also listed on, are certainly providing inferior service to hosts, compared to the other two.

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Thank you for your response @Eberhard_Blocher. Am I right in thinking that if I were to accept a Homestay reservation, I’d need to collect the guests payment directly from them? If so, do they usually write you checks when they arrive? Or do you process credit card payments?

How do you coordinate calendars and pricing with Air B and B? I have heard of a site ealled Short Term Stays that
purpots to do this but I have no idea how legit or good it is. Thanks Eberhard

Was just checking out HomeStay and I am reading through the terms and conditions. One of these states “A light breakfast (for example: tea, coffee, juice, cereal or toast or pastries etc.) will be provided for all Homestay.com guests.”

Does this mean I have to provide breakfast to my guests? Something I don’t do on AirBnb although I do provide basics such as coffee, tea and milk.

That’s true and that’s a bit of a nuisance. Also, I have started collecting 50 per cent of payments due, prior to arrival, as a way for them to confirm their reservation. Advance payment by Homestay guests is usually done using PayPal, or bank transfer if the guest prefers to use that.

Once they arrive, they pay the remaining half, plus local taxes, usually in cash or by credit card. I do accept credit card payments from all of my guests, also using this for Airbnb guests who need to pay local taxes on arrival.

I do this manually. Since I offer IB on Airbnb only, there isn’t any chance of two people booking the same room on two platforms at the same time. As soon as a booking on Homestay (or others) is confirmed, I usually block those dates on Airbnb. Unless I happen to be travelling myself at the time of the booking, which means my own bedroom will be available to guests, in addition.

15% is too much.

I just recently left. I had this crazy guest ringing, non stop, 6 or 7 times in a row. Even when I cancelled, he kept ringing.

Homestay is a hosting website and nothing more. If you get a mad guest, you are on your own. Outside office hours, weekends there is no one to help you out. Guests look for rooms at really low prices €11 per night.

You have to supply breakfast and you have to ask for the money from the guest, which I found uncomfortable. You can’t charge extra for cleaning or special dates.

I have met some lovely people and have stayed in touch. I had a french couple for Paddys weekend and himself sprayed his hair green, you would think the incredible hulk exploded in the bathroom. We spent our Paddys day cleaning all the tiles, could have killed him but he was so nice its was hard. In short the people can be lovely the site not so much

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I totally agree with Eberhard,
Airbnb is great, but it’s good to have another option for taking bookings.
I have been with Homestay.com for about 10 years now - I joined when they were in their previous incarnation as HomestayBooking.com.
The customer service / management team which is based in Dublin is faultless, and easily accessible 24/7 on the chat and email.
We have hosted some wonderful long term guests of all ages & nationalities who booked through Homestay.com
They are generally people who aren’t looking for 5 star accommodation, but looking for a great local experience in a real home.
I also cook dinner for them here if they choose , as we enjoy doing this & prefer that guests do not have hot food in their rooms.
Most hosts would not want to do this, but this is our unique feature and we factor it into the cost of the room.
We especially love the young European / Asian travellers & backpackers that stay with us in the holiday seasons, as they are just so excited & happy to be discovering Sydney & Australia.
Generally they do not come here to have parties, but to go and see the sights & attractions ( + always koalas !) & do everything they can in a short time on a low budget -
but are often the most fun, interesting, helpful & appreciative guests.
I am happy for Airbnb or Homestay.com to have their 15% as the support & back up they have offered us is well worth it.
The payment system with Homestay.com can be a little awkward, as guests normally arrive tired, oxygen deprived after long flights & disorientated from Europe & take a few days to find an atm / bank that works for them.
This is anticipated situation, and as long as we communicate well with the guest, I will always give them a few days grace to pay the balance.
The only time I have had a problem is when a guest had requested an extended stay,
after the initial booking through the agency had finished & suddenly they avoided payment, or started to makes excuses not to pay.
In this case we have cut our losses & suggested a local hostel - as it’s not worth continuing to keep a hidey / lazy / non-paying guest sticking around like a bad smell.
99% of guests who extend or return to our home stay pay up front without even being asked.
I believe Homestay.com are working on updating their payment system.
In conclusion Homestay.com are highly recommended :four_leaf_clover:

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Very interesting discussion. This service has been around longer than Air? I would definitely like some of their stuff, but with two members here highly recommending they do sound interesting.

I am the first to admit that my math skills are awful, but I’m not sure I understand this. If the same place is listed on Homestay and Airbnb at $100 a night, and a guest books for one night, I’m going to get $85 (that I have to collect myself) if they booked on Homestay and I’m going to get $97 if the booked on Airbnb, right?

One advantage I’m seeing with the way Homestay works is, since they don’t control the money, they can’t easily take it away from you if a guest doesnt’ like something.

If the guest paid you with a credit card, they can probably do a chargeback, but if they pay with cash or check, that money is totally in your control.

You have to discern between the amount you are asking and the amount that the guest is paying.

If you list your place on AirBnB for $100, the guests has to pay $112, and you will get $97. So AirBnB keeps roughly 15%

To get that same $97 on Homestay, you will have to list your place for $112.
The guests pays $15 to Homestay, and you will have to collect the $97 yourself.

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@Chloe. I think that starting with the same price on both platforms is not the way to go! Instead of thinking about your price as what YOU will get paid, think of your pricing as what your guest will pay. In that case, your Homestay listing would be $115.00 and your AirBNB listing would be $100. Then your net is the same; and what the guest will pay is also the same.

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Well, the problem is with “marketing” the prices you publish.

If you list on Homestay at $100 a night, and on Airbnb at $88 a night, you would receive $85 in both cases, and the guest pays about $100 in both cases.

Problem is, the guest might think “$88 on Airbnb looks like a better deal than $100 on Homestay” while in actual fact, they are paying the same and what host receives is more or less the same.

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Thanks @smtucker and @Chris. Now I understand the logic @Eberhard_Blocher was trying to get across.

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