How homestays can gainfully engage themselves during lockdown | Uttarakhand homestay, Pet-friendly homestay in Uttarakhand

How homestays can gainfully engage themselves during lockdown

Businesses shut announcement due to Coronavirus

It’s more than two months now that homestays across the country haven’t seen a single guest. The country is in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic and there is nothing one can do. And if we go by what experts have to say, year 2020 will be a bad year for homestay owners.

Having said that, the situation will ultimately improve, if not immediately, and bed and breakfast owners must prepare themselves for a tougher market.

The homestay domain will see a lot of variables like price fall and discounts from competitors,  extra-cautious guests,  possible government guidelines, hike in commission by partner aggregators,  etc.

So this is perhaps the best time to align one’s homestay business with post-COVID-19 requirements.

Frankly I was burning the candle both ends financially to get my homestay,  Katie’s Abode, Hartola ready for its first season,  but now I’m taking it easy and concentrating more on how to get my business going post-Coronavirus.

So where do we begin?

1. If you already have a running homestay business than the best way to utilize this lull period is by going back to the customer reviews. Hunt for negative feedback and suggestions and start working on them.

2. Have you wished your past guests and inquirers good health during this period? People always remember a kind word during difficult times. Call,  email or message inquiring about their well being. If they are pet parents ask about their pets too. Pet parents love when someone ask about their pets and also serves as a great conversation starter.

3. Make changes to your decor. The government is allowing some services like,  carpenters,  plumbers,  etc. to operate. If not, go for a DIY project. You will probably not believe I gave my house a new coat of paint all by myself. Before starting even I thought I would quit halfway. If you start now on some landscaping it will be a sight to behold once we have overcome Coronavirus and guests start coming.

4. Take out your calculator and rework everything. Cut corners,  stop unnecessary expenses,  work-out possible offers once things get going. Having said that,  don’t jump the gun to lower your tariff. If at all you have to, make sure you know what your competitors are doing and then act.

5. Connect with operators in the business like homestay listing companies,  travel agents,  etc.  Get a pulse of what they think regarding when businesses are likely to pick up.

I think these five tips are a good starting point. If you are doing something else, do share with us in the comments section below on how you are preparing to run your homestay business post-COVID-19.

Dhruv Baruah

Journalist by profession till he became a freelance-writer/co-host of Katie's Abode, Hartola.

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