Yatra to launch homestay option on 21 September2 min read . Updated: 10 Sep 2015, 07:22 PM IST
Initially, the offering will include 500 homestays and hotel rooms in about 20 cities mostly in Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan
New Delhi: Online travel company Yatra.com plans to add homestays to its offerings, starting 21 September. The aim is to tap the market of younger, backpacker category of travelers and families.
“For the value-conscious Indian traveler, what was missing in homestays was standardization, mostly in terms of quality," said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.
Initially, the offering, to be called Travelguru Rooms and Travelguru Stays, will include 500 homestays and hotel rooms in about 20 cities mostly in Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan. “We hope to increase this to 5,000 in three months. We already have around 40,000 hotels with Yatra," said Dhall. While the starting price has been kept at Rs999 per night, the average cost will be Rs2,000 per room per night.
The travel company will also soon offer budget packages in which the accommodation segment will be Travelguru Stays. On launch, however, the rooms will be available on a standalone basis, and packages can be designed around it.
“We see a lot of demand for homestays as many people want to immerse in the experience of the city. But till now, they were unsure of what to expect," said Dhall, adding that the company has a due process to vet the quality of the hosts or the property owners, which helps it ensure a level of standardization.
“Especially for short vacations, or road trips, people want to have their pets with them. They could find pet-friendly homestays," said Dhall. Some of the demand is also due to the fact that many Indian travellers have experienced shared accommodation abroad and are looking for something similar in India as well.
Homestays have been popular in Kerala, Rajasthan, Goa, and some parts of Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir. According to a 2014 report by HolidayIQ, Homestays in India: Trends & Patterns, homestays form 13% of total accommodation in the leading 50 emerging tourism destinations in India, with 72% being located in the southern part of the country and 17% in the north.
While earlier plantations and heritage properties were on offer, homestays are now available in regular houses as well. Various government departments also offer homestay options. For example, ministry of tourism has a scheme called Incredible India Bed & Breakfast/Homestay Establishments, in 11 states; Kerala tourism has such properties in 14 of its districts; and Gujarat has more than 100 such properties listed in various categories.
Private sector companies such as Mahindra Holidays and Resorts India Ltd, Saffronstays.com, Homestays.in, too, have ventured into this market.