If you’re in the process of becoming a homestay host or are already doing so and want to get more student bookings, it’s essential to promote your homestay effectively. We’ll be taking you through this process so you can market your home to your best advantage.
Why is it important to promote your homestay?
Your homestay is just one of many options out there for those looking to stay with a host family in London, so you’ve got to stand out. If you don’t, then you probably won’t gain much traction within this community, and you’re not hosting to your full ability. If you’re missing out on guests to your home, then you’re also missing out on additional income too.
A homestay is just like a business, even though it’s in your own home. If you want to be kept busy with students, then it’s up to you to show off your home as best you can. Then, you’ll be fully booked before you know it.
How to properly Promote Your Homestay
The first thing you should determine when promoting your homestay is what makes yours better than others. Remember that during the booking process, potential guests will be looking at a lot of options, so you have to grab their attention with something that’s fantastic about your place. This might be the location, the home or even all about you as a host. Once you’ve decided what makes your place unique, it’s time to communicate this to us. You can do this on the host family application form, the home visit and via dialogue with our placements team once you are on the register.
Above all, you want to be accurate and transparent about what you have to offer. Most of our hosts give their hobbies and some information on their children too. This helps your guest to imagine more what it’s like to stay in your home and where they’ll fit within your day to day life.
Good photos are always a great added touch if you want to promote your homestay too. Giving a proper look around your home is ideal, so make sure your home is presenting its best on the home visit, so that our inspector can take high quality, well-framed photos where possible. A photo profile that accurately documents the house, while showing it in a good light will fit the bill. These are vital to help promote your homestay.
Students will routinely be asked for feedback on their host family experience by their place of study/work (language school, university or internship company). You can look to improve your homestay based on the feedback from your guests. If they felt like something was missing, like fast Wi-Fi or more common areas, then you can remedy this. These are usually quick and easy fixes that can make your property much more welcoming to others.
Adding a meal plan can also be a great way to boost your bookings too. Between 60% and 70% of homestay bookings are for half board, so if you offer this option then you will be sure to receive more students. It’s another way to offer something else that makes your guest feel more at home. Being flexible is your best bet for gaining bookings, so if you can provide more, then that will help you out.
Accommodation preferences of international students are usually different to those of UK students. If you are unsure about what students are looking for from homestay, then do not hesitate to ask us.
Your relationship with us
One of the most important things to bear in mind if you want more homestay students, is your relationship with HFS London. Our team develop close relationships with both our educational clients and our host families. The hosts that receive the most student placements are not just the ones who offer the best homestay properties. It is usually the hosts that (i) provide the best homestay experience and (ii) have the best relationship with our team that receive the most students.
For example, our team is often under pressure to place short notice students who perhaps have left it very late to apply. Some of these students require a visa and cannot get this without an accommodation. In this scenario, the team will prioritise hosts that they know respond quickly to our attempts to contact over hosts who take a couple of days to reply, or who rarely reply at all.
Similarly, the team will prioritise hosts who show themselves to be reliable in our dealings with them. This might be hosts who, for example, very rarely cancel confirmed bookings, or who understand that this is a partnership and who tend to work closely with us to resolve issues when they do arise.
For language schools, in particular, the placement of their students in accommodation a vital part of the student’s experience of London. Schools rely on us to select the best hosts for their students. In turn, we rely on the relationship we have with our hosts to do this.
If you are newly registered homestay host, then make the effort to stay in contact with our placements team post registration. A call or email every couple of weeks with an update on your availability is always welcomed here!
If you want help with getting your homestay out there and increasing your bookings, then click here to find out more about becoming a host family with us.