Homestay, a niche item in India’s domestic holiday itinerary until a decade ago, has become a warm alternative to cold hotel lobbies for travellers. A report by online travel community HolidayIQ showed there were 2,281 registered homestays in India in 2016 compared to 17 in 2004 — recording more than 130-fold increase.
The report added that almost one in two families (49%) preferred homestays as their choice of accommodation.
One of the reasons for the popularity was that 55% homestays were priced within Rs2,000 per night, the report added. Properties priced between Rs2,000 and Rs5,000 accounted for 42% homestays.
“A holiday is as much about the journey as much as the destination. For travellers to completely get the feel about the culture and lifestyle of particular places, one should opt for a homestay,” said Hari Nair, founder and chief executive officer of HolidayIQ.
The report added that majority of holidaymakers picking homestays were families (49%) followed by groups (20%), singles (16%) and couples (14%).
While such accommodations are available at all postcard destinations across the country, South housed most of them, the audit stated.
For instance, destinations such as Kochi, Alleppey, Madikeri and Chikmagalur were among the top five cities to house homestays and Coorg was the country’s homestay capital, added the report. The hill station saw a large number of visitors choosing homestays over hotels, it added.
“I recently saw a popular web-series wherein an elderly couple hosting foreign backpackers in their homestay at Manali. That explains that a section of young people are averse to the bell-boy routine of hotels during holidays,” said Mihir Ahuja, a Thane-based chartered accountant, who had booked a homestay at Alibaug for a short vacation last week