A comprehensive report on the state of homestays has documented the rapid growth of an emerging accommodation market segment. The Homestay Index, available for download on the Homestay.com website, explores how the sharing economy—and homestays in particular—are redefining travel from the ground up, and what the future may hold for this and other related forms of lodging. It includes an informed analysis of homestay travelers and hosts – their behaviors and preferences as active participants in the sharing economy.
Homestay bookings have increased tenfold worldwide in the 2014, and twelvefold in the United States. More than 50 percent of homestay guests are 30 years of age or older, representing a shift away from homestay’s traditional student and language immersion roots. The average per room per night price of US$46 makes homestays an appealing lodging alternative not just for adventurers or students of language and culture, but a wide variety of traveler types, including those on holiday (38 percent of surveyed homestay guests), business travelers (14 percent, including internship stays), and event attendees (6 percent).
The use of homestays by event planners was noted in the report, and includes “pop-up” accommodation support for events including the Ryder Cup, the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games and, as announced just recently, the World Meeting of Families event in Philadelphia planned for 2015, which is expected to draw 2 million visitors to a city with an inventory of only about 11,000 hotel rooms. Pop-up homestays are designed to solve acute accommodation shortages during events.
Europe remains the heart of the homestay experience, with European travelers accounting for 40 percent of all guests in 2014. However, many of the top cities, as measured by the number of bookings in 2014, are outside of Europe, including Havana, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland, New York and Vancouver. Perhaps surprisingly, Havana was the third most popular homestay destination for U.S. travelers.
Every year, tens of thousands of people are deciding for the first time to open their homes to guests from all corners of the globe. More and more travelers are taking them up on their offers. Homestays have erupted as the embodiment of the sharing economy for accommodations, and represent a new choice for experiential travel.
Homestay.com estimates the valuation of the global private accommodation marketplace to be approximately US $15 billion.
To download a copy of the entire Homestay Index, or to learn more about homestays as an emerging lodging option in the sharing economy category, please visit www.homestay.com/index.
Homestay.com, named one of Europe’s top three travel innovators by PhoCusWright, is a Dublin-based firm pioneering new ways to enjoy experiential accommodation choices through a “hosted travel experience” homestay model. Moving this largely offline industry online, Homestay.com has also pioneered the “pop-up” homestay network, designed to solve acute accommodation shortages, mitigating price rises, and to help local communities benefit from large-scale local events. Homestay.com is a limited company and has raised venture capital funding through Delta Partners Ltd. The company also provides the Homestay Manager software to Homestay agencies and host families worldwide. Homestay.com chairman is Paddy Holahan, the founder and CEO of Newbay. CEO is Alan Clarke, formerly of Yahoo! and McKinsey and Company.