Are host families here to stay?

Holidays mean different things to different people. For some, it’s an opportunity to be eagerly awaited; and for others, it’s an opportunity to explore the world and have adventures, without being a slave to the economic pitfalls of the hospitality industry. A third category of travelers – whose size increases considerably every year – prefers to marry these two opposing concepts by frequenting luxury villas and homestays.

Although they’ve been popular for more than a decade, it’s the pandemic that has catapulted homestays – especially the luxury type – to travelers’ preferred choice. Consequently, luxury villa rental services have seen immense growth, becoming absolutely de rigueur after 2020. However, can this trend continue with the return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normality? Do people seek the promised comfort of traditional hospitality where all needs are catered for? Or will they continue to choose the warm comfort of rental villas?

“The concept of homestays in India is generally seen as a cost-effective option over hotels and resorts. In fact, generally they are not considered as luxurious and comfortable as hotels. Through our business, ‘Barefoot Bungalow’, we wanted to break this myth and offer our guests the comfort and luxury of a high-end property as well as the privacy and individuality of their own space,” says Harpal Singh Gulati, who converted her family vacation home. at Buranshkhanda in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand in a luxury homestay villa in June 2021. Since opening they have had a good response with many families and groups of friends choosing to stay with them.

One group that has understood the appeal of luxury offerings is StayVista, which until recently was known as Vista Rooms. Ankita Sheth, one of the co-founders, promotes her brand philosophy as embodying the luxury and comfort of high-quality service amid sweeping vistas. With nearly 500 properties in India and Dubai, StayVista’s vision has grown and expanded over the years. “We try to bring a resort experience to vacation homes. The pandemic has changed things for the travel industry. Since travel is an essential part of life and our secluded villas promise safe and hygienic luxury, we are seeing more bookings than we have seen before. This pent-up demand has led us to onboard 50-60 additional luxury properties over the past few months,” she explains.

Ruhaniyat, a homestay in Chandigarh

A huge benefit of the luxury villa rental experience is the ability to simulate the ease and comfort of home while enjoying the vacation experience. Those who need to work can do so in large, unhindered spaces at their own pace. Govind Gaur, co-founder of WanderOn, a group travel service aimed at younger audiences, launched his Vertical Workcations during the pandemic. This platform lists the best rental properties suitable for those who prefer to work away from home in beautiful surroundings.

According to data published on Statista.com, revenue growth for this travel segment is expected to reach US$1,213 million in 2022. Therefore, it looks like there will be no impediments to the continued success of rental services. of villas. Pamela Mukherjee, Travel YouTuber on “Every Corner Of World” shares her take on the subject: “It’s a trend these days to work from the mountains or the beaches. When someone sees the videos from different staycations, BnBs or villas, he also wants to travel more and work in exotic locations for longer periods of time Luxury villa rentals are definitely a trend, but seem to be here to stay

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