From a business model, homestay service has become an identity of Hoi An, the tourist town in central Vietnam that mesmerizes visitors with its charming quarters and slow-paced lifestyle.
At the 2017 ASEAN Tourism Forum in Singapore in January, the collective homestay services on Thanh Nam Street in Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An City, located in Quang Nam Province, were honored with the Homestay ASEAN Award, dedicated to outstanding homestay service in Southeast Asian countries.
The service has actually been popular with foreign tourists for a long time, as hundreds of households in Hoi An have long offered visitors a taste of the city’s vibe through their hospitality and friendliness.
Though it was not the peak tourist season, all four rooms at Ly Phuc Homestay on Thanh Nam Street were fully booked.
Le Thi Thu Ly, the owner, was chatting exaltedly with her foreign guests Camille Burgeot, 27, and Benoit Courbé, 31, who went on and on about the beauty of Hoi An and the professionalism of its homestay owners.
“Everything here is just amazing,” Burgeot said. “We had a beautiful and cozy room with professional service and friendly staff.”
Ly’s work ethics are as simple as treating her guests as if they were her family members.
“My husband and I always try to invite our guests to join us at the dining table,” Ly said. “That is when we open up about our family, the education of our kids or Vietnamese culture and customs.”
At Trang Que, another homestay on Thanh Nam Street, 68-year-old Peter Bourke from Australia said he had been to Vietnam three times, and he had chosen to stay at the facility on two of the occasions.
The last time he stayed in Hoi An, Bourke said he had spent more than nine months at the homestay.
Bourke gave particular compliments to the street food and local lifestyle, which he described as “refreshing and wonderful,” and said he would love to extend his stay despite his health problems.
According to Nguyen Dung, 45, the owner of Trang Que Homestay, one of the secrets to keeping visitors coming back to his place is maintaining a fixed price policy and treating them with sincerity.
“Apart from the basic commodities, guests at our homestay are also treated to free Vietnamese-style breakfasts,” Dung said. “They can also join us at daily meals if they want to.”
According to Dinh Hai, director of Quang Nam Province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, there are currently 225 households in Hoi An City that offer homestay services.
The business model has grown in popularity in recent years, he said, adding that it has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from foreign tourists.
“The 2017 Homestay ASEAN is proof of our homestay service’s quality and serves as a promotional material for the city’s tourist industry,” Hai said.