How Nairobians are renting out their homes to tourists
It has been tipped as an easy way to substitute your income in a fun way typical of Africans hospitality.
Nairobians have embraced the home stay concept that is popular in Europe and are now becoming hosts for visiting foreigners who qualify to be hosted in African homes.
Some tourists opt to stay in homes as opposed to hotel rooms in a bid to experience the cultural diversity of the country they are visiting.
Home Stays Africa is a Nairobi based company that inspects homes of prospective hosts to ensure they meet the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism criteria.
According to the company’s sales executive Njoki Waititu, the new tourism concept has been embraced by 100 home owners across East Africa most of them being Nairobians living in posh estates like Runda.
“After we inspect the homes and are satisfied with the living conditions, the host tells us the amount they are charging per day then we upload details of the home on our site,” says Ms Waititu.
A host is required to pay an annual fee to the company that advertises their home so as to connect them to tourists and the amount depends on the home being advertised.
MODE OF PAYMENT
“Once a client (tourist) clicks on a home that he is interested in, an email comes to us and is received by the host who then does a background check on the tourist and they agree on the terms while we monitor their back and forth conversations,” says Ms Waitutu.
The tourist and host then agree on the mode of payment to be used and if there is any upfront deposit required they transact.
Ms Waititu who has been in the business since November 2014 says 65 tourists and families have been hosted in the Home Stays Africa houses and have enjoyed their visits to East Africa.
“We have not had any case of a family mistreating a client or the client acting in an ungrateful way that has left the host family with any losses,” says Ms Waititu.
The tourists who qualify for home stays are vetted by the Ministry of Tourism and a coordination between the Kenyan embassy and that of the visitor done to ensure they are of good character and can be housed by residents.
Other companies that help interested host families meet the requirements and help connect them to the tourists include Msengoni Homestays, Responsible Travel and Homestay.com.