Often Compared to Airbnb, Homestay Aims to Offer More Social Connection

If you are looking for a more social connection when traveling, one booking website - homestay.com - aims to separate itself from the rest.

"We mostly concentrate on the relationship with people, and we want to make people feel like at home," says Massimo Catalano, a Homestay Host.

Homestay is frequently compared to Airbnb, although there are some notable differences. Hosts are required to live in a Homestay, and not only share their space with guests but interact with them, an arrangement that does not violate most local ordinances in the U.S. and abroad.

Airbnb, on the other hand, features many accommodations that are considered empty rentals, a practice that is the subject of a conflict in New York City over what amounts to illegal short-term rentals.

With two million listings in 190 countries, Airbnb’s footprint is much wider than Homestay’s, which claims just 50,000 in 150 countries. Homestay estimates that its rates average $46 a night, but the two places that I stayed were in the $100 range. And unlike Airbnb there are no guest service or cleaning fees added.

While you can book a private bedroom with Homestay, you just might find yourself sharing a residence with other guests. You are also more likely to encounter a family pet on premises, and are guaranteed a breakfast in the morning that just might reflect the local culture.

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