Rural-urban trend gets suburban: Hanoi outskirts into the homestay act

By Nguyen Ha   November 2, 2018 | 01:55 pm GMT+7
Rural-urban trend gets suburban: Hanoi outskirts into the homestay act
A homestay in Soc Son near Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Luxstay

Homestay services started out in Vietnam’s rural, remote areas and then became an urban trend; now it’s going suburban.

They were first introduced as a tourism attraction and a way for rural households to make extra income, allowing visitors to become paying guests and get a feel for daily life in the country.

Then, the global trend of individuals renting out their spaces to visitors via services like Airbnb caught on in Vietnam’s urban areas, especially in cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Now the service is moving into suburban areas of major cities and the outskirts of Hanoi is in on the act.

According to market research firm AirDNA, the number of Hanoi homestays reached more than 8,100 last year. In the first half of this year, the number has grown to 11,200.

Statistics from Luxstay – a homestay booking platform, shows that the number of residences under this model is growing quite impressively. One representative said that every month, there are several thousand applications to join the system. After screening, Luxstay adds about 300 to 500 qualified rooms per month.

The homestay trend started to flourish in Hanoi two years earlier, but it was concentrated mainly in the inner city, targeting foreign travelers, according to industry insiders.

However, recently the service has migrated to 30-50km outside the city, including neighboring provinces, catering not just to foreigners, but to young Vietnamese seeking to take a few days off.

Hanoi's suburban districts of Soc Son, Ba Vi, and Thach That are areas that are particularly popular for homestay services; and the neighboring provinces of Hoa Binh, Vinh Yen, Vinh Phuc, and Ninh Binh are also beginning to see this model work well.

Duy, the owner of a homestay service in Soc Son, said he had invested more than VND3 billion ($128,900) in the project. He initially bought the land and built a weekend getaway for the family. Later, when some guests asked to rent the place, he realized that it was a business model with potential.

"Weekday holidaymakers are mainly student groups or freelancers, paying about VND 5-6 million ($214 – $257) per night (for the whole house)."

Meanwhile, during the weekends, families and office workers, pay up to VND8 million ($343),” he said, adding that the average occupancy rate is about 50 percent. The remaining space is left to serve the needs of the family.

Le Kien Trung, head of a homestay chain with about 40 residences in the outskirts of Hanoi, said that as life in the city becomes increasingly crowded and polluted, the need for shared space for relaxation also increases.

This model typically targets families and young, dynamic consumer segments. However, he said that these tenants demand high aesthetics as well as architectural value in homestay facilities.

As many as 21.73 million visitors arrived in Hanoi in the first 10 months of this year, up 9 percent over the same period last year. The city’s tourism revenues reached VND63.4 trillion ($2.72 billion) in the period, according to its Department of Tourism.

 
 
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