Goa offers all kinds of accomodations for rich and not so rich travellers and toruists and business visitors now…AirBnbs and home stay have become very popular and they are mushrooming by the day, take your pick from a one BHK for Rs1,000 per night or a sumptuous villa with everthing laid on costing Rs14,000 per night plus plus. Homestays are also becoming popular and offer a more homely environment. All accomodation has to be registered with the Tourism Department which maintains a listing of all rental accomodation in Goa.
By Pankajbala R Patel
LIKE it or not everybody who comes holidaying in the small state of golden green Goa…wants a slice of Goa! Of course while it is still peaceful, gardens of paradise tucked away up north Goa or down south Goa…village ambience Goa offering the mod con comforts of a home away from home and more! Goa has lots on offer by way of the best eateries (foodie connoisseurs come here eat only), still cleaned up lovely beaches (though the sea may never be safe all the year around), temples and churches galore, waterfall trekking through forested terrain, a host of adventure sports …etcetera.
The charms of Goa are still of the yesteryear kind as well as today’s more hep times. Plus, Goa offers such a wide range of decent holiday accommodation ranging from five and seven-star luxury hotels to three-star budget hotels to Airbnbs and homestays. Airbnbs are primarily simple air bed & breakfast affairs and homestays may offer more by way of creature comforts without having to step out.
Many landed niz Goenkars have half-a-dozen homes of the vintage ancestral kind or the town houses with mod con comforts. Equally, Goa sees many entrepreneurs with money to burn going around looking for old tumbled down buildings to buy (without getting on the wrong side of the law), restore and rent out as premium private luxury residential accommodation for tourists, travellers and other Goa seekers who want short or long stays — the bigger properties may come complete with housekeeping staff and in-house limousines with driver to be used by the guests on holiday, be it a couple or extended family with senior citizens in tow seeking to sort out some health issues.
MORE and more Goans are doing up their leftover spaces in big homes to rent out as AirBnBs for short or long term rentals. Those into repeat stays in Goa don’t want to spend fortunes in starry hotels, and yes, earlier on many of them have invested in holiday home condominiums which are used as family holiday home – they may make their money in megapolis Mumbai or Delhi or Bengaluru, but they seek privacy or togetherness in a family condominium in Goa.
These condominiums literally pay for their keep when the owners are not in residence. Maintenance agents who take care of the property, renting it out with permission of the owner when not in residence. In fact, Goa is alive with real estate agents and dealers happy to take care of your property for you for a decent cut and it suits all parties while the good life lasts – also the properties are easily disposed when times get rough or there’s a shortage of vitamin M!
ALONG with the condominium craze came the buying of a second home in Goa, a luxury villa somewhere facing the beachside and here wealthy Delhites came with family and seniors to take a break from tiresome big city rat race…Goa has any number of villas for rent or for outright sale, and well-heeled city folk have a cook at their disposal, somebody for housekeeping and a car or hire purchase for whatever the weeks of stay…a driver too if required although these tourists usually like to go exploring Goa by driving the car themselves. They are adventurous and like to be independent and what are Google aids for if not to use?
Many who invested in apartments in blocks in beachside Goa have already got their investment money back and sold of their properties for lucrative returns. Goenkar Kenneth da Silva of Vasco da Gama port city owns something like 20 homestay and AirBnB properties and shares, “The income coming in is about a lakh or two every month and he rents the small one or two BHK properties at rates ranging from Rs1,000 to Rs7,000 per day, long-stays get a small discount, “Basically, my wife Cynthia who is a very particular woman works hard taking care of the maintenance of our properties, she has an excellent staff team to help her.”
After the guests depart the place has to be vacuum cleaned, refreshed, repaired here and there before being put on rent anew. He smiles that basically AirBnB’s offer “air, bed and breakfast…it’s a place to crash for many who come solo or in a group to Goa for business or some private work.” Sometimes breakfast is not included but the place has several eateries down the road to avail of meals. People who stay in AirBnBs are not interested in sightseeing, they are not tourists usually, “But some of them may expect five-star services for peanuts! We have to politely direct them elsewhere…”
CASA LONTANA PROPERTIES
SOMEBODY else not a Goenkar but who deals with AirBnB properties is Tushar Mehrishi, he says AirBnB is the alternative accommodation industry which is big in Goa, “In fact, Goa is AirBnB’s largest market in India. Repeatedly, year after year people are making a beeline for the villas. Most hotels do not allow the flexibility AirBnB villas do. Like think travelling with your pets. The government recognises the potential of alternative accommodation business and the risks associate with it. It is for this reason that Goa is the first state to regulate short term rentals and have a well-documented and organised registration process in place. Every home owner wanting to run an AirBnB now needs to register with the Tourism Department and is given a registration number.”
According to Tushar, “AirBnB homes offer budget options to senior luxury to luxury stays ranging from Rs100 to even Rs500 (USD) per night. I personally run six Airbnb across India under my brand Casa Lontano. My team and I are in Goa, Delhi, Ranikhet and Kasuali..” He sees this business booming and growing in the coming years and giving hotels serious competition, “It is for this reason that they the hotels are constantly running promotional offers and making it attractive to customers.”
Needless to say takers for AirBnB and homestays are from all metros for a lot of folk want a second home to run away too and some of them buy properties to monetise them as second homes for rental via AirBnB, then it’s a win win situation. Yes, Tushar agrees that Goans are realising they have large, spacious homes hard to maintain on their own, “so running AirBnBs is actually a great way for them to make money and get their properties in maintained condition. I find more and more home owners in Goa are choosing this option!
THIS is also to say that many long-time non-native Goans settled in Goa, living in large residential buildings they own – as the children grow and go away, find seniors rambling around huge homes in scenic locations but they live alone and maybe want some company. They have no hassles renting part of their rooms or maybe an entire floor of their three-floor building. Even retired well-to-do seniors of the Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada and even foreigners owning property in Goa are doing up the spaces or floors they don’t use as homestays, or better still as AirBnBs for rentals short and long. Discounts are offered on longer stays and those seeking to do business in Goa prefer to invest in these rentals which may be turned into working studios which function as a serviceable pad to live frugally but adequately.
For example, retired NIO scientist Ranadhir Mukhopadhyay has decided to put up his fully furnished 78 double metre suite with kitchenette and which offers a paroramic sea view for long rent in Dona Paula, he says, “this would make for suitable IT/Digital/Software office for creative minds!” He also offers a Casa Tranquila rooftop fully furnished studio hall in Nagali Hills with all mod cons laid, “I’m offering it as office space at Rs35K…or to individuals/couples at Rs3,000/day, major discount for long stay!” (If anyone is interested call him.)