The Department of Economic Development has appointed local firm MiQuando Limited, as the company responsible for the management of the Isle of Man Homestay Scheme.
The appointment follows a full tender process which was opened up to applicants earlier this year following the closure of Regency Travel who had been responsible for Homestay for four years.
The Homestay Scheme provides an opportunity for households to take in paying visitors for both the TT and Festival of Motorcycling. During the TT period homestay hosts can earn up to £1,800 of tax free income.
MiQuando will act on behalf of the Department and be responsible for carrying out property inspections, providing advice on the scheme’s fire safety requirements, marketing, online booking for visitors and assisting hosts with their property website profile.
Homestay registration is compulsory for any private household looking to take in paying visitors during the TT and Festival of Motorcycling to ensure that quality standards are met in line with the Destination Management Plan’s policy of providing exceptional visitor experience to tourists. MiQuando will move from the existing three-year assessment to a two-year assessment within the new regime to support this policy and ensure visitors are offered quality accommodation.
A principle of the tender was that service providers fully recover the costs of administration from those who register and provide the service. With the introduction of the new services, registration fees have been set by MiQuando with a new one-year registration and quality inspection costing £50. Hosts registering for two years can do so for £75, equating to £37.50 per year.
Homestay hosts with valid registrations for 2018 and 2019 will be not be affected by the changes in fees until their renewals are due.
Rob Callister MHK, Political Member at the Department with responsibility for Tourism, said:
‘We are pleased to announce MiQuando as the successor of the Homestay Scheme. We are extremely appreciative of the hosts who register for Homestay. The scheme is important to the Island’s visitor economy in order to help accommodate the large number of visitors that stay during the Island’s busiest periods. The introduction of the new website, online booking and deposit collection is set to make the Homestay Scheme more accessible for both visitors and hosts, enhancing the overall visitor experience.
‘We recognise that the fees have increased with the new provider, however, this ensures that the scheme pays for itself through income from those who use it and benefit, without any support from the general tax payer. This is a carefully considered increase that MiQuando has implemented based on their enhanced services and commitment to a quality visitor experience.’
Nigel Jones, MiQuando Limited Director, added:
‘We are delighted to have been awarded this contract. Homestay is a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the Island’s offerings and we look forward to building on the work already started and enhancing the Homestay experience for both hosts and visitors, in new and innovative ways.
‘We believe the new registration fees offer great value in respect of the services MiQuando will deliver in offering a modern, high quality homestay experience, in line with visitor expectations.
‘The focus now is a new website for the Homestay Scheme to show all the approved government registered accommodations available for the TT and Festival of Motorcycling, followed by the creation of a new interactive online Homestay experience, to make the booking process easier and quicker for visitors and hosts alike.’
For further information about the Homestay Scheme for existing homestay hosts, or Isle of Man householders interested in becoming a host, please contact the MiQuando Homestay team on 01624 640393, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.iomhomestay.com