There’s no question about it, staying close to shimmering attractions at fancy hotels makes for a shiny vacation, but it’s often confined to a weekend. Thankfully, all a strange new place needs to feel like a second home is for you to spend time with its people. And with this in mind, travellers are resorting to staying with families over hotels when going abroad.
For travellers tired of quick, short visits to tourist hotspots, staying at a house that belongs to a local is their solution to getting a more authentic experience of what it’s like to live in another place – often at a much cheaper cost.
And now, with platforms like AirBnb, Roomorama, and Couchsurfing, hosting travellers has become easier than ever.
This article takes you through the most crucial steps to follow if you intend on renting a room or hosting a traveller or expat in Malta.
1. Decide what kind of hosting experience you can offer, and what you can accommodate
Hosting successfully isn’t just about landing a booking; it’s about what happens after the guests arrive. Consider why travellers are paying to live in a stranger’s house in the first place.
If you just want to rent out and you’re not really interested in making ‘friends’ or new connections, that’s totally fine. In this case, consider spending some of your time writing some tips and recommendations to make it easier for the person staying at your place. You can look around and find informative leaflets and maybe a book or two about Malta’s places and people. Leave the notes, leaflets and books in their bedroom and you’re all set.
2. Make your home ‘ready to share’
Don’t invite people to stay over before making the right adjustments and modifications. It’ll turn your guest’s trip into a nightmare and your gig as a host into a failure. Moreover, between bad reviews and your own frustrations, it’ll likely be the first and last time you host.
Here’s 10 ‘survival’ tips for sharing a house with other people.
3. Get the permit from the Malta Tourism Authority
Yes, it’s boring red tape, but if you get caught renting a room without a licence, you are liable on conviction to a fine of between €1,164 and €23,293. Mainly, all you need is to get a license from the MTA (Malta Tourism Authority).
Here’s the form you have to fill out. We also took a screenshot of the documentation you need to attach to your form.
4. Use the right platforms to connect with travellers!
If you want to charge hosts:
Peer to Peer Travel Club (unmoderated)
If you want to host for free, (on these websites, you will also find free accommodation)
Hospitality Exchange (free)
5. Earn their trust
Get verified. If you are into serious business, provide as many verifications as you can (Facebook, Google, passports etc). Show your guests that you are a real person and not a scam.
6. Underpromise and overperform
One good review is twice as hard to get as a bad one, and half as effective. You may get your first €100 quicker, but if you promise what you can’t deliver, you run the risk of a disappointing review. If you talk openly about anything you feel may make them want to reconsider, it may take a little while longer to get your first customer, but you have a chance to surprise them. (..And that’s how you get those elusive, rare positive reviews!)
7. Get an interior designer to add character into your space
It doesn’t matter if you live in a concrete square and your budget is made up of “whatever I scrapped from the last three pay cheques”. Spending your money for some time with a person who’s an expert in design will improve your home better than any home ornament or piece of furniture can.
Thanks to their crafty DIY skills, relationships with local suppliers, and experience with garage sales, an interior designer, stylist, or an artist can help make your home twice as inviting at half the costs you would incur if you did it yourself.
8. Give your traveller an off the beaten track experience
Besides it costing less, people are preferring stranger’s homes to established hotels because it’s an easier way to get an authentic, local experience of living in Malta. They’re getting to know what it means to be a family on our island, and that few hotels can offer.
You don’t have to become buddies, if you have other priorities, a chat or two will suffice, but if you have some time, considering brewing up an outing that involves you favourite places and people on this island.
Travellers are not in your home looking for brochures, so don’t be afraid to talk openly about both the upsides and the downsides of Maltese life. You’ll end up comparing which country has it worse in no time! (We’re kidding, mostly).
9. Build partnerships with other hosts!
Hosting people can be challenging, but an experienced hand can help you skip the hoops. Besides, you can discuss problems, organise outings, or help each other out in an emergency. Say you need to cancel a traveller’s stay, you can check if another host may be able to accommodate instead.
10. Take photos of what they can do with the space you’re providing
When you’re putting up photos of your home, help them imagine activities. Hosting friends for a BBQ on the rooftop or a casual hangout by the garden? Take a photo. Do the same with casual dinners and movie nights by the sofa. If you have a bay window or a reading nook, add coffee, a couple of books and take your shot.
Unfamiliar with taking photos? This article will get you on the right track.
11. Add a picture of a map of the area and write down some tips for commuting
Public transport in Malta are a nightmare, so write down the buses they should take to get to Valletta and other central places around Malta. If you can, try to also explain to them which bus stop to use that’s closest to your place.
12. Spend on crucial amenities
None of these are a necessity, and chances are your home will already have most of the items listed hereunder. But, if you have some money to spend, prioritise this checklist.
- Battery and phone chargers
- A hair blower
- A comfortable mattress,
- Sheets, towels
- An Umbrella
- A book or two about Malta