APAC 2017 Australian Enterprise Awards

, AE170047 Best Student Accommodation Scheme 2017 - New South Wales Homestay Network is a network of like-minded families who want to share their lifestyle with an international student to create life longmemories. We invited Tina Holland to share an absorbing overview of this innovative organisation and explore the secrets behind its success. Established in 1987 to provide accommodation for academic and student visitors, Homestay Network has since grown into Sydney’s premium homestay provider and has expanded its services to the NSW Central Coast, Melbourne, Canberra and the Gold Coast. Tina discusses the firm’s service offering and how it works to ensure every student and family is supported through every step of the process. “Here at Homestay Network we provide accommodation within Australian family homes for International Students coming to study in Australia. Hosts are paid to host students attending private schools, language colleges, Universities and internships across Australia’s major cities. We also manage Study Tour groups and private tours for students or guests wanting to spend time in an Australian family environment. “As part of our work we place students of all ages, and we have particular pride in placing students under 18 years old and offering guardianship arrangements. Our mission is to place students with caring Australian host families, respecting cultural values and behaving in a professional and ethical manner. We strive to attract the best host families in Australia, as they represent Homestay Network. We feel confident every time we make a placement that the host is the best possible match for that student. To this end, we offer training and support to our host families and ensure they pass a rigorous onboarding process. The method includes Working with Children Checks, phone screenings, physical inspections of the hosts home and monitoring of the student placements we offer to those hosts.” What truly sets the firm apart is the expertise it has gained over the 30 years it has been in operation. Drawing on this vast expertise, Homestay Network is able to ensure that students are only placed with families who are welcoming and supportive, as Tina emphasises. “Homestay Network is the longest running homestay company in Australia. We have an experienced and dedicated team who have a proven history of delivery. One of the key differences for our business is that we believe we have a ‘high touch’ business, meaning that we connect with our clients on the phone and in person. We do not rely solely on the technology available today and web presence. Similarly, we don’t just redirect our clients to our website; we take the time to speak to them. As we are in the business of placing people with other people, we need to be certain our hosts are decent, trustworthy and caring. The best way to get to know anyone is to spend time talking to them, and that’s what we do. We often ask ourselves “would I like my child to live there?” and the answer needs to be ‘yes’ every time. “Another key differentiator is that we do re-inspect our hosts every 12 months; we do not assume that nothing has changed within a host’s family. Homestay Network physically re-inspect the host’s homes and note any changes so that our students are going to positive environments. We take this opportunity to touch base with the host and make sure they are still enjoying hosting and are still suitable to host and represent Homestay Network. All too often families are changing by way of suffering a loss, a divorce or a hardship of some kind. If this is the case, we ensure our hosts take a break as this is not going to be a happy time to host a student.” Over recent years, accommodation options for students have changed, especially for the students aged over 18. In many cities, there are companies like Urbanest and Iglu that offer student accommodation centrally located and appealing to international students. This style of housing is often, clean, well presented and affordable. This format is competition for homestay families for the over 18 age group. Homestay Network’s selling point is the personal contact that homestay offers students along with the fact that students will be speaking English at all times thus re-enforcing what they are learning each day, and this has helped the firm to remain ahead in this highly competitive industry. Moving forward, Tina foresees a bright and exciting future as the firm looks to expand further and achieve even greater feats over the coming months and years. “Looking to the future, although Homestay Network started in Sydney and have built a great base of hosts with over 3,000 families, we would like to have more placements in Melbourne and are looking to start in Perth this year. By 2022 we hope to be fully operational in all States of Australia as many of our clients are asking for Homestay Network presence, particularly in Perth and Melbourne.” Company: Homestay Network Pty Ltd Contact: Tina Holland Contact Email: tina.holland@ homestaynetwork.com.au Address: Suite 10 Level 3 32 Delhi Road, North Ryde, NSW, 2113, Australia Phone: 0061 404 077 457 Website: homestaynetwork.com.au

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