Bekal Fort Homestay
The leap in the number of tourists around the world had seen a surge in the hospitality sector and the way they experience places. More and more people opt out to experience the true culture and charisma of a community through homestays. At Bekal, there are several homestay options, but the Bekal Fort Homestay stands out. Perfect for families and solo women travellers, the cozy, comfortable atmosphere of a house and the genuine hospitality of the hosts makes the stay a pleasant experience for every visitor.
It all began in 2017 when we planned to build a second floor to our old house, our longest ever wish to be fulfilled, says Ambujakshan, the proprietor of Bekal Fort Homestay. For the past three years, his family is running a homestay near Pakkam in Bekal, which got the highest rating on Booking.com, even better than the luxury hotels in Kasaragod. They offer two standard double rooms with some good amenities. Receiving guests was not a new thing for the family. Ambujakshan, who is a retired school headmaster had moved to Kasaragod from the southern district of Kerala, with regard to his job. For his relatives and friends travelling a long distance, their house has always been a sheltered place. But never did he thought that this habit would turn out to be a profession.
“For those people who have actively engaged in public and social spheres of life, the retirement life is quite depressing. It has always been a concern for us children,” says Anoop Ambujakshan, son of Ambujakshan. Being in the hospitality industry for so long, his passion for hospitality enabled him to think of starting his own homestay. He thought homestay could be a great opportunity for his parents to meet people around the world and engage themselves while doing what they love. His family supported the whole idea and opened the door for travellers.
Every new business faces the challenge of finding the market. Conscious of such challenges, Anoop started to advertise about the homestay, almost a year before it was opened. Taking the time to open into the market, this unique way helped him to have the highest number of visitors in the initial year itself. He could also see that there were very limited budget-friendly homestays in Kasaragod. This has also helped him to get a fair number of customers. Another major plus point of the homestay is the healthy and delicious home-cooked meal they serve. “All credit goes to my mother, who keeps on serving flavourful food. Guests from all around the world relish her food” says Anoop, attributing to the success factors.
“Our initial investment was ten lakh rupees, which was used for the construction of the building. We took a bank loan for the construction, and thankfully we can repay the loan amount,” says Ambujakshan. He also acknowledges the training and classes conducted by Bekal Resorts Development Corporation (BRDC) in a bid to nurture and maintain professionalism in the business. Ambujakshanis also a trainer in many of their programs, especially in storytelling sessions about Kasaragod and its history. A history teacher by profession, he is well aware of the unwritten historical tales and lores associated with the tourist destinations in Kasaragod.
Successful in the first venture, the family plans to take up this initiative to the next level by starting a hospitality company. In partnership with his friend, Anoop has taken another heritage house in Kasaragod for lease and is currently running that homestay too. A family without any prior entrepreneurial experiences, the story of Bekal Fort Homestay is inspirational. According to Ambujakshan, what matters in the industry is how well you treat your guests.