Opening up your very own hostel is a great way to break into the travel industry. You'll be a business owner who gets plenty of face time with people from all over the world. Plus, opening up a hostel can be an outlet for creativity while earning an income. If you want your hostel to be successful in today's competitive market, check out these top tips.
Location. Location. Location. It makes more of a difference than you may think. Choose the wrong one and your whole business could be on the line. Pick out a neighborhood that doesn't have a reputation for being dangerous and preferably one with top places of interest for tourists that are nearby. Most importantly, choose a city or town that draws in tourists to begin with but isn't overly saturated with hostels already. While Paris is a Mecca for tourists, a small town surrounding a national park may be a better option as there will be less competition.
Find a Niche
Experiential travel is in these days and something that will truly set your hostel apart is having an interesting niche. Think of a theme that is suitable to your personality and destination to make it more unique. A hostel themed on surrealism artwork, The Amazon Rainforest or Under The Sea will probably be of more interest to travelers than a hostel that is just like all of the others.
Choose Your Ideal Customers
What kind of guests are looking to attract to your hostel? If you haven't asked yourself this question yet, the time is now. If you have a hostel that is heavy on the partying, older guests and couples may not want to stay there. However, if your hostel is more upscale, you may deter the party and backpacking crowd.
Make it Special
Aside from a unique theme, be active about making your hostel special. This includes everything from special events, on site parties and offering tours to book exchanges, opportunities for mingling, interesting décor and options for relaxation like swimming pools, hammocks and a board game selection.
Keep it Clean
One of the biggest complaints seen in the ratings section for hostels is cleanliness. A dirty hostel is a huge turn off for guests and can hurt your business dramatically. Many hostels are located in older cities and have been converted out of older buildings that can be hard to keep clean. While it can be costly to make full on restorations, consider handling just the main culprits like bathrooms and the communal kitchen. Also make sure to frequently check for creepy crawlers like bed bugs and termites, both of which can scare potential guests away immediately and send your ratings plummeting.
Get The Word Out Right
There is a big difference between getting the word out about your hostel and getting it out in the right places. You can send out flyers and post on social media all you want but unless you are reaching your targeted audience, your efforts may be wasted. Target travel forums, create relevant Pinterest Pins and make sure that you are on Instagram with travel related hash tags. Another popular way to get the word out is to reach out to travel bloggers, invite them to stay and ask them to blog about it in return. This way, you can utilize their audiences who are in to travel and may be your future customers.