All posts by Byron Bunda

fire danger rating

Recession: Prepare your hostel now, or suffer later

Bushfires are a fact of life in Australia. Everywhere you go, there are signs letting you know what the current level of fire danger is. In Australia, there isn’t a question of IF there will be a fire. The question is rather, WHEN will there be a fire. Because bushfire is an inevitable part of Australian life, the fire service constantly encourages the public to have a plan in place. If you have a plan for how your family will react to a bushfire, you’re much more likely to survive. Economic recessions are a lot like bushfires in that they occur regularly, you can’t predict precisely when they’ll begin, but if your hostel makes a plan now, it stands a much better chance of not getting burnt down. Today lets talk about how you can prepare your hostel for a recession.

BackpackerBiz Takeaway:

  • Recessions are a natural part of the economic cycle. We are due for a recession but don't know when it will start
  • Preparing for a recession will help your hostel survive
  • Create a contingency plan for staffing levels during a downturn
  • Can you diversify your hostel's customer base to lower your risk?
  • Invest in your hostel while you have the resources to do so
  • Always look for ways to make your hostel more efficient
  • Future bookings hedge against possible downturns
  • Consider the effect on the guest experience when making plans for austerity measures

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texting

Why messages are the secret to higher hostel ratings and sales

It’s a story we’ve all heard or experienced ourselves: A guest at the hostel has an easily fixable problem, but instead of letting the staff know, they keep it to themselves, feeling unhappy, waiting until they’re checking out, or even worse, until they write their review. Naturally this is a frustrating experience for all hostel operators. We can’t help you if we don’t know you need help! However, it’s interesting to see where different hostels place the blame.

Some people say its the lazy millennials’ fault for being too addicted to their phones to walk down to reception and let them know there’s a problem. Others, like Podstel, are adapting to the change by using messaging to interact with their guests. Messaging is the future of communication for customer service. Your hostel can use messaging not only to keep guests happy, but also to make more money. Today we'll cover why messaging is great for hostels, give you some ideas on how to use messages, and then provide a few tech recommendations for making your messages easy and effective.

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podstel team

Podstel’s five pillars of hostel hospitality

What is the difference between service and hospitality? It’s a simple question, but it has powerful implications for your guests depending on how your hostel answers it. I had the privilege of attending the most recent HostelSkills conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The presentations were wide-ranging, covering quantitative topics like revenue management and qualitative topics like staff motivation. One of the favorite presentations among the hostel owners and managers in attendance was from Podstel, delivered by co-owner Ambrose Baptista.

Ambrose explained their five pillars of hospitality. Podstel’s five metaphorical pillars are a valuable mindset for every hostel operator. The ideas and the actions they embody are what separates an average, unremarkable, forgettable hostel from an exceptional, memorable hostel that guests rave about to their friends and fellow travelers. Today we’ll learn about Ambroses’ five pillars, how Podstel embodies them, and how your hostel can too. If you incorporate these ideas into everything you do, if you build these pillars into the foundation of your guest experience, your guests are sure to leave your hostel feeling delighted.

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science

Ask the Experts: Ira Vouk on revenue management for hostels

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Let’s talk about one of your least favorite topics: revenue management. Wait! You're about to stop reading because either:

  • A) You assume this article is going to confuse you. 
  • B) You assume this article is going to bore you

But, after we review the basics of what revenue management means, we’re going to discuss a killer tool offered by Cloudbeds® that:

  • A) makes revenue management easy and 
  • B) enables you to put it on auto-pilot.

Every hostel could benefit from either managing their revenue more effectively or saving time implementing their revenue management strategy, so whether you’re an excel linear programming and regression analysis wizard (few people) or a total revenue management novice (most people) this article will have something for you.

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hostelworld lasers

Warning! Hostelworld is changing their marketing strategy

Want a 5-minute video summary of this article? Here it is

Recently Hostelworld made a presentation to investors, reviewing their performance over the last year and outlining plans for 2019. What did the presentation say? Essentially, Hostelworld’s done with big money ads with 50 Cent and Mariah Carey. Now, they’re going to use their unique content to market specifically to their target customers. Hostelworld is finished using the shotgun approach. Now they are switching to lasers. This has huge consequences for the world of hostel marketing. First let’s talk about Hostelworld’s new strategy, then discuss how your hostel will be affected.

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capital markets

What Hostelworld’s investor presentation means for hostels

Did you know that Hostelworld is a publicly traded company? Anyone can buy shares of Hostelworld on the London Stock Exchange. This means that like every other public company, Hostelworld’s leadership has to give presentations to investors to let them know how the company is doing. This past week Hostelworld had its 2018 Capital Markets Day Presentation. In this video I highlight the insights from the investor presentation that matter most to hostels owners and employees.

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chinese guesthouse

New research published on tourism lifestyle businesses

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s not a lot of money being spent to research the hostel industry. We have prestigious universities and million-dollar research firms dedicated to studying hotel management, but when it comes to hostels, often the best we can do is take research from other realms and extrapolate the findings to our own. Dr. Gang Li is a professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey. Last month in the Journal of Travel Research he published a paper on how owners being motivated by lifestyle over profits impacts small tourism businesses. Although his research subjects were guest houses in China, the similarities with the hostel industry couldn’t be more striking. Check out what Professor Li’s research uncovered and how it applies to owner-operated, independent hostels.

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hi new orleans

What Hostelling International’s newest property says about the changing hostel market

Everyone in the hostel industry should be familiar with Hostelling International. The worldwide organization has been around for more than 100 years and operates in eighty countries. As an old-school non-profit organization, HI is not known for being edgy and splashy. However, don’t write off HI as being a hostel industry dinosaur. Here in the United States HIUSA is building a new hostel in New Orleans. Although they probably won’t invite DJ Khaled to the opening party,  their newest property will definitely be different from other HI properties. The upgrades at the latest HI echo changes within the hostel market as a whole. Here’s what HI is up to in the Mardi Gras city and why we should all notice what it says about our industry.

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plane

Learning from the experts: a conversation with Thor Harris

Recently I had a chance to speak to the CEO of Percepture, Thor Harris. Percepture is a digital marketing company. Their clients include hotels, cruise lines, tourism boards, even a railway! They have one big hostel client right now, but for most hostels, hiring Percepture would be like using a flamethrower to light a cigarette. Regardless, even a little hostel can learn from what a travel industry leader has to say, so read on!

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HostelSkills group shot

What I learned from attending HostelSkills Lisbon

The HostelSkills conference in Lisbon saw more than sixty industry insiders gather in Portugal for two days of presentations, networking, and parties. Many American hostels asked me about the conference, whether it was valuable and worth attending. Today I'll describe the big picture of why the HostelSkills conference was a valuable experience. If you missed the conference, subscribe to the blog to receive future posts sharing specific learnings from the presentations. Were you at HostelSkills Lisbon? Leave a comment and share your perspective on the conference.

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