Is your hostel humming along smoothly? Are you considering starting a second? There are still so many cities that either need a hostel or need more hostels that now is a great time for operators to consider a second location. Andy Ward is the owner of Drifter Jack’s in Austin and Ember in Denver, two top-rated hostels. He joins us today to tell American Hostels what it was like to start a hostel, the second time around.
Did you know that road trips are back in fashion? Turns out we can only watch so many fiascos or suffer through so many baggage fees (paying for a carry-on? Really? ) before many of us decide it’s time to pack up the SUV and hit the road. The particulars of the recent uptick in road trips can be a boon to the hostel industry. In particular, isolated, off-the-beaten-track hostels should take notice of the recent road trip trend.
Have you heard of bleisure? Even though it sounds kind of “bleh,” it’s actually one of the most important trends in travel right now. Bleisure (noun) is the practice of tacking on a couple days of vacation before or after a business trip. This practice has grown 40% in only the last two years. Here in the United States, we’re up to 60% of business trips turning into bleisure and who knows how much more room there is to grow? Based on the characteristics of bleisure, it’s clear that hostels stand to gain the most from capitalizing on this travel trend. Let’s dive into some bleisure insights provided by our friends at Expedia and see what we can learn.
UPDATE: Isaacs sold for 9.7 million euros, 200K euros over the asking price. “We received numerous bids from both national and international investors and this significant transaction is yet another confidence boost for the Dublin hostel market, a sector which is attracting significant investor interest presently,” We don't know who the buyer is yet, but this is good news for the hostel industry in Dublin, Ireland, and Europe at large!
If you’ve got an extra 9.5 million euros lying around, boy do I have the opportunity for you! Dublin’s third largest hostel, Isaacs, is for sale. Dublin is booming and this big hostel is in a prime location. Isaac’s parent company declared bankruptcy back in 2012, but with an 8.6 average rating on Hostelworld, it seems the guests didn’t seem to notice. Here’s why if you have 10 million euros to spend, Isaacs would be a great buy.
Have you ever ordered hotel room service? Sure, in terms of the prices, it’s a scam. But it’s one of those fun unique elements people enjoy about staying in a fancy hotel (kind of like a bidet!). Most hotels don’t have restaurants and so they’re using food delivery apps like GrubHub to substitute for room service, but with the ability to order from a smart device in your room and earn hotel loyalty points for your Chinese food delivery. Here’s how we can take this practice and modify it for the hostel scene.
When you get off a flight at your final destination and make your way towards the airport’s exit, you always pass a certain point where you’re no longer in the secure area of the airport. If you left something behind, you’re out of luck, because at this point, you cannot return to where you came from. Wouldn’t it be great if your hostel’s website could work like that? A backpacker arrives at your website after using an OTA to get there, and after looking around they don’t go back. Instead, they just book directly. Cornell School of Hotel Management named this the Billboard Effect and found that 65% of guests who book directly, first visited an OTA. Unfortunately, unlike at the airport, there is no security guard to prevent a potential guest from re-entering the OTA’s website, but you can give them every incentive not to.
The strong U.S. dollar and the unwelcoming message coming from the White House means that U.S. hostels need to increase their efforts to educate Americans on the benefits of hosteling. Hostels may be tempted to focus efforts of foreign travelers who are already familiar with the concept of hosteling, but given that this market segment may continue to stagnate, we should look for growth opportunities from the domestic traveler market.
Some hostels also avoid serving Americans given the fear that many of them could be troublesome guests who are simply seeking cheap accommodation, who will detract from the traveler atmosphere and create problems for hostel staff. Managers should ensure that any policies that are intended to discourage anti-social behavior are carefully implemented without repelling legitimate American domestic travelers.