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Discover how STR’s new benchmarks will change the way hostels set prices

We’ve covered before how important it is for your hostel to have a revenue management strategy. One of the reasons why making decisions about your yield strategy feels complicated and scary is because you normally don’t get to see how other hostels in town are performing. Hostels have to make a decision based upon their own occupancy, their own prices, and maybe their competitors’ prices, without knowing how full everyone else is. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

STR has been collecting benchmarking data on the hotel industry for over fifty years, and now they’re starting to work with hostels too. I spoke to Patrick Mayock from STR about their new hostel benchmarking programs and what they mean for the hostel industry. 

BackpackerBiz Takeaway:

  • STR collects Occupancy and Average Daily Rate data from hostels and creates benchmarks.
  • Participating hostels use this data to compare their property's performance to the city's performance and make more accurate revenue management decisions.
  • STR has benchmarked hotel data for more than fifty years but recently started measuring hostels too.
  • Even small hostels that aren't big on number crunching can use this data to make easier decisions about their prices and stop guessing.
  • Hostels that want to work with STR can contact Patrick Mayock directly (

Click here for a video summary of this article

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Learn 4 things from the only hostel on the stock exchange

Did you know that there is a publicly traded hostel company? That’s right: there is a hostel that you can buy and sell on the London Stock Exchange! This hostel company is Safestay, one of Europe’s fastest growing hostel companies.

Besides the fact that it’s kind of cool you can buy hostel stock, being a public company means we get a glimpse into Safestay’s inner workings; a peek under the hood that you don’t normally get with other big hostel chains. This week Safestay made an announcement on its performance in 2018. Let’s take a look and see what we can learn, not only about Safestay, but what we can apply to our own hostels.

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american hostel conference

Four fast lessons from the 2019 American Hostel Conference

Last week I had the privilege of presenting at the American Hostel Conference. My talk was on trends in the economy, society, and the travel industry, and how they will affect hostels in 2019. Just as I hope the hostel operators in attendance learned from my presentation, I learned so much from the other presenters and attendees of the conference. We'll cover some of the topics from presentations in the coming weeks, but today let's recap what we can learn from the conference overall.

BackpackerBiz Takeaway:

  • The U.S. hostel industry is growing, and fast
  • Lots of US cities will soon get their first hostels
  • Established hostels can teach and learn from conferences
  • Everywhere there are hostels, there should be a gathering, even if it's small, casual, and easy to plan.

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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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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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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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Motto by Hilton

Hostels can sleep easy. Hilton chickens out with “Motto”

In 2017 Hilton’s CEO Chris Nassetta announced that they were developing a new brand for a “hostel on steroids.” Wow, the fourth largest hotel company, with 8,976 properties in the world getting into the hostel space. Can you imagine? The resources they’d have at their disposal would make Generator look like a little guest house. That would be pretty scary for hostel owners or would-be hostel owners. Sure, many backpackers enjoy staying exclusively at independent hostels but with plenty of chains like USA Hostels, Vietnam Backpackers, Mad Monkeys, and HostelOne, it’s clear there’s a huge segment of our audience that’s happy to stay with a chain, so why not Hilton Hostels? Yesterday Hilton announced their new brand, “Motto by Hilton” and although there may be steroids, there’s no hostel. Here’s what Motto is going to be about and why they dropped the S and decided to stick to doing hotels.

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isaacs hostel

Got $11M? Isaacs, 3rd largest Dublin hostel, for sale

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.

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