With millennial travellers investing a considerable amount of their time and income on prolonged trips, business has really gone up for hostels. But between the demands of their new guests and the pressure of competition, some improvements had to be made.
Breaking away from tradition, along with the usual dormitory style-accommodations, the more hip establishments now boast private suites, their cafeterias offering a wide range of meals suitable for all kinds of dietary preferences, and finally they encourage socialising among guests by offering them a common area in which to meet, and a host of activities and sightseeing opportunities across the city. Hostels are no longer simply a place to spend the night, they are now a valuable part of the travel experience.
Out with the Old, In With the New
The rise of hostels as the preferred millennial travel accommodation didn’t happen overnight, but some of the tactics used to get it this far are translatable across the board for any hotel or alternative accommodation.
- Direct Bookings & Mobile Access
It should go without saying that if you want your establishment to be noticed it needs to be listed across a number of online travel agencies. Since hostels fall in the category of low-cost accommodation there really isn’t much room for profit margin growth if all their bookings come from OTA listings. Which is why the team behind The Yellow , a popular hostel in Rome has developed a website that reflects the adventurous spirit of the guests they are trying to attract.
Millennials are much more likely to book on the go, with an increasing number of bookings coming from mobile devices, hoteliers need to be aware of the risk of losing out on direct bookings in the absence of a mobile adaptive website. The travel-savvy guest is well versed in the ways of hospitality, they might have spotted a hostel as an OTA listing, but deferred from booking there and instead chosen to check out the official website first. There they can often find discounts on guides and various tours. If the website has a mobile-friendly booking engine then the guest will most certainly prefer to take this option.
- Updated Hotel Software
Revitalising a hostel business plan often requires a strategic software update. The solutions you choose will pave the way to how you and your staff conduct much of your business. Integrated property management solutions (PMS) are favoured as they offer the opportunity of sharing information between different establishments. Stoked Backpackers, a South African hostel with several locations, utilizes this feature in order to gain easier access to accounts on both properties.
With a PMS you can also rely on features such as an integrated channel manager which your staff can use to control rates and distribution from a single platform. A central-reservation system is another great choice as it gathers every offer on your premises, from rooms to services, along with allowing you to create guest profiles which you can share with your staff both on site and in your other locations.
Having an up-to date hotel software is important for hostels as it allows management and personnel to get a better grasp on the way they handle their business and improve their bottom line.
The Millennial Influence
Hostel travel is marked by the millennials need to turn everything into an experience. As such accommodating millennials requires much more customisation, which is why many hostels now prefer to focus on presenting what makes them into a unique experience as a way of gaining a competitive edge over traditional hotels. There are three main things that millennials find desirable and would definitely be drawn to, namely: presentation, opportunities for entertainment, and taste. Let’s breakdown how a hostel can integrate all three:
If you were to go to The Yellow’s webpage you could easily overlook the fact that this is the front page of a hostel’s website. They seem to be trying to sell a chill party vibe which could be suited to all tastes. Photos of the location itself are framed in grey and are always followed by a host of activities and promotions in bold and vibrant colors. The room design itself has a more Scandinavian industrial streak to it, which is easy to execute and maintain. And of course, they boast a full assembly of social media profiles including their own YouTube channel that only further solidifies the image they are trying to project “This is the place to be”.
Setting up a list of activities or organising ones on site is a sure-fire way of attracting the attention of young travelers. Activities which promote meeting other people and making new connections are equally as valuable to the traveller as the accommodation itself. The Yellow’s cooking classes are a good example of such an activity. It can bring together strangers, teach them a new skill, and help them bond over the experience.
The food is not the main reason people choose to stay in hostels, and it can be a challenging expense for the hostel itself. Which is why many locations opt out of having a kitchen altogether. Rather, they set up a food court where the guests can bring their own meals, warm them up and serve themselves.
Or if the hostel does maintain a restaurant then the selection would be sparse but varied. A low maintenance dining experience is in line with the new trend of green hospitality as it minimises waste production and lowers the overall carbon footprint of the establishment.
Bars, on the other hand, are in quite the demand. Having an on-site bar would be a huge plus to the establishment and it would be quite popular with both locals and travelers.
Few industries have gone untouched by millennial demand. So it isn’t much of a surprise to see an entire branch of hospitality turn on its head and take off in an entirely new direction. Hostels have always welcomed those who wished to travel but could not afford extravagant accommodation. This new breed of hostels still meets this demand but has also adjusted to the fact that their new guests call for entertainment and new experiences, all of which their hosts are more than happy to provide.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.