Improving your hostel

How Getting To Know Your Hostel Can Help You To Improve Your Hostel

There are many things to that one can do to improve a hostel. However, when someone first takes over as manager, it is essential for a few things to happen. There may be cleaning, organizing, and generic things to do that can drastically improve your hostel. However, there are other practices that I think can be very effective in managing a hostel. One of them that I would like to discuss today is getting to know your hostel.

As a new hostel manager, there are few things more valuable that you can do than get to know your hostel. This is the main reason why many business like people to ‘work-their-way-up’. You learn the chain-of-command and vertical side of the job.

Imagine a scenario where a manager is hired to take over some administrative duties for a company that makes Product A. Imagine that this manager has no knowledge of the process required to make Product A. They just understand the numbers. How will it be possible for them to effectively manage the entire process? Unfortunately, this is what often happens and therefore there is often a large disconnect between management and the different aspects of producing Product A. Surely, this is an overly simplified example, but I think successful people/managers have the mindset of fully understanding the entire process. .

I have come up with a few tips that I think hostel managers, in fact all managers, can apply to find ways of improving their business. Part of improving a hostel or another business, is completely understanding where the issues are, therefore, you will see a reflection of this in the suggested points below.  Sometimes it is best to get your hands dirty. We have seen this in popular television shows such as undercover CEO/Boss and the like. Similarly, it is difficult to improve processes if you do not see them directly.


1.)  Work the shifts – I think that it is essential for a manager to spend at least a some time working the shifts of the ‘average’ employee. Working regular shifts enables one to understand all the logistical operations of a business wholly. Instead of just applying facts and numbers, you can also realize the tangibility of things as well. For example, you may learn that a rule, which you have applied is not feasible, or you may realize that you are not assigning enough tasks. When you work shifts you will gain a better understanding of the flow of the business, while understanding some of the unique challenges that may arise by shift. A manager who knows what they are managing is always better off.

Tips: Try to spend time working shifts as often as you can. Make sure that you work every hostel shift at least once or twice. This way you can get a very accurate picture of what a typical worker goes through each day. Additionally, you will be able to better troubleshoot and plan for the future. 


2.) Spend time in the places – Part of getting to know your business is spending time in it.  Spend time in the common rooms, cook in the kitchens, use the different bathrooms. Doing these things will enable you to best understand the entire hostel.

Tips: I have spent time in each of the common rooms of the hostel as well as using each bathroom, trying both kitchens, and more. I have found that we lacked certain utensils or appliances in the kitchens, or we needed different furniture for specific common areas. In my opinion, this has been essential in learning what ways that I can use to improve the hostel. 


3.) Sleep in the rooms – As I mentioned in the last point, you need to try the different rooms before you can find out what is wrong with them or how to improve them. If you sleep in the rooms, then you will have the opportunity to put yourself in the guests shoes. Effectively, be a guest at your own hostel. For example, perhaps you sleep in room 4 and find out that it can be loud or hot in the night. Maybe the door squeaks loudly when people enter in the night. Maybe the room lacks shelves or hangers for guests’ belongings. Whatever the case may be. You will get to experience things first hand by sleeping in the different rooms.

Tips: As rooms become available and there are vacancies, attempt to sleep in the different rooms from privates to dorms to best understand the ins and outs of them. You need to know what are the advantages and disadvantages of each room and how you can fix them. There may be small ways to make major improvements to your hostel. 


4.) Feedback – I will likely make a longer post about the importance of guest feedback in the future, but I will mention in this article as it is relevant for this section. Guest feedback can be beneficial in helping you to improve your hostel because they can help you to see other things as well as learn about different perspectives from them. Guests can offer you things that they have seen in other places or things that they experienced personally.

Tips: As you can, talk with your guests and get to know them. Ask them if they would be open to sharing their hostel experience with you. Be sure to ask them specific yet open questions regarding things in the hostel. There is no harm in telling them that you are attempting to improve your hostel and are looking for feedback. Honesty is the best policy. Remember your guests are the reason that you are in business, so it is most important that they are satisfied. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. 


Get to know your hostel and you’ll find ways to improve it.

This article is part of the hostel management tips series. Please feel free to check out the other articles.

See my Pinterest posts relevant to hostels here.


More hostel reading

If you are interested in hostels, you may like some of these articles.

How to find a hostel job – Tips and suggestions for landing that job while you are traveling.

Hostel Etiquette – How to not be a that guy in a hostel.

Why Hostels are so great – My reasoning for why I like hostels so much

9 cool things about working in a hostel – Read them to see!

Other hosteliscious articles here.


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One comment

  1. Great tips Andy, you really have got a manager’s mindset. Really getting behind the issue and experiencing things as an employee and as a customer is really the key for any business I guess.
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