I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately. After graduation in May I will be leaving for one year on a backpacking trip around the world. I’m worried about securing places to sleep at an affordable price while not sacrificing too much around quality, service, and safety. You’d think that I would be making the most of the time I have left in my own bed and in my own home, but I’ve been struggling to lay my head down to rest without knowing where I’ll rest for the next year. Thankfully, hostels and hostel services have started to take notice of this concern that I and many other travelers on a budget have and they’ve begun to take action.
Hostels often have negative perceptions associated with them. Recent stories worldwide include travelers staying in hostels being attacked by other travelers, discrimination against travelers from hostel managers, and drug fueled parties ending in hospital stays. While interpersonal disputes and things out of the control of travelers often cause much of these issues, hostels and services that help travelers find hostels have been charged with projecting a positive image in order to drive business.
Hostelworld, a travel brand that allows travelers to search for a place to stay based on destination, is leading the way. The company reevaluated its priorities in 2017 and made the customer the center of all decisions. Hostelworld knows that marketing towards travelers is increasingly moving towards mobile devices and it is staying ahead of the curve. This included upgrading its mobile app to include a notice board where travelers can interact with hostels prior to their stay. In addition to this, intercultural barriers like language have been broken down by the addition of a translation feature to the Hostelworld app that allows guests to communicate with other guests from around the world. These features undoubtedly would make any traveler, including myself, feel a little more comfortable with staying in hostels. The company even replaced its chief marketing officer role with a chief customer officer position so that any marketing communications are made with travelers in mind. And the changes seem to have helped. Hostelworld saw a 6% increase in total bookings in 2017 and it predicts continued success in the coming year.
While the safety of a traveler staying at a hostel ultimately comes down to how the dwelling is managed, travel sites like Hostelworld can do a lot to inform an individual prior to a trip. With a customer centric approach to marketing, I certainly feel more confident in where I’ll stay over the next year. I know that this is a company that cares about those that use its service and is willing to help make the best living situation decisions possible. That’s all anybody can ask for when finding a home away from home.
Now I want to know what you prefer!
If you use travel services, what are you drawn to in using one company over another?
What do those company’s do to create a connection with you and build enough trust up to make trip plans?
Erwin, A. (2018, January 3). Belfast woman accused of throwing knife and pizza at fellow hostel resident. Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/belfast-woman-accused-of-throwing-knife-and-pizza-at-fellow-hostel-resident-36455934.html
Gwynn, S. (2018, January 11). Kristof Fahy joins Hostelworld as customer chief. Campaign. Retrieved from https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/kristof-fahy-joins-hostelworld-customer-chief/1454157
Hadar, S. (2018, January 14). Uruguayan hostel sued over refusal to admit Israeli couple. Ynet. Retrieved from https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5071035,00.html
Hobbs, T. (2017, November 6). Hostelworld: Young marketers must play a bigger role in shaping brand purpose. Marketing Week. Retrieved from https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/11/06/generation-exchange-hostelworld/
Percival, G. (2018, January 25). Hostel group sees bookings rise 6%. Irish Examiner. Retrieved from https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/business/hostel-group-sees-bookings-rise-6-824656.html
Powell, G. & Carmody, J. (2018, January 3). Nine hospitalized in suspected mass overdose at backpacker house in Perth; two critical. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-03/nine-rushed-to-hospital-for-suspected-drug-overdose/9300448
Rogers, C. (2018, January 11). Hostelworld ramps up customer focus as it appoints Kristof Fahy as CCO. Marketing Week. Retrieved from https://www.marketingweek.com/2018/01/11/hostelworld-ramps-up-customer-focus/