Hostel Marketing has grown exponentially in recent years, until recently hostels were a more humble concept in which an owner who had a flat in a big city or a house near the sea, put several beds and bunk beds in different rooms and rented them out little by little.
At that time, not much thought was given to how to make your business more attractive, but simply to compete by offering a much lower price with a much better location. Little by little this evolved, both hostellers and visitors realised that 8 people sleeping in the same room with bunk beds had its charm and people created connections with other travellers that they would never have created in a hostel.
Over the years, this has meant that hostels have ceased to be the cheap option and have become the main choice for hundreds of travellers. In many cases, this is the favourite choice of Generation Z, Although many believe that this is because they are young and do not have as much purchasing power, this is not always the case. Luxury Hostels and Concept Hostels have emerged. These are no longer as cheap as in the past but have retained the essence of room sharing. What once would have seemed crazy, is now breaking records and its audience is growing all the time.
At Alio Modo, we have long been steeped in hostel culture.not only do we work with it, which gives us a more professional point of view, but we also enjoy the concept, which helps us to understand the needs of the client and be able to bring solutions for our hostels. partners. That is why we have discovered the 10 keys to success for hostels.
1. Register on Hostelling Platforms
Maybe this is the most obvious option but not all hostels do it, as hostels generally tend to use platforms like booking or skyscanner to find travellers, but do not invest the time to look at hostel-specific platforms. In these you will not only find more options to fill your beds, but you will also find the public that is ready to enjoy your essence, some of these platforms would be: HostelWorld, Dorms.com, Bedbooker, Hostelbookers.com, etc.
Advantages of using Hostel Specific Platforms
The main advantage of using these platforms is that you find your target audience and not just a person who fills your bed. If you are listed on Booking and have a very competitive price and good reviews, you are likely to fill all the rooms, but this will only mean that you have brought in someone who simply wanted a cheap bed.
On the other hand, if you appear on a specific platform for hostels, you will find customers who will want to enjoy your experience and connect with the rest of your customers. This translates into a more welcoming and friendly atmosphere in the hostel and an improvement in the chances of people leaving a good review of their experience, which will attract more customers in the future.
2. Get a professional website with SEO
We are still surprised that in the 21st century we have to explain it, but a company cannot grow without SEO. This is the extra that will continue to work when you are focused on other tasks. Good SEO is still working every day even if you don’t check it constantly.
If a hostel has worked on SEO it is good, even when you are not advertising, customers will still be able to book, so you can ensure revenue even in low season.
Here you can find the SEO services we can offer you.
3. Advertise on Google and Social Media
If you want to increase your customer base and fill your hostel, it is vital that you promote it, so that you can have a steady flow of bookings and increase your visibility to a new audience.
In addition, this way you will get potential customers to book at your hostel through your website, which will decrease the platforms’ commissions and increase your profit.
Apart from the usual search and display ads, Google offers accommodation providers a great way to increase their direct bookings. This is Google Hotel Ads. These ads will become part of your Google listing once you sign up for them, and will help searchers book directly with you. However, please note that you can only sign up for Google Hotel Ads with authorised Google integration partners.
Social Media Announcements
With Social Media Ads, you can easily promote your profiles, your publications and even your hostel’s website to the relevant audience.
In addition to the campaigns mentioned above, there are also remarketing campaigns, also known as retargeting campaigns. This way you can promote your hostel to former guests and encourage them to come back to stay with you and enjoy the experience.
4. Make Social Media Important
Having active Social Media is a big plus for hostels. It is a very good option to make yourself known in a different way so that a younger audience can connect with you. Creating original content, connecting with influencers is a good option so that people who use these networks can keep up to date with the latest news on your hostel and remember it.
Another technique that also works very well is to use an environment or spot that encourages travellers to take photos in it. Keep in mind that for many people, there is no better promotion than an acquaintance boasting that they have enjoyed a service, in this case a stay in your hostel. If you put an attractive spot where you encourage them to take such photos, the chance that they will publish them and give you visibility will be much higher.
For example, our hostel client that has done the best in this respect is Art 7 Hostel.This is a capsule hostel in the heart of Madrid. They have done a great job and have worked a lot on the details, because not only are they a hostel located in the heart of Madrid, next to the Antón Martín square, and they have a good price, but they have also worked on every detail so that it is not a boring capsule hostel like their competitors, but the whole hostel looks like an advertising spot, where visitors are constantly posting content and even artists come to record in such a futuristic and different environment.
5. Organise Events and Create a Community
Creating events can be an alternative way to promote your business, as this will generate activity in your community and be a different type of activity for your users.
This technique is also known as Sensory Marketing, and it is about selling your business through the emotions of the consumers. By organising an event, you will generate a good memory in the memory of the visitors, which will make the visitors want to repeat. In addition, organising events is another great way to get more content for social media as both you and the attendees could create unique content by sharing the experience.
There are different ways to organise events and create a community for your business.
Cross-promotion tactics are the actions you take with businesses close to yours in order to grow together. These techniques are very important for many businesses, because even if they have the same target audience, different businesses may meet different needs. This way they can enjoy a more comfortable journey.
In our experience, we have observed that it is more common for areas that focus exclusively on tourists to apply cross-promotional techniques, while large cities, which can attract a larger number of tourists and activities, tend to collaborate less often.
How can a hostel apply cross-promotional tactics?
There are a variety of ways to apply this type of cross-promotion:
- Apply discounts to your guests for external activities: This option could be very interesting, because if you offer a discount for breakfast at the next door café or at the nearest surf school in your hostel, it would benefit both of you. On the one hand they would get new customers thanks to you and your hostel would increase its prestige by offering exclusive offers in other businesses.
- Flyer exchange: Another common way to get new customers, as your flyers will appear in other businesses and they will be able to recommend you and you them.
- Web recommendation exchange: This option would involve showing each other on each other’s websites by mentioning each other as partners, either by sharing your logo and company in the partner section of your websites, or by writing a blog article recommending each other. This way you will not only get more local presence and you will be seen by your visitors, but you will also get an external link (backlink) to your own website, which will improve your web authority and with it the positioning of your website.
As we mentioned before, organising events is one of the best tools that any hotelier can have to create community and generate that bond with the client. This section could go hand in hand with cross-promotional tactics, but we consider this one to be so important that we have decided to give it its own section. Here we will mention the types of events you can hold at your hostel to attract more customers.
- Own events: Your own events are those that you develop within the facilities of your hostel. These events can be simpler and you don’t have to go all out. Some examples of simple events of your own could be: Mojito Fridays in the hostel kitchen, stargazing on the rooftop of your hostel or simply a Karaoke night. The purpose of these events is for guests to connect with each other and with your team.
- Own events with collaborations: When organising events with external collaborators we usually recommend a little more space, if your hostel has a patio, garden or private parking, you can invite local musicians, a cocktail bar or a food truck near you to organise a small evening. In this way you will encourage the consumption of local businesses that will recommend you to continue doing so and your customers will promote you both in their networks and in their recommendations.
- Community events: These events are usually held jointly with other entities or companies and usually take place at intermediate points such as squares, parks or fairgrounds. As a general rule this may seem less attractive for a hostel as it would have to make an investment to appear on the poster but it is more difficult to be present during the event. If you decide to participate in these events, we also recommend that you provide: a photocall, a chill-out zone or a seating area during the event. This should be presented with your brand very present and you have to do it in such a way that the attendees not only remember you, but also want to share it as soon as they see it.
Applying these techniques can be a headache for many homeowners, but you can breathe easy, we are experts in managing these types of events and giving you the best possible presence, plus we can help you get more competitive prices due to our high demand for materials. Don’t get left behind by creating a community, contact us and we will create it.
6. Connect with Industry Influencers
Working with influencers is a very practical way to increase your visibility. As a general rule, working with influencers tends to be costly as bringing big influencers into your business usually requires a high investment. By having a business based on hosting people, you are fortunate that in many cases it is the influencers themselves who contact you. In many cases this is because they are passing through your city and are often looking for accommodation in exchange for a contribution.
We always recommend this option to our clients, as it is preferable to have to wash some sheets for someone to promote your business than to have an empty bed.
At our Influencer Agency we work with hundreds of influencers who will be happy to collaborate with you. We have been working with this type of marketing for years and our clients have been delighted with the results we have achieved.
7. Offer Other Services
Offering complementary services is vital to the functioning of your shelter. These can be external, such as those mentioned in point 5 above, or they can be internal or proprietary.
In-house services have a great variety and are of great value to your guests. These services, as a general rule, as they are inside the hostel and are exclusively for clients, are usually of a lower value than those that could be found outside the hostel. This is always a plus, as customers will be able to save money on a service they need and you can earn an extra source of income. These services are usually:
- Locker service or extra locker; to store lockers more securely.
- Breakfast service: you can offer a coffee and toast for 2-3 euros to your customers and they can share their trips and experiences with other travellers.
- Bar Service: If you have space it is ideal to have a bar where your guests can have a beer, a soft drink or a drink at the end of the day to finish the day in a relaxed way.
- Guided tours and excursions: It is very common for many places to organise these activities for visitors who do not have cars or are travelling alone and want to meet people.
In general, any service you can think of or hear that your customers consume can be a good option to keep growing your hostel.
8. Maximise your Reviews
As you may have already guessed, it is very important to be present on the internet and to adapt your hostel to it. A key part of this is online reputation. That is why it is very important that your customers leave reviews. These can come organically and many people love to leave feedback to let others know about their experience. Another option is to remind them, which will encourage some of them, but this can have consequences, as dissatisfied customers may remember to leave a bad review.
At Alio Modo Studio we have developed a method to maximise your bookings. We reach your customers before they even think about leaving a review and we filter them so that only those who are satisfied with their stay leave a review and we mediate with those who are dissatisfied to find a solution and turn them into happy customers.
Want to know more about how we could maximise your reviews? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find a solution tailored to you.
9. 8 Mistakes to Avoid
We have compiled a list of the biggest mistakes that all hostels make that prevent them from growing.
- Don’t sell the social side: A hostel is an experience and visitors value enjoying it.
- Not keeping it local: Conveying the style of the region is more valued than a prefabricated, generic ambience.
- Don’t Show the Destination: Lean on the wonders of your region and there will be more reasons to visit.
- Don’t teach the Team: People want to connect with people, people will love to connect with your team.
- Don’t promote activities and tours: Connect with your neighbouring businesses and create an ecosystem in your area.
- Don’t target travellers on the move: Don’t limit yourself to typical platforms, look for repeat travellers.
- Don’t attract telecommuters: They are among the best customers, bringing both peace of mind and activity to your premises.
- Don’t Challenge Perceptions: Like all sectors, this one has its rules, start breaking them with Us.
10. Become a Hostel Chain
This is the last step, the most difficult for the average hotelier, but with us you will be able to dominate your local market and expand your business. The hardest thing is to make the first one work, but once you do, it will be much easier to continue to grow and open new locations.
Start working with us and we will help your Hostel, Hostel or Hostel to success, you give it the name and we give you the solution.