hostel conference

HostelSkills #1

Belgrade, Serbia

March, 2016



Speaker’s bio: Alexander graduated in Tourism, Management and International Business. He has been backpacking on all continents and has worked in various hostels in different countries. He noticed the paradox that despite travelers are constantly online; hostels are not using their Wi-Fi networks to create real value for their guests and miss out on a great marketing channel. Alexander is Head of Marketing of GLOQON, a platform for travelers to connect with each other and providing hostels with their own social network for their on-site guests.

What was discussed:

The traveler nowadays is on your Wi-Fi already, and you have the opportunity to create real value with it – as a marketing channel and to improve the social interactions among travelers. There is the necessity of getting deeper insights of the importance of the internet for travelers and how hostels can use the WiFi network as a marketing channel and improve the social interactions among guests.

  • The Digital Traveler – Importance of Internet to travelers
  • The Status Quo of Hostels and Wi-Fi
  • The Customer Life Cycle – and the online communication with guests
  • A Paradox: Lack of online communication with guests on site
  • The Wi-Fi network as a marketing channel
  • Using Wi-Fi to improve social interactions
HOSTEL SYSTEMS & SERVICES, by Stephan Leuenberger, Regional Sales Manager-Europe at Cloudbeds

Speaker’s bio: Stephan has been in hostel industry since 2007. He is currently working as a Regional Sales Manager-Europe for Cloudbeds. Stephan’s previous engagements include Business Development & Account Manager at Hostelling International in Brazil where he was responsible for B2B sales and bringing new business partners to the network in order to provide discounts for HI members and attract new quality hostels to the HI network. He was in charge of closing sponsorship deals to fund events and merchandising, served as the contact person between HI Brazil and HI headquarters in London, and gave support to the hostels on back office software MyHostel.

Stephan was also the Senior Account Executive (Brazil office manager) for, during which time he set up Hostelworld’s office in São Paulo and managed the team of sales executives, setting up sales and revenue strategies for the Brazilian market. He travelled through all the regions in Brazil straightening client relationships, providing them with sales and revenue consultancy as well as detailed reports for growth at HW’s website. Stephan was responsible for activating quality new properties on and partner sites, providing training and online support for existing properties; monitoring reviews/availability and pricing issues.

What was discussed:

Channel management basics: What is it? How does it work? What are the benefits? What to look for in a channel manager? Booking Engine: Why do you need one? How can it improve your revenue? What features are important? Property Management System (PMS): Do you want to get organized? How about saving time and having more time for the guests? Position your hostel on a range of different distribution channels. Avoid dependence on any one.  What features it MUST have? What benefits will you get?

ARE WE CONNECTED? GETTING HOSTEL TO WORK TOGETHER, by Nemanja Miljkovic, CEO&Co-founder at hostel2hostel

Speaker’s bio: Nemanja graduated in Economy. He worked for the University and the Government of Serbia. In less than two years after starting running his own hostel, the business grew from the initial 54 beds to 160, all in prime locations in downtown Belgrade. As a strong believer in never letting an opportunity pass him by and lifelong tech&online business addict, he is trying to connect hostels worldwide so they could benefit from working together. That’s the philosophy behind the hostel2hostel project.

What was discussed:

Is it important and why is it important for us to connect and work together: know-hows and experience exchange; marketing and promotion; direct sales. Hostel staff: how to manage hostel staff, recruitment, selection, fluctuation; free nights/stays for hostel staff; staff exchange with other hostels – does it bring us any good. Additional earnings&online reputation: what are the key sources of your additional earnings; city guide – outsource or in-house; own bar vs. cooperation with bars in the neighbourhood.

TOOLS AND TIPS TO BOOST HOSTEL ONLINE PRESENCE, by Valentin Dombrovsky, Chief Alchemist&Chief Envisioning Officer at Travelabs

Valentin started working in online travel industry in 2011 when he began working on event travel startup Travelatus. The company was launched in May 2013 and sold to global tours and activities marketplace Excursiopedia in December 2013. Valentin stayed with Excursiopedia till September 2015 first being VP Innovations and then Head of Market Relations. In September he became founder of online travel consultancy company Travelabs.

During his work in travel industry, Valentin also cofounded Travel Startups (Russian) and Travel Startups Intl. communities, became Moscow Chapter Leader and advisor to Travel Massive. He is Moscow ambassador to SeedstarsWorld and Startuptravels and startup scout for US Travel Startups Incubator. He likes to write and to talk about online travel from time to time.

What was discussed:

Applying startup thinking to hostel marketing. Which startup techniques might be used for hostel promotion. Starting small to grow big. Reaching out for feedback. Motivating guests to post reviews. Marketing without budget – creative approach to marketing in startup world. “Growth hacking” techniques which combine viral marketing understanding and analytical approach. Understanding customer funnel – customer’s journey through a web service: acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue. Funnel optimization. Using new technologies and understanding tech trends.

VOLUNTEERS & HIGH TURNOVER STAFF, by Juliana Nogueira, Eastern Europe Representative for Worldpackers

Juliana is from São Paulo, Brazil. She holds a degree in International Relations, Juliana worked in Brazil, the Philippines and Serbia, and is currently based the Czech Republic. She is dedicated to democratizing meaningful travel and cultural experiences. Juliana is focused on Eastern Europe, considers herself a Citizen of the World and a Millennial, and she is a strong believer in diversity, collaboration and social businesses. For her, travelling is the school of life.

What was discussed:

Embracing high turnover, working with millennials and thriving with volunteers. Getting ready to start: what the hell are millennials; make it easy and fun; recruiting; management; do volunteers do it better?



  • Alexander De Zordo, Head of Marketing, GLOQON
  • Stephan Leuenberger, Regional Sales Manager-Europe at Cloudbeds
  • Nemanja Miljkovic, CEO&Co-founder at hostel2hostel
  • Valentin Dombrovsky, Chief Alchemist&Chief Envisioning Officer at Travelabs
  • Juliana Nogueira, Eastern Europe Representative for Worldpackers


  • Technology that helps
  • Stay organized & on top of the game
  • Motivating staff for the best results
  • Social media: Best practices for success
  • Booking systems: How not to pay more than you should



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Why Hostels are No Longer the Little Guys
HostelSkills Conference BCN
13-14 October 2016
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