Running a hostel and struggling with your marketing? This is most likely the reason you clicked on this article, right?
My name is Matt, and I am the guy behind hostelgeeks.com, a website designed to award 5 Star Hostels around the world. You can find all official 5 Star Hostels at Hostelgeeks. Whilst Anna is sending out our freshest newsletter, I am keen to share with you here our 2 cents on a few marketing actions hostels can take; our Hostelskills, if you will. Thank you, Hostelskills, for this opportunity.
These 7 easy steps are simple recommendations which we think are important to remember every time you enter the ring.
- REMEMBER: YOU ARE A MEDIA COMPANY (TOO)
Always remember that you are not only running a hostel; you also run a media agency. Your online presence aka your brand is equally important to your actual product.
Therefore, your online presence is how users, travelers and agencies will see you. This starts from your photos and descriptions on online booking agencies, to a functional website and booking engine, over to your Facebook posts and reviews.
- YOU HAVE A
The very first step for creating good marketing, is to provide a good product. Just like that, you cover 50% of a good marketing campaign. Only bad products really need a huge marketing campaign to cover up their lack of quality.
Remember this whenever you are renovating the hostel, updating your website and/or taking photos.
- A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE
Your very own website is the only online marketing tool that you own. Again, the ONLY one. All social media channels, OTAs, apps, you name it, can change their rules, settings, contracts, and so on. It is their home base, and their rules, you and us, we are only guests.
Therefore, your website must be the flagship of all your online marketing effort. Treat your website accordingly – always!
And the best part is, it can be the cheapest one at the end of the day. We helped hostels to increase their direct bookings by a big percentage, and all it takes are a few tweaks.
We at Hostelgeeks take these projects on an occasional basis. If you are running an interesting hostel and project, don’t shy away; drop us a message at http://hostelgeeks.com/work-with-us/. We can give you a hand and share with you simple techniques to get the direct bookings flowing. You can find more information at www.hostelnerds.com
- UNDERSTAND (THE VALUE OF) SOCIAL MEDIA
Once I have been asked by a hostel „What’s your experience with social media?“ and I answered „well, good?!“.
The question was simply not put correctly. Social Media is nowadays 95% of the internet. So would you ask someone „what’s your experience with internet?“ Hardly.
Social Media has so many incredible advantages. You can build your own audience, give discounts, communicate with your future guests, aka clients. And it is all up to you, and not any third-party who’ve to pay. However, it can be super time-consuming, and not every available social media channel is recommended.
Well, actually, you already know this, right?!
But here is the thing: Test the water, and see what channel actually works best for you. In terms of traffic, interaction, bookings etc.
For Hostelgeeks, Instagram is the number one channel where we receive numerous booking requests and hostel-related questions on a daily basis. The amount of quality traffic we are able to generate through Instagram is simply a dream!
Just test the different social media platforms, and find your own tone of voice. If a channel does not work at all, skip it. Focus on the ones you are good at!
- INVEST IN A CAMERA (OR SMARTPHONE)
Our #1 marketing tip for hostels is understanding that you actually run a media agency.
Even the coolest design or the best event in world history does not look good through a cheap camera with a low-quality lens. This is true, and you know it!
Invest a few coins for a decent camera, and let your staff learn the basics of taking photos. It is incredibly easy and the outcome is extremely positive.
- GET BLOGGERS ON BOARD (AND TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT!)
It is fascinating to see how many hostels out there still do not want to work with bloggers. Or even worse, they are giving bloggers small discounts for a big amount of work.
Bloggers have a high value for every single hostel out there. Even the smallest bloggers can have big impact for you. It is not about quantity, it is about quality. Keep that in mind!
Example? A big blog about fashion with 100.000 users a month can have less value for you than a small travel blogger talking about budget travel and hostels with 1000 users a month. Makes sense?
Also following up on #1 you have to understand the value of online marketing for your hostel. Invite bloggers, accept their requests for free stays, but make sure you set the expectations right. We always recommend our close hostel partners to have a clear guideline for working with bloggers.
In fact, we give them a handy guide. The bloggers only need to follow those few guidelines, and both parties benefit.
- BE UNIQUE
Be different, not better! People will notice you, and uniqueness is something you can’t copy.
As an example, I love to mention Hello I’m Local. Have you ever called them via phone? If not, well, do it now and say hi from Hostelgeeks. They will answer the phone with „Hello I’m Local“ – literally! This is confusing, brilliant, unique, fantastic! Their concept is not just a paper-planed theory.
Summary Best Hostel Marketing Tips
So here you go. Those are our 2 cents for marketing for hostels. We hope this is helpful for you. If you are into gorgeous hostels, then visit us on hostelgeeks.com.