Reviews can make or break you business. Check out some tips on how to get good ones.
With the rise of booking sites, around 150 million bookings take place online each year. Having this in mind, people who book their stay online spend a lot of their time reading reviews before choosing a hostel. You cannot affect what reviews will be published or not, as Hostelcritic.com said: “We publish independent travel advice and are not a free advertising service for hostels”.
Nowadays, the reviews you get are extremely important as they are a crucial factor whether a traveler will choose your hostel or another one. As you can’t stop bad reviews from being published, you can, on the other hand, affect the experience of the reviewers. Of course, whatever you do, you can’t please everyone and you are bound to receive some negative reviews from time to time. However, there are some things most people look at when judging a hostel. Here we will give you some advice on what you should take care of if you want to improve the general opinion regarding your hostel.
1. Keep your hostel clean
You don’t have to be able to see your reflection on the polished floor, but you have to keep it clean at all times. Nobody likes to see dust in their rooms and mold in the shower cabinets. Change your linen ever so often and your mattresses should be replaced after a couple of years. Clean the dorms on a daily basis, and don’t allow dirty dishes to pile up in the sink. You should also have a defined strategy to deal with bugs and pest.
Make sure that every information you put on your listing profile is exactly true. When guests arrive they should get what they saw on offer. For instance, it’s perfectly understandable for a small hostel to not have 20 shower cabinets and a spacious kitchen. But, if you say you have it when you don’t, guests who arrive will feel conned and disappointed and it will massively influence their opinion of your hostel.
Moreover, always have as much shower cabinets as you can afford (a toilet/shower to guest ratio of 1:10 or better will significantly improve your guests’ experience in your hostel). Another thing you should take care of is to make your WiFi connection stable and with a good enough speed.
Don’t allow your facilities and furniture to be outdated and on their last legs. You don’t need to buy a new bed frame every fortnight, but don’t allow it to fall apart before you switch it with a new one. Additionally, always make sure that the little annoying things get fixed. For example, if doors squeak, lubricate the hinges. If a lock is broken, change it.
Good plumbing is very important. Guests should be able to not experience issues with adjusting the heat or lack of hot water while showering. And, lastly, whenever your guest complains to you about a problem, you should fix it as soon as possible.
4. Safety and security
Provide all your guests with a door key. Your guests (particularly ones who travel on their own) shouldn’t have their plans for the day influenced by when the other travelers return to the room. They should also have a locker with a lock for themselves, which will especially be cherished by travelers who bring their laptops and cameras with themselves. Furthermore, make sure your rules are always respected. For instance, if male guests are allowed into a female-only dorm, your female guests will probably not appreciate this.
5. Staff and atmosphere
You should make sure your staff is at all times friendly and helpful. You should hire people who have shown to be communicative and have a genuine interest in helping your guests. They shouldn’t be there only to answer questions plainly, but also encourage conversation with questions of their own, such as “How did you spend your day?”.
Make an effort in creating a friendly atmosphere. Play some cheerful music in the common area, but be moderate, not everybody will like your taste in music and make sure the music is not too loud in the sleeping areas.
Think of the ways how to improve your atmosphere even further and help your guests make friends with each other. Music is a great way to start a chat – think about providing your common area with two or three inexpensive guitars.
Finally, you should always read reviews of your hostels, especially the negative ones. There you can find what doesn’t work in your hostel and you will get an idea what you should change or fix.