The home for BootsnAll.com members - talk with other travelers, ask questions that don't fit anywhere else and learn more about the BnA community.

Starting a hostel

On your mark...get set...

User avatar
Lost in Place
 
Posts: 67
Joined: May 24th, 2006

Share on Orkut

This thread doesn't have any tags.

You can still check out the tag index though.

What are tags?
  • Added on: September 25th, 2006
Ok so Im not sure where to start this discussion so Im throwing into the membners forum beacsue maybe you guys will know where ot direct me. I would love to start a hostel eventually. I may have some funding but I just was curious if anyone here has any experience in it or some wise words about it. Thanks.

ang
"Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable then painful. It is the symbol of his liberty - his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure." - Aldous Huxley

dopeyzn

User avatar
Squat Toilet Professional
 
Posts: 768
Joined: April 21st, 2006
Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: September 25th, 2006
Yay, someone with the same questions as me! I've been doing loads of thinking about it lately... and i think it's something i am really interested in doing one day when i'm big!! Smile

I think the biggest factor about starting a hostel is Location, Location, Location... if you get that right, everything else will follow! It's needs to be centrally located, with access to everything that attracts ppl to the area!
________________________________________________________________
"When making your choice in life, do not neglect to live." -- Dr Samuel Johnson

On your mark...get set...

User avatar
Lost in Place
 
Posts: 67
Joined: May 24th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: September 25th, 2006
Awesome...

Yeah location is a huge factor in starting a hostel. I was just at one on the Aran Islands in Ireland and it was incredible. The owner was there and took us on a walk to a little place where the tourists dont ever go. It was amazing.

From my visits to hostels I would say some of the things that make a hostel great are:

-Location
-Staff
-Being able to feel as though your experiencing the culture you're in.
-community
-oh yes and LAUNDRY!!!

Im thinking of first getting a job at a hostel for 6 months or so to make sure its something I really want to do and then by that time I should have soem conecctions and maybe an idea of exactly where would be the best place. I would love to start one in Australia. Ahhh...somewhere remote(ish) but yet stratgically located near places these passionate travelers would want to spend a couple days walking around and feeling as though they just came to a place, took a brethe of fresh air where renewed and are ready to go take on the rest of their journey. Im thinking somewhere maybe between Cairns and Sydney so that you get the travelers that are somewhere in the middle of their journey. They are experienced and probably tired...they would need a pick me up.

ANYWAY...this is all just a bunch of me thinking out loud but hey...who knows...maybe some of it makes sense.

ang
"Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable then painful. It is the symbol of his liberty - his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure." - Aldous Huxley

gymboy689

User avatar
Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
 
Posts: 303
Joined: February 4th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: September 25th, 2006
quote:
Originally posted by On your mark...get set...:
Awesome...


-Location Don't limit yourself to "central," but a good location
-Staff LOCAL staff...people that really know the area
-Being able to feel as though your experiencing the culture you're in. goes along with local staff
-community a common room, with computers, possibly free internet
-oh yes and LAUNDRY!!! free laundry Smile


Brambles24601

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 565
Joined: May 2nd, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 21st, 2007
I've been seriously thinking about this one recently. I haven't found any other threads on this topic though.

I would very very much like to start a hostel here in Milwaukee if I end up staying around in the next few years.

Here's why:
-Milwaukee is the 3rd largest American city to be (currently) hostelless.
-We have the world's largest music fest.
-Milwaukee supposidly has the Midwest's largest night club.
-We have several major Universities.
-We spend more on night life percapita than any other Americans... lots of bars!
-Museums... advertising, art, black-holocaust, butterfly...
-One of America's best zoos.
-Breweries.
-There's Lake Michigan.
-Culture?
-Milwaukee is under 2 hours from Chicago and Madison, people come up here for concerts and events and don't want to drive home.

There have been some attempts at hostels before but none of them were both within city limits and permanant. I think we could support one if it was done right.

Anyhow, I have little idea on how to begin...
Should I lease a property? Lisencing and so many otherthings come into play. Any advice?

Bush Trekker

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 686
Joined: December 20th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 21st, 2007
Well guys I currently mangage a hostel and here are few considerations for you.

1. Do you want to be part of a larger hostelling organization. All of the hostels here in Alaska have disassociated themselves from national and international organinzations and formed the Alaska Hostel Association. This makes it easier to tailor the hostels to our particular needs and the needs of Alaska travelers. Larger organizations require fees and to follow their guidelines which doesn't always fit with certain areas or even with how a hostel is run by the owners.

2. Staff - You have to follow guidelines as to state and federal hiring practices but not all laws pretain to organizations that hire less than 10-15 people. You can get some good staff by not hiring locally and international travellers like to work in hostels for lower wages and a room. They also tend to know what other travellers want to see and do, so they sometimes have a better idea as to where certain things are than locals.

3. Location - This is really a minor matter as long as you are near public transportation and a grocery store. If they can get to your hostel by bus and buy some food then most of the hostellers are content. If there is a small mom and pop restaraunt nearby with local food this is a big plus.

4. Rooms - One of the biggest mistakes many first time hostel owners make is putting too many beds in a room. Most hostellers don't need a lot of room but they hate to feel cramped as well. You should have a good suppy of linens on hand and make sure each mattress had a mattress pad. Do not use down matresses or pillows because of allergies. For the same reason avoid wool blankets.

5. Bathrooms - you need to have a toilet and shower for every six guests you have staying with you and need to be able to segregate them as to sexes. Many European travellers have no problem with shared restrooms but some cultures have a big problem with it. Make sure they are cleaned often and well.

6. Kitchen - You need to have space for storage and to move around in. Some hostellers will never cook or have one of a group to cook but some will cook every meal. The hostel I am at has three stoves and three fridges for the hostellers and is very large but at times seems like being in a camper. You must also have pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses, silver ware, coffe pot, sugar, artificial sweetener, creamer, cooking utensils, etc. etc.

7. Breakfast - are you going to serve it or not. If you do figure out initial start up and continuing costs of this. If you are going to serve cereal a two cereal bulk dispenser costs from $200-$500 depending on brand. Are you going to go the make your own pancake route, or serve fruit and pastries. Look at the costs.

8. Common area - are you going to have a television and if so are you going to have cable. Many companies charge commercial rates to a hostel. Is there going to be internet service if so is it going to free or pay. In a computer you supply or wifi. You need a spot that is away from either TV or stereo noise to some extent. Some people are coming from a long way and just want a spot to chill.

10. Laundry - Is it free or coin op. I will bet anyone that you will go with coin op after you see the first electric and water bill. Are you going to have separate facilities for hostel laundry or are you going to use the same machines as the hostellers. If you go the second way the laundry will have to be closed to the hostellers in the morning while you do hostel laundry. You will also need to sell laundry soap. We currently buy five gallon buckets and put a loads worth in a baggie. This allows us to sell it at 50cents instead of $1 that the prepackaged individual soaps.

This is all for part one as this post is getting to damn long. I will post more tomorrow. Look over what I have said so far. I have a lot more written on my note pad in front of me.
__________________________
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

whalewatcher

User avatar
World Citizen
 
Posts: 1414
Joined: April 18th, 2004

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
An important thing Bushtrekker points out is that you shouldn't over-invest or over-exert yourself. Personally I think that offering a bit of cereal and juice for breakfast goes down well with the hostel crowd, but a full home-made breakfast is both a lot of work and adds to the cost. Internet and other extras (nice as they are) could come later. It's good to re-invest some of the profits to improve the place, but if you offer too many services and facilities upfront, said profits may be slow in coming!

Definitely have a coin-op laundry. And it is a good idea to close it at said times if you do hostel laundry there as well (depends on location. In a big city, contract laundry for linen may work out relatively cheap and cut down a lot on the workload). Many hostel laundries tend to close after a certain time at night, which I think is a good idea.

Bush Trekker

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 686
Joined: December 20th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
Right you are whalewatcher and the things I have been listing and am going to continue with today are all things that need to be considered and allowed for before opening or you might catch yourself unable to do some of what was planned because of building or other restrctions.

11. Hostel store - This can be just a shelf behind the counter with some basics such as soap, toothbrush toothpaste combo, individual packs of tylenol, advil etc., razors, combs, and one thing I started selling here is Ramen Noodle Soup. That went over big.

12. Insurance - This is a biggie. Why? Because it can break you if you don't have it. You need fire, theft, flood, acts of God, accident, workmans comp(paid to the state), health, etc. This can be the largest expense you have.

13 - There is a lot to do with opening up a hostel research it well and let me tell you that it can be a lot of fun. Talk to others who own or run hostels especially the independents. These people make a decent living at it and do it because its fun.
__________________________
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

WhereForArt

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 533
Joined: December 27th, 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
Here's some boring but important advice - make sure you protect yourself and your personal assets by forming either a corporation or a limited liability company (or something similar, depending on your state laws) to own and run the hostel. It's not that difficult or that expensive and a lawyer could do all the paperwork and filing pretty reasonably. You still do the work and run it, but you pay yourself a salary from the company you formed.

You may not have many assets now but 10 years down the road, if the hostel is doing well, you might, and it would be a terrible thing to lose it all just because an employee started a fire, or ran over somebody with the company truck...
______________________________________________
Mardee

Travels in Turkey 2007
Easter in Italy

It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Eppyboy

Sells Travel by the Gram
 
Posts: 2081
Joined: June 20th, 2005
Location: New York

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
i would love to turn my parents house in to a hostel...probably not zoned for commercial use though...

I feel like it is a hostel as we have had so many people stay with us since our location to NYC is so good and easy to get to (6 dollars OW by train to the heart of it all)...

Maybe one day i will...
Josh and Nicole aren't going anywhere for a while, but you can still read about their past trips herehttp://blogs.bootsnall.com/eppyboy

Brambles24601

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 565
Joined: May 2nd, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
Wow. Thanks everyone. Its doesn't sound that bad, afterall.

It sounds like I'll need to make freinds with a local lawyer, though. I talked to my cousin (who's a lawyer) about LLCs recently and that sounds like a decent idea.

I'll try to get in touch with the nearest hostel in Madison. I guess they might have advice, too.

I really am excited just thinking about these prospects.

Keep the tips comming!

Travel4Life

User avatar
Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
 
Posts: 322
Joined: November 14th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by Bush Trekker:


12. Insurance - This is a biggie. Why? Because it can break you if you don't have it. You need fire, theft, flood, acts of God, accident, workmans comp(paid to the state), health, etc. This can be the largest expense you have.


This may have been written tongue-in-cheek, but I think its funny whenever a contract stipulates "acts of God"... no offense to the believers out there, but what kind of events fall under "Act of God" that would not fall under something like natural disaster/earthquake/hurricane,etc. i just laugh when i see it.

Texas Otter

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 178
Joined: May 2nd, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 22nd, 2007
quote:
would love to turn my parents house in to a hostel...probably not zoned for commercial use though...


You are probably right about the fact that it is not zoned for a hostel, but it probably is for a bed and breakfast. It does not sound nearly as cool as a hostel, but can be run in a simular way.

My company was recently cutting back jobs and I was not sure if I was going to be one of those people let go or not,so we started to consider what we would do if I lost my job. We seriously considered oppening up a hostel. For us, the biggest cost was going to be the actual location.

In the end, I still have my job, so no hostel at this particular moment. Still looking though.

Bush Trekker was talking about the association. It would almost be impossible to survive without being a member of an association. I think it is very special for each area and it can be a very costly factor to consider.

Very interesting thread!
"Trips are not trips to me. They have to be expeditions. I blame this all on Lord Baden-Powell"- Jimmy Buffett
www.DnMAdventures.com | www.metrobloggen.se/AmericanDad

bigmaude

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 532
Joined: January 2nd, 2007
Location: long beach, ca

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 23rd, 2007
Facinating that so many people have been tossing around the hostel idea. Iv'e been chewing on it a bit myself. My last chick will be out of the nest in 4 years and then I will have some options that I haven't had before. I'm with you, On Your Mark, that Australia would be a great location. I would want to do it someplace besides the U.S. Keep all the great suggestions coming...it just may happen someday...

Bush Trekker

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 686
Joined: December 20th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: March 23rd, 2007
quote:
This may have been written tongue-in-cheek, but I think its funny whenever a contract stipulates "acts of God"... no offense to the believers out there, but what kind of events fall under "Act of God" that would not fall under something like natural disaster/earthquake/hurricane,etc. i just laugh when i see it.


This catagory and it is real caovers anything not covered in regular insuance policies. This covers almost everything not stipulated in a regular contract. ie. a meteor falling out of the sky and hitting the building. Don't laugh something fell off of an airplane once a totaled a building and because the planes owners didn't have enough insurance and it wasn't covered specifically in his insurance contract he lost his business.


quote:
Bush Trekker was talking about the association. It would almost be impossible to survive without being a member of an association. I think it is very special for each area and it can be a very costly factor to consider.



Actually there are quite a few hostels that do not belong to hostel associations at all and do quite well. Most fo belong to the local Visitors Bureau (by whatever name it is called) You can get quite a bit of exposure by listing your hostel in various directories for a small fee that can be considerably less than joining a national or international organization. But everbody is different some hostels are small and have only about 20 beds or so and some have hundreds. I think there is one in NYC that can house up to 600 people. I am not sure but some one that is not given to exaggeration told me about it.

if you wish to open a hostel here in America go to the SBA and they will help you make out a business plan. You do need one. I may make trips with minimal planning but in business I dot the i's and cross the t's. People don't plan to fail but they do fail to plan quite often. This is the reason most new businesses close their doors within 2 years of opening.
__________________________
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


Next

Return to BootsnAll Members' Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

PLEASE NOTE: Your original BootsnAll Boards Member login still works by logging in below on the Boards.
We have a new BootsnAll Account that you will start seeing around the BootsnAll Travel Network. This new login is not yet linked to your current Boards Account. In the meantime, you will need to sign up (for a BootsnAll Account) to use Account features like Indie ™ , Traveler Profiles etc.

Quick Links

Community Activity

Statistics for the last 7 days

New posts:
8
Newest Member:
nguhline


Indie - Multi Country Flight Finder
Round the World Travelers


Join BootsnAll on Facebook

1 (503) 528-1005

© 2014 BootsnAll Travel Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.