How to start a youth hostel

Written by bryan schatz
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How to start a youth hostel
Hostels provide an avenue for people of to come together while travelling. (Getty editorial images)

Running a youth hostel will provide you with the opportunity to surround yourself with travellers from all over the world, thus forming cross-cultural sharing of ideas and friendships. If you have a passion for ensuring the best possible travel experience for those "on the road," then perhaps opening a youth hostel is the ideal business venture for you. Before getting down to writing a business plan, consider what location in the world you are most interested in.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Business plan
  • Financing
  • Building equipped with proper facilities

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Choose a location and the type of building that you would like your hostel to be in. Options include historic buildings, campgrounds, farms, revamped hotels and motels or virtually any other home or building that will appropriately accommodate a high volume of visitors. Find your focus. Some hostels focus on particular types of travellers or activities, such as adventure sports, and will hire staff and guides who can perform the duties of said focus.

  2. 2

    Formulate a business plan that includes staff hiring, advertising and marketing, costs of construction or revamping to your building, a target population and a realistic expectation for monetary returns. Consider hiring an agency to help you with your business plan if you are not familiar with the various elements that are crucial to a successful plan. If necessary, take your plan to a banker or investment agency to receive funding.

  3. 3

    Be familiar with laws and regulations before choosing a specific location. According to backpackers.ca, the property should be for commercial use. Apply for building permits at the local council prior to making any changes to your building; otherwise you risk hefty fines and potential closure.

  4. 4

    Create spaces for communal lounging and activities both indoors and outside if possible. Include a communal kitchen for visitors to be able to make their own meals, allowing your clients to cut down on their costs of travel by eliminating the requirement of eating out.

  5. 5

    Hostel Management suggests your flooring be designed for ease of cleaning, as drinks, food, dirt and the occasional vomit will invariably find their way to the ground. Purchase and design your facilities and amenities based on their ease of use, durability and comfort.

  6. 6

    Hire managerial and other staff personnel, including cleaners. Offer guide services or at least access to local tours, attractions and activities.

  7. 7

    Make use of all forms of media to advertise your new hostel and do not overlook the benefits of online marketing. Call a local news agency to cover the grand opening of your hostel and bring attention to it by getting it listed in online hostel searches and booking engines.

Tips and warnings

  • Having a hostel guitar, TVs, Internet stations, barbecues and hot tubs are all elements that can add to the allure of your hostel and bring in higher reviews.
  • Hire college students on an internship basis for school credit if it is available. Avoid bad reviews by ensuring your hostel remains clean, and your staff are friendly and helpful.

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