problem!

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Ani4ka's picture
Ani4ka
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Joined: 22 Jun 2010
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I know that Russia is not to popular destination how it should be (a lot of reasons) But all another hostel in saint-petsrburg are full for this moment, and we NOT.

So, we opend 1 year ago. for this period we tryed to make promotion also we fixed everything and were ready to have full hostel. BUT NO

Dont know whats to do more..
I saw all topics here about promotion and things like that.. But I have no idea what s to do.

May be - may be some one will help me??Puzzled

canhostel's picture
canhostel
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Re: problem!

Well one thing you can do is meet with the other hostels in your city to be an overflow place for them when they are full. You could offer a commission to other staff if they send someone over or else at least bring a food basket, etc that staff can eat as they will remember you with fondness. Fairly easy ways although it takes a bit of time to take affect. The good thing every time you get a refered customer (if they have a good stay) will lead to more word of mouth for your hostel in the future.

Juancho's picture
Juancho
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Re: problem!

Make contacts with other Hostels outside your city.

For example, i use to work in a Hostel in Iguazu.
Iguazu is in between Buenos Aires and Rio, everyone goes North or South, so making deals with big popular Hostel to send you people is interesting.

In Argentina there´s a system called H2H (Hostel to Hostel)

Gusts can book their next Hostel with you, paying the first night there and going with a voucher to the next Hostel, and the same the way back.

I don´t now if sounds clear, but works really good. YOU NEED smart receptionists to put an eye on every guest leaving showing them that you can make their trip easier meanwhile you re getting comission!

But first, make alliances with other Hostels nearby!

Hostels's picture
Hostels
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Re: problem!

Juancho wrote:
In Argentina there´s a system called H2H (Hostel to Hostel)

Do you have more info about H2H? I keep telling people about it, but I didn't know the name or exactly how it works. Smile

Juancho's picture
Juancho
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Re: problem!

Ok, I´ll try to be as clear as possible, although it turns difficult in english.

it was originaly done in Argentina, i guess by one guy (i won´t name him) but he used to be my boss.
As far as i know, every Hostelling International Hostel does it.

If you´re staying in, Buenos Aires, for example, and then you´re heading Salta, you can book your next Hostel from reception. Just say how many nights and how many people.
In case you´re booking a bed in a dorm, and you´re staying ONLY ONE NIGHT, you just pay AR$10, as a deposit to have your reservation guaranteed. You will be given a voucher that you have to show in your new Hostel and that money you already paid, will be deducted.
In case you´re booking MORE THAN ONE NIGHT, you have to pay the FIRST NIGHT, and works the same! That money will be deducted in your next Hostel.

In case you´re booking a Double room, the fee is AR$40, doesn´t matter how many nights you´re staying.

The money charged to the guest remains at the Hostel as comission, and usualy (idealy) some part of that comission goes for the receptionists.

Hostelling Internationals charges Hostels for every pack of vouchers, don´t remember how much.

It´s very IMPORTANT to have smart receptionists! During the Check in is good to ask Where are you comming from? Where are you going after?. That information is very important, in order to help gusts to book their next Hostel WITHOUT BOOKING FEE.
Or, if you see there´s a guest checking Hostels on HW, just be polite and offer him some help.

It´s really easy, comission is GOOD and works fine.

To contact other Hostels, MSN is quick, if not, in Argentina, Hostelling International has those Corporate Plans for Cellphones, where you can call for FREE!

Those rates for the Fees, im not pretty sure ir are updated, at least was like that 4 months ago when I use to work in HI

I hope it´s clear, if not let me know, and i can manage to explain it better!

Juan!

Hostels's picture
Hostels
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Re: problem!

It's clear -- thanks Smile

It's a very good system that would work well in Europe too...

uktrail's picture
uktrail
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Re: problem!

A system like this is run in many countries.

HI in England & Wales certainly does this with all their hostels, as each hostel has computer access to vacancies in all the hostels.

Several countries have organisations of independent hostels, and if you stay in one of them, they will book you in any other member of their organisation. This is true in Switzerland and Germany, for example.

In Prague I stayed at Sir Toby's Hostel, and they have in their reception information sheets about a few other hostels in other cities of the country. If you choose one of those, they will telephone the hostel and make a booking for you.

As a guest, I don't know how they work their commission. Sometimes I pay the full fee, sometimes one night, at the time of booking.

Hostels's picture
Hostels
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Re: problem!

I'm not sure they do it exactly the same way in Europe. In Argentina, the front desk actively asks you where you are going. If you say, "Salta," they will say, "let me check availability for you," and then use MSN messenger to IM the other hostel.

It's a very active sales pitch, not just waiting for someone to ask the front desk for help...

Juancho's picture
Juancho
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Re: problem!

That´s way it´s indispensable to have smart, awake, and easy going receptionists.

In Argentina, you´re trained to work like that!!!
They take the business and sales quite seriously

ivancica's picture
ivancica
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Re: problem!

Well as guys say above, try to connect with other hostels in your city.
And if you offer some commission for guests, offer that to hostels owners, NEVER to staff.
There is a thin line between cooperation and stealing guests and you should never steal guests by offering commission to the staff of other hostel.

Nevertheless, the best way to have your hostel full is to look up only for your business, not to look what others are doing. Laughing out loud

Juancho's picture
Juancho
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Re: problem!

Stealing guests? What do you mean?

The comission will be offered to Hostels in other cities, where guests are heading or coming from.

If you have a couple in your Hostel, that is heading Paris, for example, it´s good for you to help them to organize their trip, tell them which place you would recomend and meanwhile you´re winning money!

ivancica's picture
ivancica
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Re: problem!

Juancho wrote:
Stealing guests? What do you mean?

The comission will be offered to Hostels in other cities, where guests are heading or coming from.

If you have a couple in your Hostel, that is heading Paris, for example, it´s good for you to help them to organize their trip, tell them which place you would recomend and meanwhile you´re winning money!

Juancho, that was answer for the russian girl. I was just saying if she wants to give commissions to other hostels in her city to sent her guests they can't host she should offer commission to owners of hostels in her city not to the staff members (I have some bad experience in my lifetime with that).
As for Hostel to Hostel, I do that quite a lot and that is a great way to have connections with other hostels as well as to make an very good impression on the guest. Cool
And of course to win money! Wink

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footprints
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Re: problem!

The H to H idea is quite popular in Oz as well, but giving your reception staff incentives is also a main criteria to building active helpful staff.

Giving your staff a percentage of tours they book, other hostel beds when the backpacker is moving on motivates and gives them a reason to want to do better, help more and they feel like the better they do the more they are rewarded.

If you don't give incentives why do I as a staff member want to go that extra mile to sell tours, ask them where they are going as it is no benefit to me at all.

It is just human psychological common sense really, reward your staff and they will reward you.

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Scotch Argus's picture
Scotch Argus
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Re: problem!

footprints wrote:

If you don't give incentives why do I as a staff member want to go that extra mile to sell tours, ask them where they are going as it is no benefit to me at all.

To me asking where they are going and trying to help them out is part of the job of reception. If a receptionists wage is decent they should be able to do these things without commission. If they are relying on commission to make a decent wage then they can turn into salesmen, who aren't trying to help you and be welcoming, but just trying to make money off you. Guests can tell the difference between genuine helpfulness and a sales speech very quickly.

footprints's picture
footprints
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Re: problem!

It's not about being a salesperson, which they are are anyway, and youth worker, and problem solver.

It is not about them turning into a shallow sales channel either, although is one step away from a tour and connection desk.

You may disagree but alas it builds bigger businesses, makes for happier staff and creates for an efficient work ethic.

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UK - Ireland late 2011 to 2012

Scotch Argus's picture
Scotch Argus
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Re: problem!

Once you have the reception feeling obliged to on-sell hostels, tours, nights out or whatever on a commission basis, they are salespeople effectively working for someone other than the hostel. I doubt that most backpackers going away really want this. They want friendly honest advice, not being steered in one direction because that's where the commission is for the receptionist. It's only a short step away from the sort of high pressure "rep" you encounter in Mediterranean resorts. Does anyone really want hostels to turn into that?

Hostelboss's picture
Hostelboss
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Re: problem!

I have another suggestion,
Dont rely on the booking pages. I got in an argument with my area rep at one of the bigger sites and saw my bookings on that site drop by 80% over the next few months.
Still get out there and get people handing out cards at bus/tran stations, fly post, are places you can post legally. when you are a new hostel you have to work harder. word of mouth is still your best advertising.

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