Hostels are by no means exclusive to younger people. Lots of folk of a mature age stay in hostels in preference to incurring prohibitive hotel bills, quite often when in the midst of an activity which involves repeatedly traveling from one location to another, such as a long hike.
Nevertheless by their nature hostels are more likely to attract people of a more youthful disposition, often backpackers or students looking for a way to get about on a tight budget. They are, in essence, a very cheap form of overnight accommodation set out in dormitories or bunks.
There is a difference from owning a hotel or a bed and breakfast. There the emphasis is on comfort if not always on luxury, with privacy at the root of all. Sharing your overnight stay with strangers is never part of the deal. There is a definite mindset involved with hostel users which is quite different to that of hotel guests.
A Night at the Hostel Need Not Mean Roughing It
But the image of slumming it with a bottle of beer and a take-away from a downtown, down market burger joint before a noisy and uncomfortable night’s sleep is often far removed from fact. There is no law against spending a memorable night on the west coast with a sumptuous meal at a nice restaurant before retiring to bed with the greatest oregon pinot wine package you can find at the store. If you’re up for sharing it with your fellow guests you could even turn it into a bit of a party and make some new friends whom you’ll not forget for a very long time.
For young people in particular, spending some time at a hostel can build camaraderie and a certain esprit de corps. After all, everyone knows it’s fun to stay at the YMCA.
The Need to Reach the Youth Market
However the challenge that comes with owning a hostel is not only drawing attention to its existence, but also creating a vibe around your own property that will make it an attractive prospect for visitors.
Generally speaking, young people do not research their accommodation needs by visiting a travel agent or leafing through a brochure. If you are a hostel owner and wish to target this market you need to go where the takers are, and that is on social media or on websites that are adapted to be viewed on their smartphones. If your site is not mobile-friendly then you are definitely missing a trick.
The other thing to remember is to include lots of images, and to emphasize the fun aspect of staying at your establishment. If you have a pool table, computer terminals and WiFi then be sure to let everyone know. Sell it as a youth center rather than simply as a youth hostel. Don’t be afraid to communicate with your target market in the language with which it is most at ease, but just as important is that when visitors do come you are able to meet their expectations.