Managing a hostel is not as involved or complicated as running a five-star hotel, but you need to learn some things you need to know in order to manage its day-to-day operations. Follow these steps before you consider managing a hostel on your own.
Choose a prime location for your hostel that will draw tourists throughout the year. If your hostel is tucked away on a side street in a small, deserted town, you may not get as many travelers looking to plop their backpack for the night than if it were situated in a popular ski resort area, for example.
Check on your guests in the evening to make sure they're comfortable and have everything they need. You can manage a hostel part-time, and can even hold down another full-time job while running a hostel, provided you employ extra help to take care of the day-to-day operations. Being there as a manager all day every day is not required.
Have several rooms with at least six bunk beds in each one so that you can properly separate men, women and families that are booked there for the night. Keep in mind that couples may request private rooms, an accommodation you may not always be able to meet. If you do offer a private room, be sure to charge an extra fee.
Advertise through the American Youth Hostels and pay a one-time start-up fee and then an annual fee. It will help you to advertise internationally and create more exposure for your hostel business.
Provide hostellers with secure lockers to store their belongings, access to a kitchen area to prepare meals, Internet access with digital camera connection, sinks deep enough to hand-wash clothes, shared bathroom facilities, and lots of maps to area attractions.
Allow your guests to come and go as they please, don't regulate curfew, and be sure not to lock your guests out. Don't allow smoking in the building and keep cleanliness of the rooms and the common areas a priority at all times.
Always have helpful staff on hand to clean the rooms, answer questions and to moderate activities, especially for children.
For more information about managing a hostel, contact the American Youth Hostels in Washington, D.C., at (202) 783-6161. Consider purchasing a software package that provides computerized tools for managing your hostel. Have a guestbook for your hostellers to sign and leave a comment about their stay. Before owning a hostel and managing it yourself, get a job at another hostel to learn the ropes.