To manage a hostel well requires a full time commitment. Often you must choose between responding to guests’ requests, check your e-mail, answering the phone, and dozens of other tasks. If you are keeping your presence on social networks fresh, you still must find time to pay attention to bookings coming from OTA channels like HostelWorld and Booking.com. You can't be in more than one place at the same time! And we know that hiring more people can be cost prohibitive.
What can you do? Don't pull your hair out! Don’t give up! There are tools and tips that can help you complete tasks in less time, automate many tasks, and make sure your staff are working on the right task at the right time. Consequently, you and your staff can work more productively and lower the stress level.
Using a PMS - Property Management System
As explained in a previous blog post, a PMS is a software solution that helps you to manage your hostel’s back office. If you haven’t joined the twenty-first century, it's time to leave ancient methods behind. For example, Excel spreadsheets and white boards to keep the accounts of your hostel or to register bookings is too inefficient. Check-in and check- out times are considerably reduced when you know exactly who has to enter or leave the hostel and how much money every guest owes you.
A PMS will help you to have all your stuff organized and automatic, which will substantially reduce your working time. Yeah, we think BananaDesk is the best solution out there, but almost any PMS is better than no PMS.
Channel Manager or Channel Management System (CMS)
A PMS that can’t integrate with a CMS should be a crime. So you may wonder what is this CMS you speak of? Basically, a CMS is a software system to manage bookings across multiple channels. This means that instead of having to write down one-by-one all bookings coming from OTAs and other booking channels, a CMS does this automatically for you. Yes, you will save a lot of time and reduce double bookings!
And we have another surprise for you: BananaDesk is a PMS integrated with a CMS!
Booking widget rather than e-mail reservations
Taking bookings from e-mail or the phone takes too much staff time, so the easier you can make other booking methods, the more time your staff can spend on making sure your guests are having a great experience.
For example, a booking widget on your hostel webpage is an excellent idea. BananaDesk integrates with MyAllocator, which offers booking widgets for you to use.
Schedule social network posts
You know that you need to stay present on social networks: they are great marketing tools that have proven to be successful at a very low cost. However, who has the time to be present online all day long? No one does, but that’s why you’ll find Hootsuite so helpful. You can schedule in advance tweets and Facebook posts, and it also has an URL shortener.
If you still don't have accounts on any of the well known networks, these posts may help you:
Create Your Hostel Facebook Page
Facebook optimizes "Nearby" for Hostel Travelers & Mobile Search
Migrate from a Facebook Profile to a Page
Twitter Guide for Hostels
Learn how Pinterest brings your hostel more bookings
Pinterest's bet on tourism: Place Pin
SoLoMo Marketing for hostels part 1
SoLoMo Marketing for hostels part 2
Signs with information
As hostels owners or managers, informing guests about hostel rules, services, timetables, and even tourist stuff (like places to visit, public transport timetables, recommendations, etc.) can be very time-consuming. Instead, have this useful information displayed throughout your hostel Now your staff can help with more detailed questions, but stop spending so much time repeating themselves day after day.
Now let's implement these tips! And if you have additional ideas to share, please comment!