If travel and tourism is your passion, you might have considered getting into the lodging business to earn your living and save for your retirement. One type of accommodation that could land you big bucks is the humble hostel. They might not be glamorous, but hostels are always needed by young backpackers travelling around Australia.
But running a successful hostel isn't quite as simple as opening your doors and charging a few bucks. Here's what you need to keep in mind to ensure your hostel is a raging success.
Choose your location wisely. When it comes to travel businesses, location is everything. Of course, if you decide to open a hostel in a major city such as Melbourne, you know that a certain number of travellers are going to pass through each day. At the same time, you'll be up against tonnes of other established hostels in the city and it will take time for you to establish a reputation. During that time, you might have to offer rock bottom prices to lure in guests. On the other hand, pick a remote place and you might not have enough people passing through to generate trade. If you are set on opening a hostel in a remote place that you love but maybe the rest of the world doesn't know about, think about offering free shuttles as a way of generating trade.
Think about communal spaces. Backpackers don't only choose to stay in hostel dorms because the price is cheaper than a guesthouse or hotel. Young people also really want to meet other travellers on the road. Your hostel should be the hub for facilitating that social exchange, and that means your communal spaces need to be up to scratch. Comfortable, cushioned areas that are designed in the round so that people can speak to each other are a good idea, and you can also leave board games and cards in communal areas as a way of facilitating a social experience.
Think beyond backpackers. Although it's important to cater to the young backpacker, they aren't the only people who stay in hostels nowadays. In your private rooms, think about catering to the "flashpacker" crowd who doesn't want to party all night long and socialise with 19-year-olds. A 30-year-old couple on a round-the-world trip, for example, might be on a budget but might not want to stay in a dorm. Add boutique design touches in private rooms as well as soundproofing so they can feel as though they are getting great value.