Back to the Future: What Future Holds for the Reception Desk?

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One way of getting inspired is by looking up to your competitors and another type of accommodations. What do they do better? 

Hotel gurus like Kike Sarasola, creator of an award-winning boutique hotels Room Mate (that started from the hostel btw), admits that he always search for what he likes in other accommodations to implement it in his own, only more innovative.

On my recent trip, I have spent a few days in a 5-star resort, which is partially guilty of being the inspiration for this post. 

The treatment, the check-in process, uniforms everything was about making you feel relaxed and at ease. The reception was there, but it wasn’t the heart of the hotel. It was merely the point of reference. You didn’t need to search personally for the ‘lifestyle managers’ aka receptionists, as you could contact them through Whatsapp.

It would be too much to compare a resort with the hostel, but the idea of the lifestyle managers being out there around got stuck in my head.

I like the direction in which goes to the hospitality industry: focus on the experiences. Comparison who is better is unnecessary. With the variety of travellers out there, demand for different types of accommodations will always exist.

Think about it: what if the reception would disappear?

I refer here to the specific place in the hostel and not the receptionists itself. Afterall physical front desk can be a barrier between you and the guest- since there is an obstacle that divides you both. 

Maybe the future hostel receptionist will be hanging around the hostel, and his/her only work tool will be a handy tablet or smartphone. The name of the positions might convert into a lifestyle or experience manager. They will be making check-in with no stress while sitting with the guest with coffee/ tea or water — no physical barriers between them. 

There would be a back office, where you could still make all the necessary job, related to hostel management. However, with the automized technology, you will have more time to be out there and spend less time inside.

Guests would have a number of the receptionists so they could contact them when they need them or find them in the common spaces.

What is more, online check-ins will be a standard, so the receptionist will be in charge to guide the arriving guests through the hostel.

Embracing the new technologies and introducing them to your hostel will not mean that the role of the receptionist will decrease.

In my opinion, it will be even more critical than ever. Tho the automatization will undoubtedly help to speed up the check-in and check out process, the contact with the other person will be vital.

The role of the receptionist would get much more personal and more significant: there will be more time to get to know the guests’ preferences and adapt to their needs. We will be able to give more personalized service. We might have more possibilities to break the cultural differences easier.


So this is the kind of future I see for hostels. 

Hostels were always focusing on creating friendships and building closer relationships between guests and staff. Opening to the innovation can bring a brighter future where we all can have more time to focus on what we love the most about hostels: creating unique experiences.

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