It’s been 3rd or maybe 4th week of the complete lockdown (at least in Spain, where I live). And as a hostel worker, I have found (like many others) with extra free time. At home.

The beginning was a bit overwhelming.

With all the non- stop news and talks about the virus, my beloved hostels’ closures. And all the travel and hospitality industry going down.

Adding to these an overflow of Social Media: live concerts, free sports workouts…

Man, I have never been so fit in my entire life. 

I think I will be in the best lifetime, physical condition ever.

Fortunately for me, spending time at home is not that complicated. Tho my Spanish companions can’t say the same (you know, the lovers of siesta, fiesta, sun and sangria, live basically on the streets of the cities all the time).

I gladly call myself a bookworm and honestly my vision of the ideal day is like this: me, book, sunny balcony/ garden/ my bed.

So, as probably many of you have this extra time, I have gathered a list of books.  Plus if you love podcasts, I have found these that are worth listening to. They focus on customer service in hospitality (and not only), management and leadership.

These books (and podcasts) I can gladly recommend to all of you that: love hostels, hospitality and travel industry.

Books for the total hospitality industry geeks

“Richard Schirrmann. The man who invented youth hostels” by Duncan M Simpson

For those interested in the history of “how it all started”. This book introduces the work of Richard Schirrmann and his struggles to establish the youth hostel. And what came after it.

Also, you can read my sum-up of the history of youth hostels and Richard Schirrmann in here.

“The Airbnb story” by Leigh Gallagher

For some the best way to travel, for the others the hospitality disruption. For the CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky’s grandfather “Oh, of course. That’s how we used to travel”. Regardless of what you think Airbnb used to be and what is now. I think its interesting position to know how it started, and the struggles behind it.

“Más ideas y menos másters” (More ideas and less masters- my translation) by Kike Sarasola

Unfortunately, it’s only available for those of you, who speak Spanish. Kike Sarasola is the founder and CEO of Room Mate Hotels. For me its someone, who I look up to as a leader. The leader of the company, where everything is centred around people. In this book Kike Sarasola shares not only the story of building the Room Mate Group. Also his ideas, hard work and passion for what he is doing (and how he succeeded).

“Be our guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service” by the Disney Institute

Discovering how Walt Disney World creates the magical experiences of its guests? Count me in!

The heart and the spine of the hostel are built on the customer service so learning from the best is the way to create more personalized experiences for our future guests.

“Without reservations: how a family root beer stand grew into a global hotel company” by Bill Marriott and Kathi Ann Brown

Reminding ourselves, that even the biggest- like Marriott, started from scratch is kind of comforting. This history of how from the small, family-run business, Marriott, converted into a global company. With insightful tips on the way.

Any of Seth Godin’s books

Honestly, if you like books that question that status quo and show you that its worth to take unconventional ways, then read Seth Godin’s books. They will make you think, doesn’t matter if you are a manager or if you are the regular staff. 

By the way, he has also a daily blog with the newsletter. It’s usually a short read yet interesting. Make sure to check it out.

“Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action” by Simon Sinek

This book was eyes opening to me. Tho it is something I always felt deep inside: that to find a true meaning to the things we do, first we should know why we do it. I loved it. Even if the Apple example seems to dominate the book, it still is a must read.

Hospitality related podcasts you can fall in love with

  1. Creating Disney Magic (with Lee Cockerell)- available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify
  2. Hostel Road Trip
  3. Skift Daily Briefing
  4. Hospitality Academy

I have hope, that you will find these books and podcasts as engaging as I did!

Feel free to write in the comments below with any book and podcasts recommendation related to the hospitality and travel industry.

Happy reading and listening!

P.S. I feel like after this quarantine I will add more books to this list! So I keep it open so we can make the list grow together.

On the side: Note that this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase through them recommended products, I will get a small commission with no extra cost for you. This small money allows me to maintain this blog. Also it makes me smile, knowing that you liked my recommendation.

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Posted by Ewa Gabara

Founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. I geek out on hostels and I’m a long-time receptionist turned into a copywriter. I help the hospitality and travel brands conquer the world with words.

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