Hostel from A to Z

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In the hostel and tourism industry there are some specific words and names used by professionals and travellers which might be new to you:

Age Restriction– Ok, this one is not hard to figure out but…but some of you might not know that there are hostels where you are allowed to stay in shared dormitories up to certain age. If you are above that age limit you will need to stay in the private room.

Backpacker The so-called ‘person who travels with backpack’. Usually their journey lasts longer time than typical 2-week vacation time. Most of backpackers travel on the low-budget so they are typical hostel guests.

Backpacking – Travelling with backpack usually for a longer time (for ex 1 year) and on a low-budget.

Bunk Beds – typical type of beds that can be found in hostels. One person sleeps on the top and one at the bottom.

Channel manager – central service/ platform through which accommodation can control and manage prices and availability on online travel agencies (OTA), websites and travel agencies. In the hostel world one of the most popular CM is MyAllocator.

Curfew – time when the hostel is closed during the night hours. You will not enter to the hostel after they close the doors so be sure to get back before closing.

Check in – hours from which you can arrive to the hostel and enter to your room.

Check out – time until which you are supposed to leave your room and give back keys to the reception at your departure day.

Common room/ social space – area intended for guests of the hostel where they can spend time. Often you can find there TV, tables, games, books and bar.

Concierge – not so often seen in hostels. Person for the special tasks: taking care of guest’s special requests ( reserving tickets for events, flights, tables in the restaurant and organizing time of the guest in the city).

Dormitory – hostel shared room, usually with bunk beds.

Downgrade – situation when a guest gets room of lower standard than the one in his/her reservation.

Hostel – type of budget accommodation that offers shared and private rooms. The most common is charging for beds per night (in the shared rooms).

Hostel Chain – chain of the hostels that can be in the different cities and countries but work under one name and brand. – the biggest source of information concerning hostels topics.

Housekeeping – department which is in charge of cleaning.

King size bed – big, big bed.

Late check out – leaving room on your last day after checking out hour. Usually requires an additional fee.

Lock out – Period of the day when you are required to leave room and hostel area due to for example cleaning service. This is less common now but actually there are still hostels that practice that (usually youth hostels).

Minimum night stay – there are periods of the year like festive or festivals during which hostels require that you stay for example minimum of 2 nights.

No show – person that did not show up to check in despite having reservation. Depending on the hostel terms and conditions they charge a ‘no show’ for example for 1 night stay.

OTA – Online Travel Agents. These are booking websites like or through which you can find and book hostel.

Outsourcing – if the hostel is using the services of external companies like laundry service for bed sheets, it is called outsourcing.

Overbooking – problem aka nightmare. The situation when you have more reservations than actual number of available beds.

PMS – Property Management System. It is a programme that hostels use for submitting reservations, checking in & out guests, creating housekeeping lists and charging for accommodation. This is only part of functions that fulfill these systems. Typically they are connected with Channel Managers. Example of PMSs that are designed specifically for hostels: HostelSystem, BananaDesk.

Pub Crawl – popular hostel’s activity. Guests are hopping from bar to bar where they usually have free welcome shots and discounts for drinks.

Rooming List – list created for group bookings. It contains a list of guests (with names and ID numbers) divided in the rooms. List is prepared before arrival of the group and is filled in by the group coordinators. This list exists to facilitate the check in of the group which very often consist of more than 60 people.

Security Lockers – lockers available in the shared dormitories, in which you can leave your stuff. Usually each bed has its own locker.

Upgrade – situation when a guest gets better room than the one in his/her reservation.

 Walk in – person that comes to the hostel without reservation (‘from the street).

Walking Tour – guided tour around the city which very often is free of charge or for a symbolical fee.

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