The last HostelSkills Conference took place in Krakow, Poland on April, 18-19. It’s been almost a month since I came back, so it is a time for the sum up and my reflections.

For those of you who have never heard about this event, HostelSkills is the conference focused on the hostel industry, which is organised every half-year in different cities and countries.

I have followed the HostelSkills events since the first edition in Belgrade 2 years ago. Tho I never have had a chance to participate in it myself, I was always trying to promote it in some ways. Either through my blog or simply through spreading the word among my friends from hostels.

That’s why I was really happy when the HostelSkills team contacted me and invited for their next event in Krakow. They gave me the chance to participate as a speaker. I felt really excited, but I was thinking what the hell can I talk about – me, the receptionist – in front of the crowd of the hostel owners, managers and probably many people who in many cases have been in this business longer than me.

hostelskills conference my badge as a speaker

But then it occurred to me that there are some topics that are worth to talk about from the point of view of the receptionists. And that from my experience, in many cases they are not practised in hostels or are somehow forgotten. And that the reason why I have created this blog, was to share my experience and knowledge about hostels.

Afterall during the past years, I had a chance to work in many different hostels, where I have learned many things. Those good and bad ones. And I have seen many good ideas, that can improve the hostel operations and organization. These are the benefits of working with really big hostels (300-500 beds).

Now I have written once why it worth to participate in hostel events and conferences but let me remind you once again some of the reasons:

  • you have the chance to learn new things, get new ideas
  • you are staying up to date with the news and changes in the hospitality industry
  • networking, which in other words means the opportunity to meet fellow hostel owners, managers and people connected with this business
  • you spend a great time in a good company
  • hostel events are not stiff. They tend to be in a more relaxed atmosphere with lots of laughs

Day 1

The first day has started with the presentation by Joan Sanz about Revenue Management in hostels. The revenue management is an interesting topic and very popular on events like this. And even tho it might seem not easy, fortunately, with the help of people like Joan from Xotels, it can become much easier.

hostel conference right before my presentation

Then we went through the trends in the hospitality and tourism in the eyes of presented by Ewelina and Jakub. The social media, photos and videos are something that all hostels should put more attention and effort. As they play an important role in capturing new clients and a way to improve the guests’ experience.

Next Mirjana talked about travel agencies and hostels and this type of cooperation she presented on the example of her agency Jungle Tribe.

Las not least was me talking about the importance of formation and motivating the hostel staff. I think this is something we all can agree on that motivated people usually work better 🙂

during my presentation

Photo source: HostelSkills

After the full day of presentations, in the evening there was a time to relax and have some fun during the beer pong tournament prepared by Cloudbeds in one of the Krakow’s bars in the beautiful old town.

beer pong tournament in an event after the conference

Beer pong time!

Day 2

The second day we kicked off with the speech by Juliana from Cloudbeds about channel management and the ways to squeeze the best from it.

The second part of the day were workshops by Lior from about the improvement of the hostel’s systems and protocols so the work is more efficient. We had a chance to work in groups, where we were discussing our different ways of managing the hostel operations. Lots of useful information and ideas on how to improve in this business and make your operations more smooth.

hostel consulting presentation

Hostelworld also presented at the conference and shared their insights on hostel trends and the company’s new features. We had a chance to see once again they new ‘Diva’ campaign, where Mariah Carey sleeps in a hostel.

Last but not least was a panel discussion on how to win the hostel game in 2018.

hostelworld presentation

The sum up

I left the HostelSkills Conference with a really positive experience. And of course more than about the presentations it was about the people who participated. Great atmosphere where everyone was opened to share their experience, ideas and the ways each is working in their hostels. I will always recommend participating in this event, especially to those of you who manage small or medium size hostels. You can gain new knowledge, which otherwise you would need to look for either on forums or which you would gain by experience.

Not only for the hostel managers

As a hostel worker, receptionist I think it is worth to take part in these conferences. Why? Because you can see things from a different perspective. You learn to understand not only the front desk but more importantly – the back office.

When you become conscious of what is happening in the background and understand why the things are done in this way and not another…you become a better receptionist.

I think it is worth to be open to the different point of views and solutions as it can improve your way of work and your business significantly. And more importantly, you can get to know and become part of the hostel community.

I’m calling all hostel workers who love this industry and want to improve, for the meet up at the next conference in Lisbon!

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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