Hostelconcepting practices

In practice and theory

Urban is not a corporate word

In every city big franchise companies take over part of the touring- aswel as the locative gaming market. They target their audience well and look for places to easily get at them. Gues where? Yup, your hostel is one of these places. Every time you simply point at the rack of leaflets, you are very kindly providing all other parties with customers at your own expense.

Hostels can easiliy provide tours and immersive experiences for their guests.

Your place isn’t just anywhere

It takes understanding your customer, their movement and expectations, but also the pacing of their day and time and their perception of “homeness” . In that respect, the locations travelled through some of the locative games, are consumption zones, without semiotic narratives or meaning, other than the often very real sense of fun, associated with it. However not as authentic.

Mediation

You as a hostel, are the mediator of homeness. Some of these commercially led immersive locative games, miss one very important factor: sense of place. The hostel- althoug not the actual home of the traveller -is able to recreate a setting that is very near a home situation, familiar to the young backpacker.

Servicedesign: making the obvious seem extra

Even when a hostel provides only the most elementary and basic service, these too are called products. Ofcourse they are only a small part of the whole deal. Each element within this deal, contributes to either satisfaction or dissatisfaction and a negative recollection of their stay.

A bed is a bed is a bed, you might think? Through applying different features to your services, the producs and the surroundings within you place them, you differentiate from others. A dormitory room with twin-beds, standard room, etc.

Tourism-products

There are 3 levels of tourism products:

The core-product: The essential service or benefit, designed to satisfy the identified needs;

The formal or tangible product: the special offer on sale.

The augmented product: all the forms of added value produced, to make the core-product more attractive

Complexity

Tourism products can be categorised in different ways. One criterium is the level of complexity, or number of services, embedded within a single offer. You can say you can divide them into simple and compound products.

A good way to let your services standout, is to combine several elements in such a way, that the most important one you want to convey- albeit a “simple” one, stands out.

Basically there are 4 types of simple products:

  1. A service: like guidance, gastromic- or hotelservice, tourist info
  2. An Item: like a guide, map, souvenir.
  3. An object: like a museum, a castle, church
  4. An event: a show, presentation etc.

Simple products can be combined together, to make it into a more complex and advanced product.

Due to several factors such as better infrastructure and public transport and commodification of rural difficult to reach areas- formerly the realm of the adventure-backpacker, the thrill and exitement for the actual act of traveling, has decreased. At the same time, the desire to engage in other specifically designed activities within a smaller scale, has increased greatly. A sense of authenticity is still very important.

Backpackers want to feel the real atmosphere of the destination and therefore do not fit within the the package arrangements, often intended for mass tourism.

Remember, there is a difference between backpackers, travellers and tourists. I will go into these differences some other time, but the point is: they all share the same infrastructure. Different needs, wants and expectations.

Overview

Experiences by La Clappeye