Tag Archives: Travel

Hostels and the city: 5 ways to engage local networks

Hostels and local networks: Scaling up your localness!

You can be a big ass hostelchain or a small and cozy local hostel, running on volunteers, depending on your uniqueness locally. In both cases there are effective and affordable ways of making the most of your localness!

Below are 5 scalable ways to engage local networks with. Scalable in the sense that all 5 of them are reachable for small and big hostels alike!

1) Be a local stakeholder, not (just) an international one

A hostel or cityguiding company, aswell as touroperator, should try and be a local institution. Tapping into the local urban grain actually connects you to the local culture, cultural institutions, startups and local networks;

Source: Bevolo 2016
Source: Bevolo 2016

2) Local culture is a carrier of localness, not of your brand

You’re being all wonderfully local and all that, ofcourse. Remember to see local culture as carriers of localness- your main trait -and not neccesarily lf your brand. Don’t make them wear your t-shirt but BE  the t-shirt; adopt it and it’s underground qualities!

(...) we’ve set up programmes like Stay ‘n’ Play and ClinkCREATIVE which give musicians and artists free accommodation at the hostels in exchange for playing a gig or displaying their work (...) Liam Doyle (Clink Hostels)

3) Use your international network!

Most tourism stakeholders forget to utilise to local stakeholders, that what would give them actual influence: their own international networks!

4) Utilise the non-tangible networks the city has to offer

Where there is culture, there are buildings. Where there are buidings there is place, mobility, perception of practice and hundreds of years of mobility along the same structures. They are more often than not tangible in their form, nor are they easy to discover and address. People around cultural hubs in cities, are highly mobile within different kinds of networks.

Generator Hostels has become known for its successful use of urban, local networks. ClinkNoord in Amsterdam, part of Clink Hostels, try to integrate local culture and art as much as possible within design and events.

www.urbanexploringtours.nl/
www.urbanexploringtours.nl/
Urban grain and tourism-coproductions
Urban Exploring tours seeks to integrate local urban grain into the localness as understood by the travel industry.

The commercial interaction-chain of buying, using and selling, has different rules there, as it utilises ways of reciprocation that run through several layers of exchange and mobilty, often hidden from sight by for instance local habits, festivals, exchanging gifts, producing services and by perceptions of the urban grain.

Artists are wellconnected and move around different networks they don’t neccesarily use directly, but will know when to access through embeddedness and communities of practice.

Liam Doyle of Clink hostels continues:
It gives creativity and collaboration – between tourists and locals, artists and audiences – the chance to flow through our hostels and out into the cities. We really love that and think it makes Clink really unique,
Liam Doyle at WYSE Tavel conference 2016

5) When you’re starting up, why not be a startup?

Since you’re starting out- beit a hostel, a cityguiding company or even just a new local project, why not actually be a local startup?

  • It positions you on the new-and-happening side of entrepeneurship;
  • You can actively penetrate the local businessmarket;
  • Tap into local business-networks and expats;
  • Leverage your ideas and investments
  • Expect to be smiled upon by large community of highly skilled and well networked people.
  1. https://angel.co/amsterdam/online-travel/jobs
  2. https://www.startupfesteurope.com/site/traveling-to-amsterdam/
  3. http://startupamsterdam.org/partner/travel-bird/
  4. http://www.eu-startups.com/2016/03/amsterdam-based-travel-tracking-app-polarsteps-secures-e500k-in-funding/
  5. amsterdam startups-list.com/startups/travel

Volunteering abroad: New tourist or passers by?

Changing travellers and work

Whether be it from loving to travel. doing things for others, having a cheap alternative to travel and stay in another country, having something to do for the summer or fleeing from everyday life and home… All people working as volunteers abroad, have their own reasons for doing so.

Usually, it is a combination of backpacking, wanting to do something for others and sheer opportunism. A combination of both being there for others, and by doing so, implying an reasonable reciprical action. This works usually through social travel and social accommodation. Much like Couchsurfing and houseswapping, the need for symmetrical swapping or exchange, does not apply when bound by certain common qualities. Contact through a community, trust, mutual interests and being endorsed by others, are commonly seen as deciding factors for housing someone, either on their sofa or as guest with more freedom in movement and stay.

Volunteers, working abroad, are usually not familiar with the term volunteer-tourism and don’t like to be called `tourist’, which indicates- similar to backpackers -volunteering abroad is still seen as (partially) idealogical in nature. Baring in mind ofcourse, the idealogical traits can be interpreted as being “social currency”  for travel and staying abroad.

Motives

On the subject of motives for volunteering abroad, there are numerous studies and theories to be addressed. In a study by Tomazos & Butler (The Volunteer Tourist as ‘Hero’; 2010), participants explained their engagement in a programme in different ways:

  • a wish to get away from the everyday routine at the permanent place of residence,
  • a fondness for travel.
  • a wish to repay one’s life of privilege and the need to give help to those who are poor and whose poverty is no fault of their own.
  • growing distrust of all kinds of charity organisations which bring help to victims and collect funds in developed countries.

As the backpacking community changes, so do the parties that provide in voluntary work, that work on a voluntary basis and exceedingly so: the go-between party. Often providing extra services that require payment and registration and work along reciprocal routes that have less bearing on peoples willingness to exchange things without currency, in a symmetric way. When such parties require payment, they can no longer rely on the willingness of travellers, to be as open as they were before. They become “customers” instead of traveller or volunteer, providing and demanding different qualities altogether. People volunteering abroad, increasingly use more bi-directional reciprocity to get where they want to be, meaning that an exchange is made based upon more or less the same value: work for accommodation and food and drink. One example I can mention is the new startup Amons.

amons.co

The way people make use of working abroad as volunteer is highly bound by cultural differences in leisure-experience, the experience of time, global routines and seasonality. American students for instance, will have a summer break for a specific duration. Having a gap-year has more flexible time boundaries and often involve a combination of paid and voluntary work.

You walk the voluntary walk of a pilgrim

Volunteering is specifically popular in Europe. This has a very interesting bit of background. Doing volunteering is related to pilgrimage and religious travel. Although obviously many other factors are important, volunteer-tourism is often been associated with being interested in other cultures; wanting to get to know them better. The length of stay is quite long. Many tourism volunteer projects are also based on the conservation or restauration of heritage. The cultural routes have a strong potential link to volunteer tourism through heritage and through the desire to have intensive experiences with local people. (Greg Richards, 2011)

Poland

In Poland there is a high rise in movement-possibilities, due to emergent new ways of very cheap travel like Polskibus, covering long distances for a very low price. Polish people themselves are as yet less familiar with the concept of Couchsurfing and social travel and are quite pragmatic in their use of transportation and covering large distances, putting an emphasis on the act of arriving, rather than the travel itself. In the past 3 years, the use of and familiarity with social travel and accommodation has increased greatly in Poland.

This brings me to the ideological aspect of social travel within Poland. As much of voluntary work in Poland is regulated through Non Governmental Organisations with quite good and large networks, the possibilities for cultural exchange are huge and rhich in meaning. They provide excellent opportunities for artists applying for grants for cultural exchange programmes and for volunteers abroad, to engage in more spatial experiences, not particular to one single space or place of work. A very good example on a cultural low-threshhold scale, is the work of Kinderzirkus Wanjanini in Germany, with affiliated organisations.

Scholarly travel

Researchers also find an increase in scholarship schemes, to provide Polish young people to travel, work, stay and study. The two largest programs now, are Erasmus and CEEPUS, covering most of Europe. (Joanna Kowalczyk-Anioł)

In commercial tourism, research is often directed towards conversion, to understand motivation just enough to earn money.

In my personal opinion, the tourist geography of both backpacker and volunteer-tourist, should be seen as an organic entity, bound by structures that rise above and flee from the commodified nature of spatial and experiential structure of the everyday world. Don’t forget, travel is an act of cultural production, of meaning making and placemaking along a network of incorporated symbolic boundaries.

Angloville banner

Zach
Volunteer at Angloville (Poland)

Circus-game-in-Malaysia

Polskibus routes
Polskibus routes

Music-travel and opportunities

Working abroad as an artist or busker? There is an increasingly larger amount of academic funding you can apply for, for working and work-exchange on an academic level.

There are numerous reasons why art in general and street theatre and busking, are important in everyday life. Music travels through time and space through a number of modalities, most of which are nowadays considered to have “un-natural” rhythms, in the sense that we are so much attuned and formed by the commercialisation of both music and rhythm that it is hard to concentrate on, and be influenced by sounds that matter for wayfinding, for instance.

Ofcourse, music transforms particular places into tourist hotspots. If you’ve been to Rynek square in Krakow, you know how throughout the day, the square is filled with music. The place is filled with sound and the sound of a place, enters the consciousness of the tourist and becomes part of the experience of the place.

Some links

Interested in more background? A few (of many) readings:

  • Tourist product in experience economy (Institute of Urban and Tourism Geography andrzej.stasiak)
  • The role of experience in consumer behaviour in the tourism market: concept of experience economy and experiential marketing; (Agnieszka Niezgoda)
  • Motivations and Behaviour of Independent Travellers Worldwide (Greg Richards and Julie Wilson)
  • The Volunteer Tourist as ‘Hero (Tomazos & Butler; 2010)

Interested in putting everything into practise and see welldevised concepts turn into proper, unforgettable experiences? Contact me! 

Renk van Oyen

Contact me

Hostel servicedesign: making the obvious seem extra special

CONCEPTUAL Framework hospitality.pngServicedesign: making the obvious seem extra special

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 products 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:

  1. The core-product: The essential service or benefit, designed to satisfy the identified needs;
  2. The formal or tangible product: the special offer on sale.
  3. 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.

Overview Renk on Linkedin

Mediation of homeness

an-introduction-to-marketing-semiotics-8-1024.jpgMediation of homeness

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- although 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.

Nieuw: Experience design for hostels and B&B

Experience Design for Hostels and Bed & Breakfast

Experience design for hostels is an as yet not fully explored way of engaging and maintaining their clientèle aswell as the hostel, in a way that suits the scale of their venue and ambitions, is maintainable on all sides and is highly social.

Hostel experience design is fully customisable, consisting of :

  • pre-defined programs in several relevant subjects, in loose modules;
  • Custom made experiential Concepts- in theory aswell as in practice, following the hostels core-values and strengths
  • Custom made events for hostels;
  • Implementation of Event-Concepts

Including locative- and urban gaming for hostels!

General information

Click here for abbreviated outline.

Experience Design for low-budget or small hostels!

Have a hostel.. big one, small one, familiy hostel? Discover a new way to get your guests to have a superior experience for little money, at your hostel- before and beyond their stay.

Experience concepts are not only meant for big companies, large hotels and events.
Also smaller and family run hostels, can benefit from an allround, well thought through concept, to get your guests to have a wonderful time, remember their stay and to tell fellow travellers about their experiences. Although within the leisure- and tourist industry, hostels participate in a world where common tourist geographies apply in a very different way.
Even with a small budget, it is wholely possible to make it work!

Read some reviews for examples.

Abbreviated outline of the service

  • Quickscan of the hostel facilities
  • Interviews with the hostel owner, manager and staff
  • Guest-safari: Going on a trip as your guests’ guest

Topics

  • Domestic bliss as tourist-geography
  • Changing characteristics of the backpacker
  • Off-season trafic
  • Experiencemapping the custumers stay
  • Defining and using rhythmic behaviour and patterns
  • Servicedesign;
  • The hostel as a being-space or point of sale? Different functions
  • Your guests as a group

Modeling hostel entertainment

The machinations and meaning of pubcrawls and stag nights

  • Why do they do it?
  • How to handle drunk people
  • How to maintain authority over your group
  • Why it is a good idea to dress them as ducks
  • Offering an external photographer to accompany your group, reduces bad behaviour

Eventing en event-design for hostels & small hotels

  • How to handle changing tourist-geographies?

  • How to co-create your services with your guests;

  • How important are your guests? The hugely important backpacker.

Tourguide training

Basics

  • Pacing the tour, pacing the experience

An itinerary is about scenography and tension planning, not just about logistics;

  • Tour-operation training for guides!

Advanced and themed tourguiding

  • Immersive guiding: Keep your distance?
  • Being part of the group is only one of the guides many roles
  • Several types of analysing tours. Annotating video and hypervideo, from different points of view.

All observational notes, texts of the guides, their scripts and interviews, will be transcribed in software called ADVENE . ADVENE is designed to analyse audiovisual documents.

http://liris.cnrs.fr/advene/examples/nosferatu/exercises.html

Analysis of audiovisual content’ (http:// www./liris.cnrs.fr/advene/)

For instance:

  • POV1: Films te tourguide, talking about an item on the tour;
  • POV2: Films a spec. groupmember, listening to the guide
  • POV3: Films the behaviour of the group as a whole
  • Using and understanding space, speed, time and the senses
  • Using different modalities, affordances and mediators

Advanced training for museum guides

The use of the five senses allows the interpretation to rely less on the actual words and more on the overall experience,

An individual’s behaviour can be affected by rhe timing of the tour, environmental factors and emotional states.

Locative- and urban gaming

Be the one and only truely original source for unique gaming- and traveling experiences for your guests… wherever they are!

Through local activities and your own already running (succesful??) events and activities, I design urban and locative games, in which your guests get the unique local en special experiences they seek.

Although specifically made for each participating hostel, the backpacer-user of the app and programme, can actually use the app for their further journeys and experiences! The app and its content are only activated after booking at your hostel. After that- besides benefitting from the fluid and adaptive content within, they get to use all the social functions, the app and concept has to offer them and fellow travelers. Discounts, insider tips, curation, motivation, an alarm-system and direct contact.

Concepts are designed with in mind a wide corpus of knowledge about urbanism, tourism, backpacking-behaviours, tourist geographies, gaming-essentials, event-design and lots of hands-on experience.

Locationmanagement and placemaking

  • What makes a spot a tourist location?
  • What is the genus loci and does it matter for you?
  • The trinity of creation

image

CONTACT

Renk van Oyen

ww.la-clappeye.nl
www.blog.la-clappeye.nl

Twitter: @hostelconcepts

La Clappeye Acts

p/a Sint-Lucasstraat 16

5211 ZG, ‘s-Hertogenbosch

acts@la-clappeye.nl

Linkedin profiel

Referenties Renk van Oyen

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@hostelconcepts

Stay updated through our website: www.la-clappeye.nl

and this article on our regular site.

Locative- and urban gaming for hostels

Site-specific gaming for your guests. Have them explore the city through your eyes, through your connections, through the deals you want them to have!

Ask for more info!

acts@la-clappeye.nl