When Hostel Managers Meet

Our staff is who make the HI-USA hostel stay a special one for nearly one million overnights annually. And at our hostels, a manager leads a team of staff members, from a few to several dozen depending on hostel size.

Earlier this week I welcomed by webcast a meeting for managers of gateway hostels in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The group convenes to discuss large hostel “best practices” annually, this year at the HI-New York hostel hosted by HI-USA.

The three countries are each served by their own national hostelling association, including HI-Canada and HI-Mexico. All together we operate 130 hostels and deliver hostel stays to over 1.7 million overnights annually. Among those, 20 hostels are classified as “gateway” with more than 25,000 overnights annually.

The three-day meeting agenda reveals the scope and focus of today’s hostels:

– Hosteller Travel Patterns. To encourage more trans-national travel, we need to understand current trends.

– Social/New Media. Emerging technologies offer new ways to build a vibrant community of travelers.

– HI Sustainability Charter. “Green” is an integral part of the global Hostelling International network.

– HI Quality Management System. This ISO-informed initiative has raised the bar for hostel stays in the United States and elsewhere.

– Bed Bugs. The pests are virtually everywhere else, and we don’t want them in our hostels.

– Overnights. Better bed inventory management means more people using our hostels and more mission delivery.

Convening the gateway hostel managers of three countries in a single meeting recognizes the growing interconnectedness of large North American markets. Larger hostels have their own special operations needs. For HI-USA with nine gateway hostels, a consolidated meeting allows our managers access to wider discussions and more perspectives with others of similar size.

While these North American meetings are a valuable form of professional development for our managers, they of course hold additional value for HI-USA as a nonprofit. Operating hostels is important to our mission fulfillment. Our hostels’ continuous improvement is an achievement for our staff and a benefit to every one of our hostel users.

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