1. GuestCentrix: How often do you stay in hostels yourself? Not your own!!
Albert Polo: Most of the times I travel I try to stay in hostels. Nowadays, I prefer to stay in private rooms, but I still prefer hostels to hotels.
I would say that at leaset once a month I visit a hostel in some city.
2. GC: What is in your mind the most important factor that a guest chooses to stay in a hostel rather than elsewhere?
AP: Location, Cleanliness and Staff.
3. GC: Does location really matter for a hostel?
AP: Yes, absolutely. Its importance can be mitigated by having great staff and atmosphere, by cleanliness, great food & services, etc. But it is always important and of key importance.
I always see location as a series of concentrical circles. Inner ones get more attention that the outer ones. Now you just need to know how to get advantage of it. This is location. Very important, but it has to be backed by the rest of the factors.
4. GC: What is your view of recent advertising to bring in super stars from the world of sports, music and movies to enhance knowledge of hostels? Have you seen these adverts?
AP: Yes, I have seen some of the adverts. I think that the broad public, had a bad idea of what the word hostel meant nowadays. The word hostel has the ability to generate different reactions, from dread to fond memories and everything in between. But the concept in Europe has evolved profoundly over the last decade.
Many hostels still carry the image of run-down properties, with only young people backpackers on very limited budgets as guests. However, the European concept of hostel has today become trendy and modern, with extensive public areas and central locations, appealing to a much broader clientele both in terms of age and purpose of travelling.
5. GC: Do those efforts mean that after all hostel marketing is still some way behind traditional hotel marketing campaigns?
AP: No at all. On the contrary! Hostels have been more efficient that traditional hotel companies when it comes to targeting and getting the message through their potential clientele.
6. GC: Where will your next hostel be?
AP: We have plans for Budapest and Prague for 2017 and 2018. And we are also in advance negotiations for Madrid.
Albert, the entire team at CMS Hospitality sincerely enjoys working with you and your hostel teams. Thank you very much for sharing your insights with us the last 3 weeks.