Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Wombats Hostel Chain Opens in London

Freehand plans Chicago hostel

Following the success of cool design hostel Freehand Miami, the company sets their sites on Chicago and Los Angeles.

The new hostel concepts, developed by the New York-based Sydell Group, plan to open Chicago in 2015 and Los Angeles is currently under construction. The company claims that unlike Freehand Miami, the Chicago sister hostel will be aimed at more business companies.

Find out more here:


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fake Accounts on Facebook

With so many of Facebook's profiles being fake, how many are real 'likes'?

Well this infographic from Joyoftech.com might help explain!

Make sure you target the right audience with your posts and campaigns and beware of those fake accounts!

Top 5 Tips for Marketing with Facebook

Having trouble attracting the right audience on Facebook? Try these 5 tips to help market your business

Facebook is moving towards just being an advertising tool, and as such they're developing functions and models that help marketeers. Here are some of the ways to maximise your Facebook marketing.

1. Make a New Product and Boost it Announcement

Despite all the fake accounts on Facebook - boosting posts is still relatively effective as you will stay in the Newsfeed for longer. Use this for announcements, not advertisements - by keeping it to news you don't turn people off.

2. Make use of Your Newsfeed

How often do you look at pages? Most people on Facebook interact via the newsfeed - this is where the shares and likes are won from. Avoid writing updates that require people to go to your page and leave the newsfeed, such as entering a competition. Try using ActionSprout to allow someone to sign, join, enter from the newsfeed itself.

3. Customise your Marketing to your Audience

You can target your marketing on Facebook and reach specific fans. One such tip is using the 'Custom Audience' option, especially if you post in multiple languages. You can also customise it to people who have visited your website, so know your users and set a different marketing message for them. Essentially you're getting to know your market better and targeting them based on what they are looking at.

4. Don't Run the Same Adverts

To make the most of your advertising efforts and maximise your budget - run a trial of adverts and use different keywords for each. Use only a small portion of your budget and find out which adverts have the best engagement. It may sound a hit and miss way to find your return on investment, but split testing gives the best results to find exactly what segments of the market your reaching and with which keywords.

5. Use Audience Insights

These measuring functions are there to help you and should be used! Take advantage of the insights and check when your users are most active - times of day, where and what they're looking at. This should make you better equipped to target your audience so use this as a tool and engage with them.

For more suggestions on how to market your business check out www.hosteldoctor.com

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Best Hostel Views according to Instagram

Want a Room with a View?

Instagram has put together a list of 30 of the best hostels with a view worth visiting for!

Has your hostel got the best views in town and didn't get a mention? We think Equity Point in Marrakech has got a great roof top view and deserves a mention!


Monday, 7 July 2014

How to deal with negative reviews

Top 5 tips on how to deal with negative reviews from customers and turn them to your advantage.

1. Don’t ignore them! Internet use now means that everyone has an opportunity to post about their experiences as customers, but it also provides a platform to answer these posts and create a meaningful response. Use this to your advantage to turn negative reviews around and show that you value their opinion.

2. See negative comments as constructive feedback on your business. There are always going to be customers who complain for the sake of it, but there will also be valid comments about how to improve your business. Take the comments on board about what experience your hostel offers your customers, and make changes based on this.

3. Thank customers for their feedback – good and bad. By acknowledging and improving on any problems you can create a better experience for the next customers walking through your door.

4. Be polite and professional. Not all reviews will be either of these but your replies are there for all potential customers to see, so keep your tone professional and explain any questions or issues raised and what you can do to avoid these problems occurring in the future.

5. Admit when you are wrong. Things go wrong in any business, but it’s best to acknowledge this, apologise, and move on. Some customers may pursue a refund or discount, but most will just want to know that you have heard their complaint and will be taking steps to avoid these issues in the future.

Make sure you regularly check all platforms for feedback and comments – whether it’s tripadvisor or hashtags of your hostel. Many people use social media platforms to voice their experiences so check your channels are up to date and respond to messages accordingly. There will also be mentions in blogs and other forums, so make sure you have Google Alerts set up (it’s free) and can monitor any posts about you. Remember that your customer’s experience of your hostel doesn’t end when they check out!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Top 5 Tips for Branding your new Twitter profile

Top 5 Tips for branding on Twitter's new Profile

Twitter's much hyped new desktop look has arrived, and with it, the expected shift to more visuals and the opportunity for better branding exposure. For those not already using the new design, all profiles will be switched by May 28th. This new look profile means companies can take advantage of the prime real estate with increased corporate messaging and imagery, creating a more dynamic profile. Follow our top tips on how to make the most of your new profile.

1.The cover photo and profile picture

The new increase visual look includes a big header image, similar to Facebook, but so far without the rules on promotions. Not only can you update this with relevant brand messages, it also doesn't have to be one image with the opportunity to create a collage of images within the 1500x500 pixels dimensions. Make sure you are able to tell the story of your brand with this visual marketing space, and keep your cover image fresh. Also make sure your increased profile picture size is updated with a 400x400 pix image.

2.Using Multimedia

The increased prominence of multimedia tweets (and on the left side and right side of your profile page) means you can manipulate your tweets to stand out more in the feed. Use the opportunity for presenting photos, promotions and video messaging also, especially useful for blogs and articles. Beware that everyone else will be doing this so quality images and messaging only - if you flood your followers' news feed with branding messages it's likely to encourage them to unfollow you.

3. Pinning and prominence

With your column of tweets now comprising 50% of your page width, there is still the emphasis on your actually tweets. Still limited to 140 characters, the type is now double the font size, so can you get your message across visually while keeping it short. You can also now 'pin to the top', as with other social sites, meaning you can chose your most important branding message to stay at the top of your profile. When thinking about which one to use here - you can also chose a tweet that received a lot of engagement, even if it's an old one, or chose to swap it with another message as it starts to lose engagement. The sizing of favourited or retweeted tweets means that your page will 'shout' out the messages that have received the most engagement, so check through that existing ones are the ones you want to stand out.

4. Your 'Favourites' and 'Lists'

This function has been used to date in various ways - some people use it to bookmark or archive articles or tweets of interest to read later, others favourite to show appreciation or thank for retweets. Now the 'favourite' option is publicly displayed, so others can check through what you've favourited. You might want to check that these are all on-brand and nothing is there that shouldn't be. 'Lists' are also more  prominent, so check the lists you have, and the lists your featured on.

5. Who you follow

Twitter now adds who you've followed recently through your profile page feed, so check who you've added recently as it's now part of your public profile. As with all online profiles, make sure you regularly check through what is publicly visible and that your brand messaging is clear.

Will more changes take place? With Twitter rapidly losing share value and posting huge losses this April, watch this space.

If you would like to more about social media, check out our website at www.hosteldoctor.com

Friday, 28 March 2014

Top 5 Tips for Using Pinterest for your Hostel

Pinterest is a way to virtually 'pin' or bookmark images and videos of interest to a board in your Pinterest account. For businesses it's a great way to create boards to showcase your product, but also to get images from your website and blog shared by other users for free. It's a great platform for the travel industry as it appeals to people as a way to collect ideas together and places to visit, engage with other users to promote your hostel.

1. Make your account a Pinterest business page

Make sure you use Pinterest as a way to represent your business not just for fun. It only takes a few minutes to set up a business page and means you can access analytics and metrics to find out users, repins and impressions. This means you can quickly analyse which types of images are engaging or appeal most. Then focus your pinning on your audience.

2. Use 'Place Pins'

Pinterest introduced 'Place Pins' in 2013 which is specifically to allow people to plan vacations. There are almost 100 million of these now being used! There's also an iPhone app to pin on-the-go. The place pins are simple to use - just add a map and drop pins with the address and telephone number. You can even create a board of your location with recommended tourist sites and restaurants ready to share with people heading to your destination. Check out Air bnb's 'Loved in Paris' board as an example of how to do it! http://www.pinterest.com/airbnb/loved-by-parisians/

3. Use all your assets

Pin all your photos but also any maps and blog images too. Make sure you add proper descriptions with hash tags and alt tags incorporated and urls where applicable, and that your website images are named for search engines, such as 'xyzhostel-Paris-bar', so when they're shared it has the correct information. You can tag people to pins too using @. If you work with a charity add a board for your photos with them and the activities you work on together. You can even add old pictures showing the history of your brand to create a story board.

4. Add a 'On Hover pin' to your web, blog and social media images

This encourages people to 'pin' an image whenever they hover their mouse over it - a great 'call to action' in marketing terms. Obviously this won't work on touch screens but is an effective way to encourage re-pinning. (Pinterest has instructions of how to do this)

5. Interact with other users

As with other social media sites, engaging with users is key. There is space to comment or converse with people pinning your pins, and equally respond to comments directed to you. Find out what boards people are placing you in, for example 'Paris Vacation Inspiration' and engage with your audience. You can also seek out influential pinners and write messages to them, for example people with the same target audience. Make sure you follow competitors and similar businesses to find out their latest news. You can also create Group Boards and invite users to collaborate (you have to be following each other to invite them).

And make sure you link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts!

Check out other hostel pages to find out what friends are doing, and see what works for you.
Good Luck!

For more advice see the Hostel Health Tips on www.hosteldoctor.com

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Social Media Marketing Tips for Hostels

Research shows that 51% of people are likely to book somewhere their friends have enjoyed. And the place they talk about this? Social networks.  Don’t underestimate how important your reputation online is – so follow our tips to keep your hostel profile healthy!

Make sure you use platforms that connect with your market and brand. A facebook page and Twitter feed are great multimedia platforms for interacting with your potential customers visually and creating shares. Facebook visitors spend an average of 20 minutes online each day, and Instagram users spend twice as much time as those on Twitter. Google offers great search and has a range of applications from Maps to Google +

Don’t become overwhelmed - you can synchronise most accounts and focus on your quality of content not just posting to keep up. Creating a schedule is helpful if you have events to promote and showcase.

Social networks are about being social, and everyone can see them. Interact with your users, connect with potential customers, respond to requests and posts, if someone asks for advice on your page, don’t ignore it!

Keep if fresh
Keep your page exciting and engaging. Use social networks for promotions, news and events. Post pictures and videos that are relevant to your hostel, ultimately you want people to share your posts. Don’t post every day, post when you have something to say.

Use Multimedia
Your post is 39% more likely to engage users if it’s visual, so make the most of showcasing your product with photos and videos. Adding your name to your photos will promote you when shared too.

Check out our blog for advice on Facebook shares, how to use Pinterest, Google+ and top tips for Instagram and Twitter.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Top 5 Tips for Marketing with Instagram

1. Keep it Visual
Instagram is about capturing a moment visually and sharing it – this is the same message with any photography – you’re showing your audience, not telling them. Visually interesting shots create intrigue, show case your products and users, and transcend language barriers. Make a connection with followers, share an experience, inspire. Great for global marketing.

2. Share your story
Business is global and you’ll be attracting people from all over the world – show them yours. Take shots of your local area, points of interest, see through the eyes of a tourist and see what’s of interest. If you go on trips; document them. Think of it as photojournalism for the story of your brand. Everything is mobile now so take your followers on your journey to share your brand experience.

3. Be Human
Your customers will probably be quite familiar with the public face of your brand, but there is always an interest in the human element of your brand – your staff, the other customers, events and parties you hold, experiences. People love to feel like a VIP or have a sneak preview. Posting ‘behind the scenes’ pictures is great for creating interest and can be too. Include other customers having a good time in your images – they’re advocates of the customer experience and will share them also. Give people an understanding of the brand and those who are a part of it.

4. Promote it
A great way to increase your user engagement is through competitions and viral marketing – everyone likes to win. Create a hashtag for your competition and get users to post votes using this and accumulate ‘likes’ and followers. You can offer promotion codes or discounts and send direct messages.  Also remember that Instagram creates a shop window for your product, so you can make offers visual too.

5. Experiment with Video
You can use Instagram video or mix with photography to create stories, time lapses and demonstrations. It’s a great way to speed things up, show case your product in a short space of time, and just to add something a little different.