The Industry

Anthony from Hotel Impossible Takes on a Hostel

Dennis Pitcock
Written by Dennis Pitcock

The Travel Channel program, Hotel Impossible takes on the Gardner Hotel and Hostel, on one of his latest entertaining and informative episodes. One of the biggest themes throughout the show is Anthony, a luxury hotel expert, experience a hostel for the first time. This reminds me of the Hostelworld video of the retired boxer slash home and antiques expert Chris Eubank visiting hostels. There is even a steamy shower scene, that shows how inadequate facilities could lead to the starting plot of an adult movie, or perhaps just a very awkward situation. In his journey, here learns many things that are pretty much common in the hostel industry and unheard of in the hotel industry, such as:

  • Guests could be expected to make their own bed
  • Towels are available upon request and a fee could be charged
  • Staff could be on the premise even when off duty

Anthony ends up doing more teaching than learning, helping this establishment get updated on the new trends of the industry. Through the show he repeatedly addressing issues such as:

  • Focus on the details: Cleanliness and facilities need to be top notch
  • Safety first: Comprising your guests safety and security is compromising your business
  • Staff significance: Staff can make and break your business. Hire wisely.

He did miss, or was off, on some points. Here they are:

  • Anthony mentioned there are 10k hostels, but actually there are more than 3 times that globally.
  • We wish they showed more footage of what a good hostel is like, to balance out the bad side they are showing through this hostels.
  • The rooms look phenomenal, however the wood and rope need to be inspected regularly for bedbugs. Hopefully they help them work that into their operations.
  • The technology is off. They definitely could have used an RFID keycard system like many of their other hotels get. Such a system works great in hotels, and even better in hostels.
  • He barley touches on the atmosphere and activities. I guess that can be difficult with the conditions the hostel is not in, and so few guests. It would be cool if they came back in a Phase 2 and really helped them pick up they vibe.

They did impress me when they offered the new owners (Stephanie and her brother) free certificate classes at Cornell University which has great classes on hospitality and revenue management. That can really help a new owner. Also, they got our friends at HostelDoctor to help them out with their digital marketing and online distribution.

Overall it is a good watch as the episodes normally are. It’s hard to tell if the transformation is in full effect via their digital presence. You can see the hotel  upgraded many of its facilities, but the old guest photos are still out to haunt them. Hopefully the Hotel Impossible team can follow up and let us know. It is a great for America to see hostels in their very own backyard.

You can watch it here (might be region locked). Also non-US people can see how HostelDoctor helped on the video below.


About the author

Dennis Pitcock

Dennis Pitcock

Dennis jumped into the hostel industry after a summer backpacking Europe in 2008. He went from being a guest to a manager within weeks, and currently does consulting for large and small hostels alike in 3 continents. Prior, he worked in eCommerce, so he has passion for the tech side of the industry and is now deeply entrenched in the hostel and activities industry.

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