Monday Jan 21

6PM- Bonfire and social gathering at Notso Hostel

Tuesday Jan 22

9AM- Welcome & Introductions

9:30AM- Hostel Roadtrip Podcast Series- Presentation by James Black of International Travelers House

The fellas over at ITH are teaming up with WorldPackers to produce a Podcast Series that promotes Hostel Awareness within the American Industry.  The structure of the 30 minute episode will allow each hostelowner and/or manager to market their respective facility and location while sharing personal stories of their hosteling experience.  The content will be relevant for both workers within the hostel industry as well as backpackers or travelers.  They hit the road in 2018 for the first of two cross country trips that will aim to promote many of the hidden gems across the U.S.A.

10:30AM- New hostel presentation- Wanderstay Houston- Presentation by Deidre Mathis

Hear about Deidre’s journey to opening her first hostel. Deidre is a published author and will share her struggles, challenges and successes as she navigated opening the first hostel in Houston!

11:15AM- Break

11:30- Presentation by Darren Overby

The worlds largest community of hostel professionals is at The website provides an incredible resource for hostel industry leaders and novices. Filled with news, current events in the hostel industry and online forums, has been a staple in this industry and continues to provide much needed assistance and information for hostels.

12:30PM- Lunch on your own

1:45PM-Developing an Identity for Your Hostel- Modal Hostel, Greenville, SC

Joe Hindman and his team will share their experience opening the second hostel in South Carolina and share a marketer's perspective on creating a brand vision and integrated marketing campaign for a new hostel.

2:45PM- Good customer service for bad guests and how to manage reviews and online reputation. Presentation by Sydney Ilg of 11th Ave Hostel

What to do when a guest forgets to cancel and then demands a refund? When a guest forgets the door code and has to find another place to stay for the night and threatens to leave you a one star review if you don’t refund them and pay for their hotel? Learn the art and grace of keeping your cool while the crazies try and throw you for a loop along with managing your reputation and online reviews.

3:45PM- Break

4PM Round table discussion

Topic #1- Which reservation system do you use and why? A comparison of systems and the pros and cons of each one.

Presentation by Cloudbed and TBD

5PM- Closing remarks for Day 1

6:30PM- Live taping of the Hostel Podcast at Ohm Radio 96.3FM at Workshop. Food and drinks available for purchase.

Wednesday Jan 23

9AM- The Airbnb Effect- What it is and what it means for the hostel industry

Research shows that in the 10 cities with the largest Airbnb market share in the US, the entry of Airbnb resulted in 1.3 percent fewer hotel nights booked and a 1.5 percent loss in hotel revenue. Airbnb offers listings in 191 countries, and its total number of listings—4 million-—is higher than the top five major hotel brands combined. Researchers found that Airbnb's growth through 2014 reduced hotel variable profits by up to 3.7 percent in the 10 US cities with the largest Airbnb presence. Does it have the same effect on hostels? And what is our industry doing to stay relevant among all these changes?

10AM-New hostel presentation- Black Elephant Hostel- Presentation by Heather Loeber

Heather has spent the last 20 plus years running a farm and raising children and recently decided to try her hand at something that she had wanted to do for many a moon -  Open a Hostel!  Heather designed, and built her hostel from the inside out, completely gutting an old 4 story apartment building in downtown Portland, Maine.   Heather has been open for less than a year, but has already experienced great success with her new business, as hostel – minded people and beyond embrace the unique experience she has created.  Heather will discuss the many challenges she faced in designing and opening a hostel for an unknown clientele in a place that had never had a hostel before.

10:45AM- Break

11:AM- Hostel Operations Panel Discussion, led by James Black of ITH & Hostel Road Trip Podcast

Topics will include:

Live in Staff vs. Paid Staff. Pros & Cons 

Bars in Hostels

The word Hostel and the stigma it brings within American Culture

Panelists TBA

12:30PM- Lunch on your own

1:45PM- How to best use Search Engine Optimization, heat maps and google analytics to further your business and get more bookings- presentation by Benjamin Alicea, head of Business Development & Marketing for Hedera

2:45PM- Pest Control- presentation by Kenneth from Charleston Terminix

In South Carolina, the running joke is that the palmetto bug is the state bird. Southerners have kindly renamed the cockroach the palmetto bug :) So no matter how clean a place is, if there are pests in the building, guests will complain. Kenneth is a master etymologist who specializes in treating and preventing pest issues and will share his knowledge and insight from working in the pest control industry for the past 20 years.


3:45 Mentoring sessions- a seasoned hostel industry leader will be paired up with a brand new hostel or a budding hostel owner to ask questions, share experiences and offer guidance and support for those who are interested in joining the hostel industry

4:30 PM- Inside An American Hostel Book Presentation & Closing Remarks by Vikki Matsis, manager of the Notso Hostel and organizer of the American Hostel Conference

Inside An American Hostel shows the inner workings of the management, ownership and day-to-day operations of the Notso Hostel in Charleston, South Carolina. Inside the book you’ll find real-life examples of revenue, occupancy rates, profit and loss statements and other helpful references that are essential to running a successful hostel. The first book of it’s kind in the hostel industry, you’ll see what it’s like to live and work at a hostel filled with travelers from all over the world. Whether you own a hostel or dream of starting one, this book is a helpful and comprehensive resource.

Schedule Subject to Change