Full Schedule


January 22, 2018


12:00 | Early check in at the Notso Hostel

2:30-3:00 | Registration

Pure Theater, 477 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403

3:00-3:15 | Welcome 

Inside An American Hostel Presentation by Vikki Matsis of the Notso Hostel 

3:15-3:30 Hostel presentation: Sin City Hostel by Jason Ordiway

Coming from the City of Sin, Neon lights, the most extravagant hotels and also night clubbing capital of the world! Jason will share his experience in managing a hostel surrounded by wedding chapels, sex stores and cheap-ish motels in Downtown Las Vegas. 

3:30-4:00 | Changes to the hostel industry

HI standards and new fee structure for 2018. Presentation by Jim Kennet of NW Portland International Hostel and Talia Hawley of Hostelling International

4:00-4:45 | How to recruit and manage volunteers with Worldpackers

Why and How to use volunteers in your hostel? Worldpackers is the first app for work-exchange in the world, counting with 1,000,000 volunteers from 170 countries. Riq will walk through successful cases and how to better use the platform. Presentation by CEO Riq Lima.

4:45-5:00| hostel presentation

David Uribe from Hostel Ka'bah will present on his hostel located in Cancun, Mexico

5:00-5:30 | dinner

At Pure Theater provided by Basic Kitchen

5:30-7:30 | Movie Screening or bonfire at notso hostel 

 Craigslist Joe, movie screening and Q&A. Sponsored by Basic Kitchen.

January 23, 2018


9:00-9:45 | How Airbnb & the Short Term Rental Market has Changed the Hostel Industry

Jacob Lindsey from the City of Charleston, Director Department of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability. 

9:45-10:30 | Panel Discussion: How Have Illegal Airbnb Rentals Affected your Business?

How have illegal Airbnb rentals affected your business and what can you do to change it? 

10:30-10:45 | Break sponsored by eclectic cafe & Vinyl

10:45-11:15 | On a Mission: Developing business practices to save the world

Karalee Fallert talks about green business practices & how businesses can change the world with triple bottom line economics and & B corporations.

11:15-12:30 | Lunch at verde

12:30-1:30 | Non-Stop Business in a Non-Stop World: Real Strategies for Time Management

Does your hostel to-do list feel like you cross one thing off and add 3 more? Does keeping up with email feel like drinking from a firehose? Do you plan your days only to have them go 180 differently? A 24 hour business in an always-connected world is enough to make even the most efficient person's head spin. It will never be perfect, but it CAN be manageable! I will be diving into a handful of my favorite tips, tricks, & resources for the ever-elusive time management. Be sure to take notes; this is valuable info from many wise people. Presentation by Courtney Loechi, Editor of hostelmanagement.com

1:30-3:00 | Branding Workshop: Crafting a Mission + Vision that Builds a Memorable Brand

Branding isn’t just a logo or a tagline. It’s a commitment to yourself, your team and your customers about who you are and what benefits you deliver. Ronii Bartles and Ellen Stebbins from VROOMRes will show you how your brand is a holistic culture your company lives and promotes from.  And it all starts with your personal mission and vision for your life. Get immersed in this interactive workshop where you will develop your personal mission and your business’ strategic objective, mission and vision statements. These powerful statements will guide brand assets like your visual identity and your tone of voice to the philanthropic causes you support. It’s all connected. It all tells a story. Your story. You’ll leave with a strong brand story that influences others and resources for specific brand deliverable when you’re on a budget.

3:00 - 3:15 | Breaksponsored by eclectic cafe & Vinyl


Learn applicable strategies to grow your customer following & increase engagement on Instagram.  Learn tips like best posting times, how to acquire up to 1,000 authentic followers per month, & more. Presentation by Liz Martin of Charleston Weekender, Social Media University.

4:00-5:00 | How Technology can Improve Your Business

Presentation by Kevin High, CEO of VROOMRes. Technology is amazing but it moves at the speed of light. It’s hard to keep up with all our options. There are tools for organizing your day, tools for automating marketing, tools for ordering supplies, and the list goes on. In this session, Kevin will discuss how technology has evolved and how all the options were creating chaos in his property management business. He will tell you his adventures on trying every management software and how he just couldn’t find one to do what he needed it to do. Through his story, he will talk about how he built a solution that works with a demo of his vacation rental management software, VROOMRes. Learn how this technology can improve your business.

5:30-6:30 | Cocktail Hour

Hosted by VROOMRes

January 24, 2018


9:00-9:15 | How to Bootstrap a Hostel

Our Experience in Bend, Oregon. Presented by Bunk+Brew

9:15-10:00 | What I learned after opening my first, second and third hostel

Dream big, and then realize what you can do, what you can't do, and what needs to be done first. Every project will have its unique challenges, unexpected turns, and pitfalls. This talk will discuss the lessons Joe has learned along the way, tricks to get things moving, and how to simplify a business plan to manageable expectations. Presentation by Joe Gill, owner of Bon Paul Sharkey's in Asheville, NC Stella Maris in Wilmington, NC and Smoky Mountain Hostel in Bryson City, NC. 

10:00-10:15 | Break sponsored by eclectic cafe & Vinyl

10:15-11:00 | Open Source Software for the Small (or Any) Hostel

Whether building your furniture, tiny houses, or assembling Ikea furniture, hostel owners are no strangers to doing it yourself. But what about marketing or training videos?  How about web sites?  Open-source projects have provided reliable and affordable (mostly free) software tools for almost any digital projects.  In this session, Joseph will discuss some open-source technologies and how they are being used throughout Providence Hostel.  Joseph will go in depth on the pros and cons of using OSS, why you should use it, and he will talk about some of the technologies used at Providence Hostel.  Topics discussed include Blender 3D, Open Broadcasting Studio, Audacity, and how OSS and backpacking share some ideologies.

11:00-11:30 | Why User Experience is Paramount

Ben Alicea has had years of experience with digital marketing, SEO and redesigning websites. Learn how to increase your SEO and how the website experience is tied together for the user.  Someone should be able to search for a hostel and find you easily (wherever they are searching) and someone should also be able to easily navigate your website and book a room, or else they will leave (and maybe book an AirBnb).

11:30-12:45 | Lunch

12:45-1:00 | hostel presentation by the hostel in the forest

The world would be a much healthier and better place if all its inhabitants advocated sustainability instead of unlimited growth. Rather than trying to control nature and use it as a resource for development, we should revere it, respect it, and work with it. The Hostel in the Forest is taking steps to manifest this vision. We see that nature’s creatures, including humans, animals, birds and insects share the same land in a unique manner. Inspired by the creativity found in the natural environment, we have transformed our ideas into actions by having an organic vegetable garden used in our dinners each night, recycling our wastes, having a cutting-edge gray-water system, watering plants with a solar powered irrigation system, and using a worm box that composts our table scraps into fertilizer for the garden. Hostel members sleep in tree houses, hike the T-trails through the 133 acre forest, swim and paddle canoes in the lake, take part in the healing process of walking our labyrinth, participate in the sweat lodges held on the nights of the full moon, eat a healthy vegetarian or vegan meal each night, and attend the many educational retreats and lectures designed to teach us how to move toward a wholesome and more sustainable future. 

1:00-2:00 | Finding & retaining employees that inspire great reviews for your hostel 

Presentation by Jim Kennet of NW Portland International Hostel

2:00-2:15 | break

2:15-3:00 | Open Forum

Planning the next conference, form a working group to discuss forming a trade association or networking group for independent hostels. There will also be an option for a breakout session for hostels to connect over best practices.

3:00 | Closing Remarks

Organizer, Vikki Matsis

3:00-5:00 Talent Show

Particpant talent show at Eclectic Cafe and Vinyl!