James Black & Bobby Dyer

ITH Hostels


James Robert Black aka “Jimmy Bear” grew up in Newport, Rhode Island but always had a yearning to head West.  Following a year of preparatory studies at Salve Regina University he was accepted to the University of San Diego.  After graduating with a dual degree in Accounting and Real Estate, James was hired directly out of college by the accounting firm in the tax division for three years.

Looking for a new challenge and hoping to get out of the cubicle, he began looking for a job in the field of Real Estate.  This led him to apply for a Hostel Manager position at USA Hostels. It was very shortly after taking on this position that he realized he had found his calling in life.

While at USA Hostels he would meet his future business partner, Robert Dyer and open International Travelers House hostels, becoming the CEO.


Bobby went to Valdosta State in Georgia on  a golf scholarship, where he was rated as a top youth golfer, studying marketing. After graduation he was hired by Morgan Stanley. Disenchanted by the job and not particularly enjoying the path he sought new opportunities.

Interested in the hostel industry from experience and exposure at the Hostel in the Forest, he took a position at USA hostels in San Diego. There he would meet James Black and co-found International Travelers House hostels and become the COO. He currently lives in Ocean Beach and enjoys gardening on the weekends.

Bobby and Jimmy left USA Hostels in 2012 to open ITH Hostels & Eco-Lodging.  Their first location, called ITH Adventure Hostel, operating out of a Historical Victorian home with 18 beds, opened in June of that year. They hit the ground running and never looked back.  Their second San Diego location, ITH Zoo Hostel & CoLive, opened up in October 2012. Over the next few years the ITH Adventure Hostel operation in Little Italy continuously expanded into neighboring buildings that now include the Bunk House Bungalows, Farm House, and Captains House respectively. This location now encompasses over 130 beds.  ITH added its third San Diego location in 2016 when it took control of the legendary Banana Bungalow hostel located on the boardwalk of Pacific Beach and rebranded it as the ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel.

ITH expanded outside of the San Diego market in 2014 with its purchase of the The Singing Pines Lodge on Big Bear Mountain.  Located just steps away from the village, with lake views, and quick access to the ski resorts, the ITH Big Bear Adventure Lodge has become a fixture among millennials looking for the ultimate experience.  Favorite among guests is the “Surf and Snow Tour” which provides guests with the rare experience of both surfing and snowboarding within the same day.

ITH’s rapid expansion and success has made Black and Dyer industry influencers despite their young age. This has led to the creation of their most recent venture, Hostel Management Services, which is a consulting company focused on improving the bottom line of a hostel operation by focusing on sound standard, operational procedures and internal controls.  They can also be found on ITunes as they are the Hosts and Co-Producers of the Hostel Road Trip Podcast series which focuses on spreading awareness of the emerging hostel industry within the U.S.

Presentation Highlights

The fellas over at International Travelers House 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.