Monday Jan 21

12:00-2:00PM | early Check in at notso hostel

3:00-3:30 | conference registration

3:30-3:45 I welcome and 500 sketchbooks introduction

3:45-4:45 I participant/hostel introductions

5:00-6:00 I pasta dinner at conference venue

9:00-11:00 I Live jazz at Proof 437 King - conference attendees get 15%

Tuesday Jan 22

8:30-9:00 | conference registration

9:00-9:15 | conference overview & Speaker introductions

9:15-10:15 | hostel road trip podcast

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.

Presentation by James Black and Bobby Dyer of International Travelers House

10:15-10:45 | new hostel presentation by black elephant hostel

Heather Loeber 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.

Presentation by Heather Loeber

10:45-11:00 | break

11:00-11:45 |

Hostels everwhere are telling travelers "Book Direct and Save!", but travelers persist in using high-cost OTAs.  Darren and his team have examined this problem carefully and will propose a solution that may help travelers and hostels alike.  He will present the current state of and show how this site together with HostelSnap direct booking engine could become game-changers for our industry.

Presentation by Darren Overby

11:45-12:15 | cloudbeds

An inside look at the history and inner workings of this award winning online reservation system. Cloudbeds is a proud sponsor of the American Hostel Conference for the second year in a row.

Presentation by Mark Bloomquist of Cloudbeds

12:15-1:30 | lunch

1:30-2:00 | new hostel presentation by wanderstay houston

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 second hostel in Houston, TX.

Presentation by Deidre Mathis

2:00-3:00 | hostels in the new economy, where do we fit in?

Would Airbnb have come into existence if Home Away and VRBO had seen what the consumer needed and wanted? Would Amazon have become what it is today if Barnes & Nobles and Borders had seen where the print industry was headed? And did Uber really create a new industry, or did they just improve an existing one. The accommodation industry has been around for a long time, and it is evolving. Are hostels making themselves relevant? In addition to answering all these questions and more, Bob will share his experience helping to rewrite outdated ordinances in his neighborhood and actionable steps you can take to bring illegal Airbnb activity to your zoning administrators attention.

Presentation by Robert Holt, CEO of Charleston Housing Company.

3:00-3:15 | break

3:15-3:45 | hosteling international

Hostelling International (HI) is a charity that manages a federation of not-for-profit youth hostel associations. Youth Hostel Associations such as YHA, Stayokay and DJH combined provide a network of hostels in more than 80 countries.HI believes that exploration and travel lead to a better understanding of other cultures, and in turn that creates a peaceful, smarter, and more tolerant world. This is and has been their mission for almost 100 years.

Presentation by Talia Hawley of Hostelling International


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

6:00-8:00 | dinner at workshop (little miss ha) and live podcast recording

Live taping of the Hostel Podcast at Ohm Radio 96.3FM at Workshop.

Wednesday Jan 23

9:00-10:00 | developing an identity for your hostel

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.

Presentation by Modal Hostel, Greenville, SC

10:00-11:00 | good customer service for bad guests and how to manage reviews and online reputation

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.

Presentation by Sydney Ilg of 11th Ave Hostel

11:00-11:15 | break

11:15-12:15 | overwhelmed by #allthethings? learn how to do less and make more

Did you know that 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did five years ago. So you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed and pressured to do everything. It never seems to end. Between posting on social media with all the hashtags, customer service, figuring up taxes, managing people with schedules crazier than yours, you could work 25 hours a day. In this session learn how you can streamline systems, processes and maybe even your life to get off the hustle train and make more money, time or whatever you want.

12:15-1:30 | lunch

1:30-2:15 | hostel industry trends and updates

Who are the big players entering the hostel market this year? What rising consumer trends can your hostel benefit from? Why are hostels using more OTAs? Our industry is ever-evolving. Byron's presentation will help your hostel gear up for success in 2019. Hear the latest forecasts for the travel sector, learn about the newest trends in the industry, along with concrete recommendations for how your hostel can ride the tailwinds to success and brace for the headwinds that you will face.

Presentation by Byron Bunda of Backpacker Biz

2:15-3:15 | panel discussion- the stigma of hostels and what we can do change it

Panel Discussion, led by James Black and Bobby Dyer of ITH & Hostel Road Trip Podcast


Heather Loeber- Black Elephant Hostel

Deidre Mathis- Wanderstay Houston

Sydney Ilg- 11th Ave Hostel

Bobby Dyer- International Travelers House

Jason Ordiway- Sin City Hostel Las Vegas

3:15-3:30 | break

3:30-4:00 | keeping your hostel clean & pest free

In this important session, you will learn about bed bugs, their life cycle, where they like to hide and why, how to identify them, the various eradication techniques out there, and prevention (pros' and con's of metal vs wooden bunk beds, bed bug interceptors, mattress and pillow bedbug encasements, etc.). Ole will give an article that he has co-written with the Department of Health in Alaska.

Presentation by Olegario Carrillo

4:00-4:30 | presentation by the hostel in the forest

4:30-4:45 I 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.

4:45-5:00 | closing remarks

6:00-8:00 i dinner at d’allasandros pizza and cuttys bar


Schedule Subject to Change