Hostal El Momento

April2013

Reservations and our Policies !

patio hdrWhen we opened the Hostel in 2011 we decided to take reservations both here on our website and with Hostel World as this would help the hostel generate business and get the name on the ‘World Wide Web’ which it did. The problem with reservations is we had to have policies to protect  both the hostel and to protect those guests that wanted to make reservations, otherwise we would have guests making bookings then canceling at the last minute. This meant the hostel losing business and a potential guest losing out on staying with us when they had their heart on staying here.

In the last 17 months we have kept the hostel running at 90% occupancy using a booking system and with Granada being so close to the airport and a better option than staying in Managua many guests want somewhere for when they arrive in the country, this does not happen with Hostels/Hotels in Leon/Ometepe or San Juan but possibly with Corn Islands. So there is a market here in Granada for reservations and with us using Hostel World also it makes sense for us to do that.

With this in mind we need to remind the guest that we are only a small- medium size hostel so our policies are important in that we do not lose reservations, there is a small hotel in town with only 1 room so they have a weeks cancellation policy, there is another very popular and very large hostel in town with many dorm and private rooms, they do not take reservations at all.

Every business works a little different and they have to incorporate what they have and how well it works for both the customer and the business but it is has to work for both, having reservations without polices can mean a business losing money and shutting down or having policies with the guest not receiving all the informations is not fair on the guest.

 

Managing Expecations !

patio hdrAfter 15 months of being open Granada and Nicaragua have been very kind to Hostal El Momento bringing over 9000 guests and giving us 10 excellent months and 2 very good months in 2012.
Trip Advisor and Hostel World also have been very beneficial with our guests writing over 90 reviews and 35 reviews respectively with over 90% of them being very positive. As we have done in the past we would not be where we are today without those guests and without the staff as we have many positive reviews about them also.
 
With this in mind we have found that not always do those positive reviews bring positive results and with the headline to this post says I would like to explain what the guest is expected to find at Hostal El Momento.
When we opened our goal which is still the same is to offer the guest more whilst keeping the price down which for any business can be difficult but with our own experience of travel and working in the hospitality industry we had a small advantage.
 
We knew that comfort and safety were important so having firm mattresses, locally made furniture, security safes, cameras and having large tv’s have made the hostal very homely.
Our problem for some new guests is that they expected more and had a picture in their minds of what to expect especially when some some guests write or tell others that we are more like a Boutique Hotel…..Wow, jacuzzi,swimming pool, hot water pressure showers, AC, silver plated cutlery. Well maybe  exaggerating a little but some of our guests have left disappointed as they were expecting some of these things but with hostel prices.
 
We can offer offer all of these things but of course not at the prices we already have otherwise we will not be in business for very long plus if we do offer these amenities and do change the prices then the type of clientele will change and we are not targeting this market. Many guests do not realize that Nicaragua has the highest electric bills in the region whilst still suffering from power cuts once every 1-3 months and water can be cut off 2-3 times a week with water pressure being a problem in the city also.
This is not the guests problem but the hostels and hotels problem but we can only do so much from our side, offering AC would solve more than just one problem for us but it is just not feasible and the hotels that do have it have prices double to what we have.
 
We will continue to focus on comfort as well as listening to what the guests say, we will add more to the guests room every year giving them character and extra comfort, we will add more equipment in the guest kitchen as well as offering more in the restaurant and bar and most important having staff that are here to help you and make you feel at home.
Our Twitter feed and Facebook page as well as blog here helps explain to the new guest what Hostal El Momento offers before coming here, we are very honest with the guest if they do ask for AC or hot water and explain what to expect with us and in Granada.  
 
A very high percentage of our guests leave happy but for us we want all guests to leave feeling content so our next goal is to try and manage those expectations.