Hangover Hostels’ origin story begins with four friends who had extensively traveled throughout the world together. Whenever they returned home to Sri Lanka, they realized there was a noticeable gap in the market for quality, affordable accommodations. One friend had a solid background in hospitality while they other three had run successful businesses. And all four have an unwavering passion for traveling.
So where did the name Hangover Hostels come from? One night, the four friends were having a drink during a brainstorming session. The blockbuster hit, The Hangover, had recently come out and become very popular. At the same time, they came up with an idea centered around “Come Hang Over at My Place.” The name stuck and the rest is history. With a smile and chuckle, Thusitha, the general manager, also notes that their hostel in Mirissa is known as a place for a good time and a hangover is not an uncommon occurrence.
When Hangover Hostels launched, Sri Lanka had only a few hostels. Since 99% of their guests are international, the founding team’s goal was to create an international standard while maintaining Sri Lanka’s unique local charm. This includes amenities like air conditioning,USB ports by the bedside, reading lights and comfortable mattresses and facilities to match international standards in Europe. With more than 30 employees, Hangover Hostels hires both local and international staff for a perfect mix. Plus, every manager is internationally experienced.
Prior to Cloudbeds, Thusitha notes that they were using “a glorified channel manager” that lacked many of the features of a PMS. The biggest drawback was that they were using a booking engine that charged a commission for bookings. As they looked to increase direct bookings, Hangover Hostels knew they needed an upgrade in order to stay ahead of the growing competition in Sri Lanka.
Hangover Hostels wants to put money back into the pockets of guests, rather than have guests pay commissions to OTAs. With their direct marketing campaign, they advertise a 10% discount if the guest books directly and use unique promo codes set up in Cloudbeds. They advertise the discount on their website with a pop up notification, Facebook ads, and printed advertising material that they hand out to guests upon check-in. With Cloudbeds they are able to use their data more easily and create direct email marketing campaigns. Even though they don’t have a dedicated marketing team, they are able to leverage Cloudbeds tools like the guest database, sleek booking engine, and promo code system.
With Cloudbeds all-in-one hospitality software, the team at Hangover Hostels can update pricing with one click and automatically update all their channels including Booking.com, Expedia, HostelWorld, Agoda, and PlanMyTrip. Previously, updating rates was painstakingly tedious and time-consuming. Thusitha notes that the simplicity of the Cloudbeds platform is one of the strongest attributes of the software. With their free up time, they can focus on providing great guest experiences by hosting events, boat parties, yoga sessions, and BBQ nights.
The Cloudbeds occupancy report is a critical element to their business operations. With their previous reporting system, they couldn’t break down reporting by day, week, and month. The much improved reporting gives them transparency into their business and makes reconciling their accounting much easier. All of the data is in one place and they can now make more informed business decisions.