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Sin City Hostel
Las Vegas, USA
INFOHOSTELS.COM HOSTEL OWNER QUESTIONNAIRE:
Hostel Name: Sin City Hostel
City: Las Vegas
Your Name: Jason L. Ordiway, owner
A Brief Description of your hostel:
Since 2003, owned and operated by locals. Sin City Hostel is the oldest operating hostel in Las Vegas. We are the smallest hostel in Vegas, but don't be deceived!
We are proud to say we provide the cleanest, safest and nicest dorms for you to sleep. All our staff is local, from cleaners to front desk staff. They are all down to earth kids that really make the difference! Our staff meets and makes new friends with fellow travelers every day and together we discover the wonders and craziness of Vegas local life!
So, when we make activities we have more than 50% of our guests participating in them. We take our guests to the real local scenes, such as: bars, art galleries, street art, and local restaurants and local shops. We want them to experience the real Vegas, and we also make sure they have a good time on the major tourist spots! People really feel comfortable, welcomed, accepted. They feel like they are home, they don't feel intimidated or shy like when you stay in hostels with more than 100 beds…
1. When did you open your first hostel? How many beds you started with? Was it easy at the beginning? Or it got easier once everything is set already?
I havent opened my own hostel yet. I started as a cleaner and I worked my way up to becoming part owner of the business.
How many beds you started with? The hostel has 57 since I started.
Was it easy at the beginning?
It was not!!! In January of 2013 the Hostel was rated 65% in Hostelworld and Hostelbookers and it was pretty much the same in all other OTAS. Ocupancy was always less than 30% in low season and that was really bad. The whole place was in terrible shape… the other owner was about to close the business when I started as a cleaner. That's how bad it was…
Or it got easier once everything is set already?
It hasn't gotten any easier, but it has gotten a lot better!!! A dramatic change, this is not the same business it was in 2013 at all! Well, except for the logos I guess hahaha!
2. What exactly inspired you to open a hostel ?
Again, I did not open this hostel. I studied tourism in Costa Rica and I was a professional tour guide. There, besides working on preservation projects and selling my own private tour packages I also helped a friend of mine with his hostel before moving to the USA.
When I moved to the US, I was desperately looking for jobs in Vegas. And cleaning at Sin City Hostel was the first job I was able to get after 3 months of job hunting… I didn't hesitate to start as a cleaner, cleaning 2 or 3 times a week for 3 hours a day. I knew I could work my way up and I did!
3. What it feels like to manage a hostel?
It's beautifully chaotic! I say this in a very good way. Remember, it's like littlefinger said: Chaos is a ladder.
It's not easy to manage a Hostel in Las Vegas. Many things happen in this city… But being the manager of a hostel in Las Vegas feels awesomeeee!!!
4. How many hostels were in your city when you opened yours?
Right now there are 4 businesses, I heard there have been many others before and after Sin City Hostel existed, now they are all gone… But Sin City will always be here!
5. Is your hostel a part of a chain or private?
We are proud to be a private hostel and not part of a major corporation. We are also proud of having a hostel that is owned and operated by true Vegas locals!
6. Have you stayed in a hostel before opening yours?
Of course! As a tour guide many times I had to make one or more night stops in major tourist destinations and many times I had to stay in Hostels. Both in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
7. Are you still satisfied with your decision to open a hostel or you are having some doubts whether it was the right choice?
No doubts about it! If you have doubts about having a hostel you might as well closed it or sell the business…
I actually want to open at least two more hostels over the next 5 to 10 years. One of them in Vegas and the other one in Costa Rica.
8. What's the average type of customers you have in the hostel today?
REAL TRAVELERS! We don't have people living in here for a year or even 2 years like our competitors do… We make sure all our guests are traveling and we have a maximum stay of 6 nights specially during our summer season. (Sometimes we make exceptions in winter and let them stay 2 or 3 weeks)
Lately, most of our guests are flashpackers in their early-mid 20s. This is thanks to major changes done in the property that allows us to attract these type of travelers.
9. Does your hostel also have private rooms or it's just dorms?
It used to have semi-private rooms but I decided to get rid of them and now we only have dormitories.
10. Does your hostel offer any extra activities?
Do we? Of course we do!!!
We have local nights, free BBQs every weekend, pub crawls, outdoor movie nights, limousine tours, we celebrate all major American holidays because we want to share these cultural experiences with our foreign travelers.
What makes your hostel outstanding or better compare to others?
What makes us different is not how much alcohol or drinking we do in our hostel and see how many people can get wasted and throw up in our property.
We make the difference by making activities where we are not looking specifically to profit from them.
We don't believe that charging $5 per person for a BBQ where we get 30 people in the activity will make us any richer. (Remember, we have 57 beds)
Or over charging guests for a Limousine tour where they only get one drink for the whole ride like others do… We make sure they get the best of the best and again, we are not looking to get rich with these activities… We just want them to have a great time in VEGAS!!!
11. If you would have unlimited amount of money, where would you invest it in, to make growing your current one?
I would make a hostel empire in Las Vegas!!! Just like Steve Wynn did with the hotel/casino industry in Las Vegas… but he already had money when he started… I have to fight for it!!! =P
12. How do you see your hostel's future and future of the hostels in general?
I see our hostel becoming better and better as time passes by. Not only by having more beds in the future, but by making it more “fabulous” because… we are in Fabulous Las Vegas!!!
This means having insane, next level designed dorms and facilities along with state of the art technologies in the hostel.
13. How the hostels have changed in the past years?
They have become more complex as travelers have evolved in the past 20 years. Adapting to new trends, standards, technologies and most importantly newer generations of travelers and understanding them, like millennials!
14. How does the hostel influence the local area?
We are stablishing good relationships with local businesses and their owners. Mainly in the Arts district of Las Vegas which is only a few blocks away from us. And again, our focus is and will always be the real local scene of Las Vegas.
15. What's your advice to the future hostels?
You have to be really sure of what you want to do and the type of hostel you want to be. Study the area, the market, the competitors, the local attractions. And I am not talking about someone that has some extra room in his house and wants to rent a few beds like 10 or 15… I mean this advice is for anyone looking to have a hostel with more than 50 beds.
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