A big part of my role as ‘The Hostel Girl’ is to keep track of the latest developments and trends in the hostel industry. I figure this is the best way to make sure I’m consistently reviewing great hostels that fit your needs. And one way I do this is by attending hostel conferences. The most recent (and best) of these conferences was the STAY WYSE Conference 2017 in Amsterdam!
Of course it’s also a great way for me to catch up with fabulous hostel managers and staff that I don’t see that often. Which was easy to do with Hans Brinker (read my review here!), as they were running the bar again at this year’s conference!
Of course, while we have a lot of fun hanging out together, the STAY WYSE Conference is more than just a time to party with friends in the industry.
Split over two days, this year’s conference combined informative data on the present and future states of the hostel industry with a day full off opportunities to meet with potential partners. That second day is one of the most important dates in my calendar!
STAY WYSE Conference 2017: Youth are The Future
One of the reasons I am such a huge fan of the work that is done at the WYSE Travel Confederation, and at STAY WYSE in particular, is because of their dedication to youth travel. And not only their dedication, but their understanding that youth are the future in what are currently pretty troubling times.
No clearer was this addressed than when Director General, David Chapman, highlighted the WYSE Travel Confederation mission statement. You can read it below, along with his introductory line:
— Katie Dawes (@the_hostelgirl) February 2, 2017
STAY WYSE Conference 2017: Day 1 Educational Sessions
Day 1 is all about catching up with trends in the industry.
I am a huge fan of stats (I am a Psychology graduate…). So the opening speech by David Chapman, on their recent research into the industry was a great introduction.
Followed up by an incredible presentation of a pilot study of almost 4,000 hostel beds in London!
The study was run by STR, and the data that I swooned over for the entire 20-minute session was presented by their Director of Research and Development, Patrick Mayock.
Following this, hostel veteran Carl Michel took to the stage to head a panel discussion with young millennials.
The interesting part of this discussion was all to do with the fact that each young person taking part had a different outlook and form of travel.
One guy hadn’t even stayed in a hostel yet! But he’s awesome so I’m working on helping him get his first hostel experience! In the meantime, check out his awesome travel videos on Youtube!
Following this there was a panel of group tour operators, moderated by the Liam Doyle. He’s the GM for one of my favourite hostel chains: Clink Hostels. You can see why I love Clink so much by clicking here.
And I also stayed with ClinkNOORD on this trip to Amsterdam to put together an article on how to spend 24 hours exploring the location of their Amsterdam hostel by bicycle, which you can read on their website.
The highlight of the first day of educational sessions at the STAY WYSE Conference 2017, for me at least, was BEDx! A new session introduced this year, it gives delegates a platform on which to share more of their own personal knowledge into hostel life!
STAY WYSE Conference 2017: Day 2 Business Appointments
As I mentioned before however, the most important day for anyone attending the STAY WYSE Conference is Day 2: the Business Appointments!
With 25 slots of 15 minutes, the second day of the STAY WYSE Conference 2017 was all about business.
And honestly, if you’re a blogger who wants to work with hostels – you should be here next year!
Why? Because for the last two years I have been the only blogger in attendance. And I’m not telling you this because I want the competition. I’m telling you this because hostels want to work with you!
And if you’re a hostel looking to increase occupancy year-round, you should also be attending the STAY WYSE Conference. With more than enough tour operators to go around, meeting with them face-to-face is a no-brainer.
STAY WYSE Conference: Social Events
But of course, no hostel conference would be complete without fantastic social events!
STAY WYSE Conference 2018: Why You Should Register!
Okay, so as I press publish on this it’s a little early to register for the 2018 Conference. But you can pre-register to stay up to date with the latest news about the upcoming conference!
And here’s why you should:
If you’re a travel blogger:
The STAY WYSE Conference not only brings together the biggest names in the hostel industry from all over the world (think Generator, Freehand and St Christopher’s Inns), but it also offers a great platform to get to know local businesses in Amsterdam.
If you’re a hostel:
In my opinion, nothing beats meeting potential partners face to face.
So if you’re looking for tour operators to bring groups to your hostel and fill beds throughout the year, or for the next best PMS, then the business appointments day at the STAY WYSE Conference gives you 25 opportunities to do it!
Final Takeaway From STAY WYSE Conference 2017
For me, the STAY WYSE Conference is the most important conference in Europe for the hostel industry. Why?
- It acts as a platform for the industry to come together and positively benefit the future of youth travellers (i.e. you and me!)
- It gives me the biggest opportunity to network face to face with some of the biggest brands in the industry
Oh, and finally. We have a lot of fun!
P.s. A lot of the hostels I’ve worked with in the past are members of the STAY WYSE Association. This means that they are committed to improving the potential of youth travel accommodation across the world.
To see which STAY WYSE hostels I have reviewed, click the banner below…!
I hope to see a few of you bloggers and hostels there next year! And in the meantime, feel free to tweet me and let me know what you want from the future of your hostelling experience!
Lots of love,
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