Hello Hostel in an abandoned mansion on Promenade des Anglais half a year ago was opened by friends Ivan Fedorenko and Anton Snitko. Having met at a party at Easybar in 2010, the guys decided to open a joint business. As a result, it turned out not just a place where foreigners stay, but also a full-fledged event venue with weekly concerts and parties. Now the hostel is designed for two dozen people, but closer to the summer it will be expanded several times.
Co-owner of the hostel
ABOUT THE PROJECT
FIELD OF ACTIVITY
START UP BUDGET
450 sq. m
English emb., 50
Initially, we planned a very simple project: to find a large apartment somewhere in the area of the Rebellion, put it in order, add souls. But accidentally stumbled upon the current premises - part of the mansion on Promenade des Anglais. The building was in terrible condition: the windows opened on both sides, the walls collapsed, holes led to the basement. There used to be communal apartments, then they were resettled. Eight years no one lived in the room. But we were bribed by a beautiful view of the Neva and the Lieutenant Schmidt bridge, and we decided to take up this very place.
For the first time, we agreed with the landlords in such a way that we partially counted the restoration of apartments as a fee for the premises. Overhaul took a year. It turned out, for example, that there is no sewage system - we had to hire plumbers. The rest was mainly done on their own and with the help of friends.
Anton used to work as a sales manager, since there is no honest work in the country for a sociologist engaged in elective technologies, and I am an art critic, but also, unfortunately, I have never worked by profession, my specialty is "organizing cultural events and working in the field of music management " Having met, we decided to organize a joint project. Since we all worked together, we had to do very different things, from painting walls, flooring, restoration of stucco moldings and furniture assembly to paperwork and project management on social networks. Over time, a distribution of responsibilities appeared. My position can be called a "non-profit director": I am responsible for the program of events, partnership, promotion. Anton is in charge of the financial component of the project.
It’s easy for us to work together: we have common plans and goals. In a team, such an understanding is worth a lot. Before the opening, several more people helped, all of them are our friends, so they worked for the idea.
One of the features of our hostel is an ongoing program of events in which not only residents can participate. This is what attracts us to the flow of people. Now we are doing the parties ourselves, because it is very scary to trust someone. Sometimes we take money for entry to pay for the work of artists. We have very high-quality concerts: Juniper, Nina Karlsson, Amy Peters and DJ sets of friends, and on Sundays there are jazz evenings or, for example, classical string quartets. The room can accommodate more than 100 people, so both events and parties get what you need.
They started renting rooms to their friends last summer, not yet fully finished, and the hostel opened for guests in October 2011. So far they come mainly from Moscow, but in the future we plan to develop international relations. We promote Hello Hostel through friends, it is pleasant and effective, we have already developed a regular customer base. Recently they began to cooperate with several booking sites: Booking.com, Hostelworld.com and their analogues. These sites are fairly easy to contact, each has a section for hostel owners. You can conclude a standard contract and for a small commission, usually 5-10 percent, post information about yourself. Guests can also book hostel seats there. Hello Hostel actively exists in social networks: it is the easiest and fastest way to deliver information and express emotions.
In the nearest plans for the tourist season - to increase the capacity of the hostel to 45 beds, now there are 15. It’s good that now we can afford to do the repairs with our own hands. Three double rooms will appear, and in the largest room of the hostel (45 sq. M) there will be 8 beds. In a standard hostel, 12-15 people occupy such a room. We were initially offered to simply make the light and put double-decker beds, the majority of economy-class hotels go this way. But we are categorically against such barracks, everything needs to be done with the soul. We are also going to improve the acoustics on the landing so that you can watch movies with good sound on the big screen and conduct not only acoustic concerts on the stairs.
Do not be afraid to open your hostel. This area of the hotel business is now actively developing in St. Petersburg. Hostels are happy about healthy competition and often even forward customers if there are not enough places.
Be prepared for the budget to exceed expectations. We calculated the repair money of 153 square meters as a minimum, and as a result we paid 3 times more.
Realize the simple truth: the consumer is a guest. People need to be loved, not to cash in on them.
Look for your chip, unlike others. Some of our guests can afford to stay at the Astoria Hotel, but they come to us for communication, acquaintances and emotions.
Find an interesting room. In our case, the historic building plays a huge role, which must be shown to people. About us, even the French filmed a movie.
Be crazy. People with commercial thinking lack this feature; they begin to count first and then do it. Better vice versa.