We believe that hostels should continue to provide all independent travellers of various ages, races, and status – who enjoy being part of a transient community – with low-cost accommodation in a sociable environment.
Hostels – or, rather, youth hostels – were originally thought up by a German school teacher who saw the need for school children to have suitable, affordable overnight accommodation, allowing them to travel and gain some experience of the world. The first youth hostel – or Jugendherberge – was established in 1912. Over a century on, the concept of hostels has altered from a duty to provide basic accommodation for youths who otherwise may not be able to experience travel, to providing independent travellers of all ages with an alternative to hotels and B&Bs.
Now, hostels vary greatly: there are still those that belong to associations (such as the Scottish Youth Hostels Association), but also there are independent, backpacker and bunkhouse hostels, and what the majority have in common is that they provide low-cost dormitory accommodation in a sociable environment.
We are independent
Since 2013, Inveraray Hostel has been an independent hostel. We are not part of any large organisation, chain or franchise. We are not a ‘youth’ hostel. We are self-sustainable: wholly reliant on the income made only by this hostel, the determination of staff and the welcome encouragement from our visitors!
We belong to a growing network of other independent hostels – take a look: www.indepenedenthostels.co.uk
We are a small, not-for-profit business
This means that the revenue earned by the business is limited and all income is invested in the maintenance, management and promotion of the hostel. No one’s in this business to get rich!
In other words, the hostel makes enough money to remain open. The hostel is only open because you want to stay in an informal environment, with the opportunity to meet other travellers, cater for yourself, and relax in a social atmosphere. But not only that, you don’t want to pay a lot of money for your accommodation either!
Keeping our accommodation affordable for guests means we have to keep our expenses as low as possible (no ensuites, bespoke wardrobes or mini-bars here!) and run the business with as few multi-talented staff as possible. With more and more people expecting a disproportionate lot for very, very little, running a hostel can be quite a challenge!
We believe Inveraray Hostel is a very good hostel. Yes, you might think the rooms are small, but remember that you’re not paying for the room alone, as you would in a hotel. Here, you’re paying for an excellent kitchen, a social dining area, a cosy wee lounge, a powerful hot shower, the use of a bike shed and a drying room, unlimited wifi, tea, coffee and condiments, and a well-maintained garden, complete with picnic tables! All is lighted, heated, cleaned when dirty, fixed when broken, and tended to with the utmost care of dedicated, paid staff. That’s quite a lot!
And remember, the majority of people who to work in, manage, or own a hostel don’t do it for the money: we do it because we empathise with the people who stay here. We are travellers ourselves, we understand your requirements, we try to create an environment that we would appreciate staying in. Working in a hostel is not simply a job; it is a lifestyle, and very often the hostel itself is not just a workplace – it is where we live. It is home.
We welcome everyone!
One of the many enjoyable aspects about travel is meeting people, different people.
It’s a common misconception that hostels are only for those that can’t afford to stay anywhere else. Rubbish! Hostels are for anyone & everyone! Hostels are simply an alternative to the pretentious formality of too many other establishments. Some people choose to stay in a hotel where they have nowhere to go but to their room, crammed with unused furniture & a TV to distract them from their environment, while others prefer to stay at a hostel that has somewhere they can store their bike, facilities in which they can cook their own meals & provides opportunities to meet other guests.
Hostels are for independent, self-sufficient travellers of all ages, races, backgrounds and financial status who enjoy being part of a transient community.
We believe in equality
Nobody here will be treated differently from anybody else. Staff welcome everyone with equal courtesy & friendliness without being obsequious or condescending. This helps to promote a relaxed atmosphere in the hostel. We expect guests to behave with similar regard towards each other. If we’re all friendly, considerate & co-operative, everyone will enjoy their stay here.
We’re getting greener
We are doing our best to reduce the hostel’s impact on the environment. Our electricity supply comes from sustainable sources, our daily cleaning products are eco-friendly, we have facilities to recycle packaging and staff voluntarily take your glass receptacles to the community recycling unit. We reuse what we can instead of throwing it away, we promote the sharing of food over wastage and compost most food waste. We are also creating a wildlife-friendly garden, feeding the delightful garden birds and encouraging our visitors to take an interest in the local flora and fauna.
We need your support
Without your visits, the hostel would not be here. If you would like to further your support of the hostel and other small, independent businesses (and thereby the local economy), there are several things you can do:
Go Direct! Booking channels or agents don’t work for free – they take a mighty commission from sales. Small businesses can’t afford to lose that money, so, more often than not, the customer must pay for it. Book directly, save yourself a few pounds and reduce the need for businesses to advertise with these money-mongers.
Be Positive! From positivity is born more positivity! Positive comments about your experience will encourage others to patronise a business, which will help it to thrive. What will a negative review do? It will put people off patronising a business, which will lead to a decline in sales, a decrease in income and eventually jeopardise the business and the livelihoods of those involved in it. Did you dislike your experience enough to be responsible for that?!
Speak to Staff! We are human! If you need to know something, ask us. It’s likely we’ve got the answer, or can point you in the right direction. If you like something, tell us. We appreciate a compliment, as does everyone else. It motivates us. If you don’t like something, tell us. We might be able to resolve the problem for you, or at least give you a good explanation as to why something is the way it is, so that you can find it in your heart to forgive the fault.
Volunteer! Many hostels welcome help from volunteers in exchange for accommodation. We do. Find us on www.helpx.net
Like Inveraray Hostel on Facebook! The popularity of social media is undeniable. Facebook is another platform on which guests can comment on their visit to Inveraray, make recommendations for other guests and keep up-to-date with local events and the progress of the hostel.