HostelBooker’s Product Department – spotlight on!

Managing the Product Department at HostelBookers, I have the privilege of working with some great people both within and out of the workplace. I have five years expereince with the company and have seen numerous changes and realignments of strategies. Even my Department (once the contracting department) evolved into the Product Department about one and a half years ago, in order to manage the relationships more efficiently with properties and provide day to day account management.

Working in Product has the team oversee a number of projects and tasks, from gaining great rates and extra availability for customers, handling awards and merchandise for properties, contracting new properties to increase our product offering and attending business trips and conferences to broaden our own product and industry knowledge.

I thought it would be fun to introduce some of the team, what it means to them to work at HostelBookers and what some of their favourite and recomended properties they deal with are. All the team have regional accountability, so let’s start with one of the Team Leaders, Alida Zecca, who looks after the Italian market! Alida has worked in various departments so has a good understanding of how we call all work together well to achieve common goals.

Product Team Leader

HostelBookers Product Team Leader – Alida Zecca

Time at HostelBookers and best memory

“It’s almost 4 years! My best memory has to do with meeting amazing people that I am proud to call my best friends,  Anna R. and Marina! Even though they have left recently, they made my life in London and in HostelBookers much easier…. And of course, they were also part of a nice excuse to fly to Mexico and spend a couple of weeks with”

As Product Specialist, what are the favourite cities in your region… and why?

“Has to be Venice and Florence!

Venice – simply because it’s the most romantic city in the world. The city is a dream land, all the beautiful buildings, the crazy small alleys and the amazing canals. They make sure every step you’ll take…will take your breath away!

Florence – it’s also extremely beautiful and romantic, especially after the sunset! A strength of Florence is also the great food and wine they have there… If you like you steak rare and your wine red, then Florence has no equals in the world!”

Which properties would you personally stay in and would happily  recommend to other travellers?

“Hmmmmm….. I think ‘Ostello Bello’  in Milan – super fun , super quirky, amazing location and Aperitivo!

‘Palazzo Guardi’ in Venice – incredible boutique hotel, amazingly posh and elegant… ideal for a romantic break or just to make you feel a little special.

‘Aramis Guest House’ in Florence – Beautiful and extremely well-kept B&B in the heart of Florence, minutes from everything with all comforts included!

‘Seven Hostel’ in Sorrento – a piece of paradise.”

Senior Product Specialist

HostelBookers Senior Product Specialist – Lilia Taguiam

On of my Seniors and longest-serving members, Lilia Taguim, looks after the largest and most diverse region at HostelBookers – Australasia! Lots of challenges with different time zones and language barriers, however this does not deter the cheeky, angelic warrior tackling a huge amount of work and requests on a daily basis.

Time at HostelBookers and best memory

“I have been with HostelBookers for over 5 years and as I have grown older, I have developed and nurtured good relationships with my team mates so they are my friends. I have also been given the chance to grow within the company and be the best that I can be as a professional.”

As Product Specialist, what are the favourite cities in your region… and why?

“Melbourne, Australia – Huge city with just so much attractions to offer and visit, easy access to everywhere. City and beach… love the trams, food, shopping etc.

Hong Kong – Good for families because of theme parks like Disneyland, Ocean Park…great value shopping, food, Wi-Fi everywhere”

Which properties would you personally stay in and would happily  recommend to other travellers?

“In Hong Kong: Bishop Lei International House – a rooftop pool where guests can unwind and sunbathe, lovely staff.

In Melbourne: Space Hotel – Great location, very clean and well maintained property, big kitchen, lovely rooftop, movie room, good staff. Everything was clean, spotless & perfect

In Sydney: Bounce – Amazing Rooftop! It has a cover that is remote-controlled, so when it rains they can close it so the rooftop furniture doesn’t get wet. They also have big and spacious common areas and a restaurant next door. It’s walking distance to Central Station. Again, great staff, very clean and well maintained.

In Singapore: Bunc Hostel – after all my property visits, I could say this was the best hostel there is in Singapore. It’s located in Little India where you can find the only 24 hours shopping centre “Mustafa”. There is a ladies room, rooftop deck, kitchen…. And if you don’t want to cook, then restaurants in the area offer exotic food such as “cereal prawns, salted egg crabs, Chili Or Black Pepper Crab, BBQ Stingray etc”

Product Specialist

HostelBookers Product Specialist – Khalid Ichaoui

Khalid Ichaoui started off as an apprentice with me at HostelBookers and is one of the success stories of what a lot of hard work, diligence and great work ethic can lead to. Now a fully fledged Product Specialist, the youngest member of the team primarily looks after the very important and growing North American market… and has recently taken on a few extra countries for good measure, including Argentina and Cuba.

Time at HostelBookers and best memory

“Three and a half years, working my way up! My best memory…. Hmm…. does this have to be work related? Right now I’m thinking how I scored a goal at Upton Park – and was the first Moroccan to do so!”

As Product Specialist, what are the favourite cities in your region… and why?

“Los Angeles – best weather in the US with a yearly average of 18°C! The “City of Angels” has so much to offer, from star spotting on Rodeo Drive, the Griffith Observatory… to museum hopping between the Getty and LACMA!”

Which properties would you personally stay in and would happily  recommend to other travellers?

“Well – ‘Chicago Getaway Hostel’ – awesome facilities, very clean, fun staff and great value for money! Our customers think so too, as the hostel was voted our #1 property in North America!

Freehand Miami –  Ever wondered what it’s like to stay at a boutique hostel? The Freehand Miami offers an experience not be missed. You will enjoy a unique design with hand crafted interiors, local food and drinks at the hostel bar (The Broken Shaker), all in a sociable environment with other like-minded travellers. Oh… the hostel is situated between Miami Beach and South Beach!

USA Hostels Hollywood: The USA Hostels Hollywood offers fun, clean, value-driven accommodation for travellers who want the most for their money. The hostel is situated in the centre of Hollywood surrounded by theatres, the world-famous walk of fame and LA’s hottest bars!

USA Hostels San Francisco: Another winner at the HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’ 2013. The hostel won an award for best staff two years in a row! In addition to the fun driven environment, the hostel is an ideal location for exploring San Francisco. You are minutes away from Union Square, Chinatown, Japantown, the historic cable cars and some of San Francisco’s best shopping!”

Overall, we have ten Product Specialists who are happy to give you their tips and recommendations…. just drop me a line and let me know where you are going – and we will be in touch!

Most European destinations mentioned are cheaply reached by budget airlines

I prefer to use Ryanair or Easyjet


Top Hostels in Western Europe

As Product Manager for HostelBookers, I am pleased to announce the top hostels and properties in Western Europe for 2013 – as  brought to you by HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’. All awards are based primarily on customer reviews. While I have the joy of selecting the winners, it is you – the customer, who has spoken!

Amazing, huge hostel in an old textiles university

PLUS Berlin – Amazing, huge hostel in an old textiles university

The winners in Western Europe include the following:

Most Popular

Top 3 Accommodations

Best Atmosphere

Best Staff

Award for Cleanliness

Best for solo travellers

Best for families

Best for couples

Best new hostel

Best value hotel

Congratulations to all properties and their owners and staff – and happy travelling to the reader!

For a full list of HostelBookers ‘Awards for Excellence’ 2013 winners – view here

Most destinations mentioned are cheaply reached by budget airlines

I prefer to use Ryanair or Easyjet