Zostel, India’s first chain of backpacker’s hostel that aims to provide safe, hygienic, relaxed and affordable accommodation to travel-lovers. Backpacking is becoming popular in India and Zostel offers this alternative stay option which is a rarity in country and the number of guests they receive has been steadily rising and they have plans for global expansion.
- Aviral Gupta, Head of Customer Experience at Zostel
Initially, when Zostel started operations, they managed bookings manually and maintained records in excel sheets, which led to errors. They quickly realised that further growth would also require better inventory management. That’s when they decided to implement a hostel management software in favour of one that could help run day-to-day operations smoothly and distribute inventory efficiently.
Thus began their search for a comprehensive hostel management system that could integrate fragmented processes and ensure a streamlined workflow. They needed a robust hotel management software, channel manager, web booking engine and restaurant POS software. They drew up a list of available software and evaluated them to see if they could address and solve all their issues. They realized that the market had standalone tools but there isn’t any robust, economical, integrated hostel management system that could bring all operations and online inventory distribution together to improve collaboration, reporting, and distribution. The system should also be able to scale up and keep up with the rapid expansion plans of the management.
After evaluating various solutions available in the market, they chose eZee as the state-of-the-art property management system. It came along with an online channel manager and web booking engine which integrated all property management functions with real time online distribution capabilities on their website and on online marketplaces. It also scored higher in terms of customization, price, ease of use, and robustness as compared to the other evaluated solutions.
Zostel needed a system that was built specifically for hostels or was highly configurable so it could accommodate the unique needs of hostels. Unlike hotels, who sell rooms, hostels mostly sell beds and they require a management system that can accommodate this abd many other operational and inventory distribution processes couldn’t be configured on a regular property management systems. eZee’s setup, however, understood their requirements completely and helped them configure the system based on their needs.
Setting-up and staff training took just a few days, post which the system ran smoothly. eZee customized the solution to suit their needs – they now have smaller hostels, but plan to expand facilities soon. Subsequent training sessions were also held so that their staff could understand the system better. The client is also quite impressed with eZee’s 24/7 online support, which is available to assist the staff and solve issues in real time.
“eZee helped us understand the system and after the first 2-3 training sessions, our staff was able to conduct internal trainings for new joinees and new properties. What I like about them is that they are just an email away and respond to our queries very fast.” says Siddharth Janghu, Co-Founder of Zostel.
eZee allows users to access all its features through a single platform via internet, so the staff can now access the system from any workstation, anywhere, without paying for additional software licenses. The solution helps manage resources dynamically based on usage, ensuring seamless process-flow and optimum utilization of time and resources.
eZee’s online channel manager makes online room inventory distribution in real-time easy. The system also allows users to control rates and distribute inventory from a single dashboard while being connected to global marketplaces. Moreover, the system also monitors occupancy rate constantly, ensuring better real-time allocations to various online marketplaces, eliminating under bookings, thereby boosting revenues.
“Our international guests book Zostel on hostel booking sites like HostelWorld and HostelBookers unlike our Indian customers who booking from our own website. Backpacking and hostel booking sites aren’t a very popular concept here in India” says Kush Tevatia, Head of Sales, Zostel. He adds, “The eZee web booking engine and online channel manager helps us drive bookings on our website and OTAs.”
eZee’s user-friendly interface requires minimum training for staff and is extremely easy to operate. It helps save time and reduces dependency on manual intervention. Zostel is successfully using eZee to manage all properties and intends to use it for all its upcoming facilities as well.
Zostel is expanding to Europe and South East Asia, and aims to open 20 more hostels by the end of 2015. “We are confident that 2015 is the year of Zostel and will witness a flood of Zostels by December 2015 from Spiti to Kochi and from Hanoi to Colombo”, says Akhil Malik, Co-Founder & Director – Zostel. He adds “Zostel will use eZee in all new properties.”