Hello hostel community.
Like any organization, HostelManagement.com has a presence on Facebook. Over time, this has become a fairly strong following, to the point where some forget about or don't realize that HostelManagement.com is first and foremost a full website and massive resource for hostel owners and managers. Which is a great shame, since the forum on HM has over 25,000 posts. Using Facebook to connect with other members of the HM community is not a bad thing, but some issues do arise.
One complaint and worry we've seen several times, including recently, is the presence of hostel industry professionals who are not directly involved with running hostels. For instance, employees of OTAs, Channel Managers, or PMS systems.
We've mentioned this before, but just to reiterate: By default, Facebook conversations are public. In addition, their tools make it very difficult for us to do any kind of screening to find out who is connected to which company. While sometimes these members can be a great source of information and help, we understand the desire to have a hostel-only chat area, as there are certain topics people don't feel comfortable sharing with non-hostel users listening. Others may want an opinion on which PMS or Channel Manager to use, and want to ensure there is no bias in the information they are receiving.
For this reason, we already have the "Power Members Chat" section of the forum. Traditionally members were only invited to this section of the forum when they had made 50 'quality posts' contributing to our community. Those who had participated in a HM Unconference were also welcomed.
However, we are open to the idea of a hostel-only section of the forum. We would welcome anyone who can show us they are an owner or manager of a hostel, and this area will not be for someone affiliated with other aspects of the hostel industry (i.e. OTAs, channel managers, etc). One way we could do this would be to expand the Power Members Chat to all verified owners and managers. Another could be to have one private forum for owners/managers, and another for those who contribute more often. We are open to ideas of what will work best for the community.
The benefit of a particular forum like this is a trusted area of concentrated information, from hostel owners and managers only. Additionally, using this section of the forum will help add to our permanent hostel industry knowledge base. Facebook may seem like a convenient quick solution to get the answers you need, but most of that information is quickly lost as new posts are added. It's not searchable, or archivable. The forum does all of this and helps future users who need answers to the same question.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment below so we can work together to find the best unifying solution.
Thanks for your commitment to the growth and betterment of the hostel industry.