With all the talk of the increased commission rates by Hostelworld I threw together this list if anyone is interested
1. Don't lose commission on direct bookings by using OTA Booking engines on your website.
Use a channel manager such as Myallocator that includes a booking engine for your website.
2. Make sure your contact details are easy to access on your website
It is very important to have both a phone number and email address as well as very specific directions to your hostel.
3. Check all links and menus that they are working.
Often over time links are changed and this looks unprofessional when a link leads to nowhere.
4. Spellcheck all your text. Make sure whatever language you are using that every word is spelled correctly. This again looks unprofessional and if key words are not spelled correctly then this can affect search engine searches.
5. Translate your page. Many of your guests do not speak your native language. Make sure to translate your page where possible. It is better to use a human translator instead of Google. Often you could advertise a free stay for a guest to translate your website into their language.
6. Make sure pricing and information in regards facilities are up to date.
If you have no facilities on site make sure to advertise them on your website.
Also if a customer arrives after reading an old facility they will be disappointed if it is not available.
7. Give the information on your area. The more information on what to do the longer they will stay.
You could make sample itineraries for 3 days or 1 weeks stay at your hostel.
8. Use Social media. Make sure to have a presence at least on Facebook and respond to guests if they send you messages this way.
9. If there is events in your area advertise them on your website. When people are searching for these events your website may also feature. But make sure to remove old events and keep this up to date.
10. Show ratings and reviews of your property on your website.
Many review sites give you free widgets to display on your website.
Just be careful as sometimes sending them to the review site will list OTA'S that they can book your hostel with.
There are many other ways to improve but these I believe are the quickest and cheapest ways to improve your online presence. Many of these can be tasks done by your receptionist when they are not so busy waiting for customers to check in