I have traveled perpetually for over 10 years, the best form of promotion of a Hostel I ever seen was by the Voyager Hostel in Panama. I believe the owner or manager is not longer there, but his idea was simple and easy, I was in this Hostel 8 years ago, and the world does change.
Make a small advertisment on 1/2 of piece of white paper. This had a map, directions, telephone number, URL of Website etc. Do not print on both sides, leave for scrap paper at the reception desk or in the dorm room.
1. When a person enters give them five of them and say welcome. (Do the reception job that is not done at the majority of Hostels or Hotels.)
2. When they enter a dorm room or single room there would be five of these sitting on a table.
3. When the person is checking out, he would say thanks for coming, hand a person five more cheap brochures and say,
"Thanks for coming, would you please take this to a city and post in another hotel and hostel."
A. The guest that really like the place would post in another city, not inside the city, this is too late, it has to be in the cities prior to arrival.
B. The guest would use the paper to exchange emails, scrap paper, notes, etc inside the dorm room.
c. The guest would push into their backpack, and someone on the bus would ask where they stayed, they would pull out a brochure and give to the person.
I first saw these fliers in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, then as I proceeded south I saw them all the way to Panama.
When I went to Belgium, I seen the brochures posted.
Simple, Cheap, Easy and only requires a Hostel owner or manager to be a good person who...
-Receives a Guest - i.e. have a reception desk.
- Say Thanks - - i.e. tells the guest you appreciate their business
Andy of HoboTraveler.com in the Fukuoka Khaosan Hostel in Fukuoka Japan, tomorrow I leave for Bangkok. October 2008