I'd like to raise the topic of hostel workers and why a lot of hostel don't pay the staff they employ.
I am a keen backpacker myself and have spent months at a time backpacking, funding my travels by working in hostels, luckly, I have found or negotiated paid positions.
I keep an eye on these and other hostel/backpacking forums so I know there are an increasing amount of hostels that are advertising for staff just in exchange of accom and breakfast in most cases, some have other perks such as a second meal etc.
I must stress that this isn't the case for all the ads I see but as I said, an increasing majority.
I would like to know why such hostels, that after all, are businesses feel that they don't have to pay the staff they employ?
As I said, I too have backpacked and worked in many hostels so I know it can be hard work, especially in high season, or if the hostel has a lot of beds.
Some hostels are offering awful deals to travellers and it can only mean that the hostel will employ people who will not care too much for the job, as they have a high work load with little reward.
In these cases, staff who aren't happy or giving 100% on job will reflect upon the guests enjoyment of their stay somewhat, maybe the hostel will not achieve the reviews it could of had if the staff were happy or better looked after or put more effort into the job of making the customers/guests happy.
I leave you with some quotes from another user on this forum discussing pretty much the same subject.
"I've done quite a bit of backpacking myself, and have seen ads up in some hostels, mainly in Sydney, looking for backpackers to work for for beds... I often bumped into hung over backpackers hoovering or cleaning up common rooms... they didn't look like they were learning much or having fun, more like broke backpackers with little choice or sense....
it was usually 3 hours work for a night in a dorm... not sure of the minimum wage in australia, in ireland it's about 10euro an hour, so they'd be doing 30euro's worth of work for a room that's about 10euro a night... good deal for the hostel, not so good for the backpacker......
hmmmm... i'm new to all this... and am just surprised that this is the case... i've seen people work for a bed before, for a few days... but for 3 months....
i'm hoping to open up a hostel someday... and i'm sure it could be a struggle at times... maybe then, when the chips are down... free labour would sound quite nice... i think i'd still want to pay them something....
I, personally feel that hostels are businesses, and like any other business, they should pay the staff.
I know for a fact that a lot of money can be made, especially in high season and they should reward the hard working staff that help them achieve this.
I would love to see some replies from hostels here on this topic.