#HELSINKI2017 INTERVIEW WITH DOMUS
- What is your position in Finland’s hostel-market, and how is it different from it’s competitors?
We are the biggest summer hostel in Finland with over 300 rooms and nearly 600 beds. All of our rooms have private facilities like bathroom, shower and kitchenette. This is pretty unusual for hostels.
Being the biggest summer hostel in Finland, we also differ from our competitors because we take environmental aspects very seriously. We are the first hostel in Finland and the fourth in the world to have received Hostelling International’s High Quality and Sustainability certification. We are also the first hostel in Finland that received Finland’s Nature League’s certification and recommendation for sustainable accommodation option. Hostel Domus Academica also offsets all carbon emissions by co-operating with Nordic Offset. In 2016 the compensation was carried out by directing the funds to a wind power project in Gansu Anxi, China.
- What your hostel guests expect from you, and what you do to exceed the expectations?
Our hostel guests expect affordable accommodation, high service and good location. In my opinion we do fill those expectations very well and our customer satisfaction results show the same impact. Our receptionists play a huge role in this and we put a lot of time and effort on training them with care. Our customer service has always been the heart of everything we do. Of course there’s always room for improvement, for next summer we are planning on expanding our services.
- How has the tourism industry changed and how you are keeping up with the change?
The tourism industry has changed quite a lot within a few years. Travelers are willing to pay less for accommodation and instead focus on getting the full travel experience with sightseeing, restaurants and activities. Hostels are also better known nowadays and are appreciated more due to more affordable prices, “live like a local”-feeling and social environment.
- What can we expect from the hostel industry in Finland in near Future?
I think hostel chains will keep on expanding and we should be expecting bigger brands to expand to Helsinki as well. Helsinki has grown as a tourism city quite a lot, but the hostel industry has stayed pretty narrow. What we are missing in Helsinki are big, modern and international brands like Generator or Wombat’s. I also think that small independent hostels will keep on growing in Finland.
- What values does your Hostel stand for?
Environmental values are very important to us, as mentioned above. We take environmental aspects seriously and want to take responsibility on our actions and our impact on the nature. We also value equality within everyone and everyone is welcome to stay with us.
- What new innovations are you currently using to attract tech savvy hostel guests?
We have recently upgraded our reservation system and are using a modern, rapidly growing system. This system provided us with a new, more efficient booking engine as well as our own phone application which our guests can use for free. They can for example search for our tips on what to do in Helsinki, what to see or where to eat as well as communicate with us quickly by messaging, all within their smart phones.
- What makes your hostel guests come back?
Our outstanding customer service, central location and rooms with private facilities.
- Does the stay at Domus impact on tourists to return to Helsinki, and to your hostel?
Many of our guests come back the next year after staying with us. We have built many long-term customer relationships that we worship. Customer relations have also led to word of mouth, and many of our guests have heard of us from their friends or friend’s friends and that’s why they have chosen us over other options.
- What are your predictions on tourism and hostel industry in Finland in the next 5 to 10 years?
As mentioned before, I do believe that the hostel industry will keep on growing in Finland long term as well. I also think that customers are expecting more of hostels in the future like better services and more modern atmosphere. I believe that the social environment and affordable prices that are typical to hostels will remain important but hostels will take more hotel-like influences.