Travel-Hostel: Hello and thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Hope everything is going fine! Tell us a bit about yourself, the people you work with, the mix of cultures and what keeps it going.
Joerg: We are a small hostel with 60 beds. My business partner Pierre and I started 10 years ago with this project. Before we were travellers for long time until we found ourselves in a family life. The hostel is very much a mix of what we liked a lot during our travelling. Gemuetlich, clean, friendly, well equipped and maintained. A place home from home. We are relaxed with self catering kitchen, cheap beer at the reception, nice garden etc. We are not a party hostel in the sense of binge drinking wet t-shirt contest fun things – it more for adult people. Our staff we select very strict, but once we found a new member the person stays for many years. I hope it is because it is a good job (and we do regularly staff meetings with loads of beer) . Our staff comes from Australia, Poland, Netherlands, Peru, Brasil, South Africa and of course Germany. We watch very tight how they deal with the customers.
TH: How would you describe a regular day of the life – what you do, the different things and situations you get in contact with, what kinds of problems can there be, what are the advantages advantages, what you like and what you don’t like about what you do?
J: I work mostly behind the front desk line. So I am responsible for staff management, accounting, and all the little things that happen in a daily business. I can do some work from home, so sometimes in the evening I do what is left over. During the day I am around. By nature I try to work not too much, so I think I have the best possible job for me. In contact with the world, seeing my business grow … and it seems we do a lot of good things – our ratings are very good = win win situation 😉
TH: What makes your place different from a hotel? Is it the spirit/concept, or just because it’s cheaper? And what would be these differences?
J: A hotel for me is a stiff place with lots of stupid hierarchy and not very personal. In the eastseven you can feel at home. The common rooms are made to chill without always being asked if you want to consume something. And we have this wonderful staff, who knows a lot, and also can help by looking for further information. We attract the people we want in our hostel, so we have a good atmosphere and every day we can see how people became friends overnight. And we are very clean (that for we have more female guest).
TH: People in your city –do they usually go to alternatives to hotels or hotels? And why do you think this happens?
J: In Berlin there are 130 hostels and more than 1.000 hostels. I don´t know so much about how the guest act in that environment. But I know that we have a lot of regulars and guest following personal recommendations … So we focus on doing what we think is important.
TH: Whenever you go to a new city, you always find out some things only after you get there. Could you tell us your best insider tips for anyone who comes and visits the city?
J: Bring more than 2 days, cause you need time to understand the Berlin universe. There is no center but roundabout a dozen interesting areas. Don´t miss nightlife. As you can feel safe everywhere, just start your walk and end up when you legs are burning – alternatively you can rent a bike. Try to get into the history of the last 80 years – still you can feel a lot of what happened here.
TH: Could you estimate, on the spot, an average 7 day trip to your city:
J: 1 day main sights
3 half day with museums you like and the other half with beeing in interesting neighbourhoods
3 evenings with art events in galleries
2 evenings with life music and maybe later clubbing
One soviet day with former headquarter Karlshorst and soviet war memorial
One daytrip to Sachsenhausen concentration camp (it is heavy stuff)
One daytrip to Potsdam castles
On Sunday it is a must to visit a fleamarket (preferable Mauerpark)
TH: Indeed, I visited Berlin for less about 6 days, and I felt like I just barely scratched the surface of what was going on! Tell us about your experiences – the people you meet, the best and worst experience. What is it that you learned, do you happen to have any advice for travelers or for other hostel managers based on your experiences?
J: Surprisingly I didn´t have any real bad experience. Sometimes you feel treated bad by an unfair rating (unfair means complaints about things we haven´t done that sometime happened in other hostels … and I´m really sick of guest complaining about a never promised elevator – we really don´t have one – if it is important please book a hostel with an elevator)
The best experience was a love story of a Taiwanese guy and a Chinese girl (forbidden love in the city of the wall … yeah)
TH: Do you happen to have any information about fake reviews (because apparently that’s a thing)?
J: We sometimes wonder how some hostels manage to not have one single bad review – I think it is impossible to make everyone happy. I don´t know more about it, I think the best is to have a good product …
TH: OK, now tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you like to do on vacation?
J: I like action like hiking, biking, walking arround, swimming … and I like to sit in a cafe for hours and see the people moving. And I like new types of food.
TH: OK great! Thanks for the time and good luck with the EastSeven Hostel !