To promote the site we could make some stickers or flyers and distribute them in hostels or hotel lobbies. This would spread the word but I am not sure how practical this is. I have been in hundreds of hostels in the last six years but I wouldn't want to carry tons of those papers with me in my small backpack. Also even though printing them may not be too expensive, postage to send them out could be very high.
It sounds like a good idea but...
I've worked in a hostel for almost a decade and I can tell you the amount of brochures posters and stickers we receive in the post or by hand from people promoting this, that, or the other thing, would be enough to cover every inch of the building several times over.
So we're very judicious about what stuff we accept and promote, all the rest goes to the paper recyclers. Such a waste.
So the hostels would have to perceive some value in it, something special that makes them more important than most of the junk they receive.
For hostels that have internet cafes or rooms putting stickers in those might work a bit better. But now 99% of the world has switched to wifi and netbooks and smartphones and probably tablets.
Better might be to find ways to make deals with booking sites like hostelword, hostelbookers, maybe even couchsurfing.
Or a bit of guerrilla marketing where travellers sneakily stick them up in places they think they will work. I can't guarantee no negative repercussions from this approach though...
Yes hostelworld should recommend us since we almost always recommend hostelworld if it is a hostel question :D Nov 20, 2011 at 10:19
4I see your points and agree, physical fliers may not be worth the effort. I will just make travel.stackexchange.com the home page on all hostel computers I come by :-) Nov 20, 2011 at 18:39
99% ? I doubt that is true even in the US, world wide there is still or good portion of people travel without gadgets. I don't have a laptop, phone or even a watch. Nov 20, 2011 at 18:41
I was the only one in my current hostel without a phone - so they gave me one! )-: I also don't have a watch. I think we only have one guest without a laptop or netbook though. But then again we don't have 100 guests so I should admit to having used the Dilbertian technique. Nov 20, 2011 at 19:12
@Roflcoptr no way, Hostelbookers all the way, I refuse to link to Hostelworld after the stories I've heard from hostel owners about how they treat them :( Nov 21, 2011 at 1:11
2In my work in hostels I have found both HostelWorld and HostelBookers to be roughly equally crap. As a backpacker I have found both to be equally good. I think it was HostelBookers that utterly failed to comprehend my emails asking what happened to my old account history with them and informing them of a hostel they listed which was no longer operating. HostelWorld on the other hand pretty regularly sold beds on the day in high season instead of stopping one day before, resulting in double bookings. Nov 21, 2011 at 7:19
We side-track, but does the world need another Hostel booking site? Open-source, with a nice API and cheaper for hostels and guests! There are a lot of developers here, we could start such a project. Nov 21, 2011 at 12:02
@PeterHahndorf: Building and promoting a successful booking site is not a trivial task. You have to check and update availability with each booking request, and doing that "live" on very big sites can bring down your database. Also: you MUST charge a booking fee or some sort of cash advance, because otherwise people book but never show up and pay, while the hotel owner could have rented out the room to some walk-in guest. There is to much money in it, and you would have to compete with Expedia, trip adviser, offer reviews, make sure your listings are current and the hotels still operate etc... Nov 22, 2011 at 4:56
You guys might be interesting in this post about a few new hostel booking sites, one created by my former employer. Nov 22, 2011 at 9:31
Guerrilla marketing? Say...what do you think of Travel.SE branded toilet paper? Everyone needs THAT shit... Dec 1, 2011 at 23:28
Who will toilet train the gorilla? Dec 2, 2011 at 4:35
Just recently some members of the bioinformatics stackexchange community published a scientific paper on their SE platform. It might be difficult to write a scientific paper on traveling, but I guess that there are magazines that could provide a nice platform to present travel.se.
So I would propose to search for a contact person that could help getting a report on travel.se in one or more popular traveling magazines. In the mean time tweeting your answers and question, might also get new members to the community. An other options is to blog about a very interesting experience you had because of information you got out travel.se
Yes we should, and StackExchange is more than happy to help us.
However, this can and only should happen once Travel.SE graduates out of beta. We are doing good work now but there's so much more we could do. There's a long way to go still...we'll get there! You could argue we could do with publicity now to graduate out of beta but that's true for any SE site currently in beta and I don't see why resources would be favoured for one beta and not another. That's kinda the whole point of having a beta period.