Every year since their opening our dear friends at Podstel organize an annual gathering in Bucharest. We at hostel.consulting thought this event to be a great hostel idea so this year I went there to check it out.
After 5 days of events such as morning yoga, city walks, nights out dancing, hiking and even paragliding in nearby Brasov, I asked Sam Cooper (Co-owner of Podstel Bucarest and Podstel Umbrella) to tell us more about this great concept..
What exactly is a podstel gathering?
Sam: “The Podstel Annual Gathering is the joining of our ever-growing Podstel community. Every year we close the hostel off and fill the beds with some of the best people we know. Placing like-minded individuals of all ages, cultures and backgrounds into our socially-designed Podstel environment, all armed with unique personalities and skills to just see what happens.”
This must come with a lot of work and even expense. What made you want to do it?
Sam: “Since we opened our first Podstel hostel, it was amazing to see our community grow and we wanted a way of celebrating that. So towards the end of our first year of operations we decided to create the very first gathering. At first, we didn’t really know what to expect. It was just important for us to get these special people together. We knew that music, food and cool events bring everyone together… and that it did! It was a great success and continues to be so.”
What has been your experience and observations of these gatherings?
Sam: “What started as a bit of an experimental celebration, turned into an annual event for the past 3 years. We’ve had previous hostel guests returning from all over the world, friends and family from back home, the local Bucharest community… we’ve even had our high school teachers come over and get involved. Throughout the gathering, we organise an itinerary of the best of what Podstel, Bucharest and Romania has to offer. We hike mountains and explore cities, run presentations/ workshops, organise huge BBQ’s & family meals & enjoy live stage performances, to just name a few.”
What do Podstel and participants of the gatherings get out of the event?
Sam: “For us, it is a privilege to be able to host these special people and share such amazing memories. However the big point of value for everyone, is that the days together facilitate connections between all of these unique individuals. We’ve seen new ideas and inspiration discovered and solid friendships forged. The power of human connectivity is really clear throughout every gathering we’ve run and everyone always wants to come back”
What I realized during the Podstel gathering was that creating an event for your hostel’s community (such as friends, past guests and workers) is truly a great idea to not only fill beds during low season but also create valuable experience for everyone that is involved.
What event does your hostel put on to create demand during your weaker seasons? Write to us below and we would love to highlight it on a future “hostel ideas” post