TETRIS CONTAINER HOSTEL
How Karin, Ricardo and Ralf started with an innovative idea and conquered an efficient and praised operation worldwide.
Tetris Container Hostel was opened in November 2014, in the city of Foz do Iguaçu. Since its conception, the spirit of connection has been present. “When we think of a name, Tetris was the only word that transcribed this spirit”, comments Karin Nisiide, one of the hostel’s owners. “It alludes to containers, colors and shapes that fit together and that allow new structures to be formed.” And it goes much further, the connection with different people of different colors, ages, nationalities that fit together and that allow new friendships, ideas and projects to be realized.
The hostel was created by a multifunctional team: Karin Nisiide, architect and urban planner, Ricardo Nisiide, turismologist and gastronomist, and Ralf Smaha, who at the time represented Foz at the Convention Bureau. After traveling and studying abroad, they found themselves bored with their previous jobs, missing cultural interaction, and saw in Foz do Iguaçu an opportunity for the hostels market.
Karin recalls the first ideas of opening the hostel, during an informal conversation at a bar table. “In my master’s degree in Spain, there was a lot of talk about the use of maritime containers in architecture, a practice that was starting to grow in Europe, but which was still very little used in Brazil, so the idea came up to make a hostel in containers, with an architecture playful, differentiated and intriguing, bringing a new user experience.”
One of the competitive advantages from the beginning is that the construction is attractive, it draws the attention of both those who are still doing research on where to stay and the passerby. Almost daily they receive people who come to know the structure, so they were also attracting an audience that did not know hostels, but that was interested in the differential of the structure, attracting all types of audiences, from young people, backpackers, to families and more mature people.
Most of the guests are still foreigners, backpackers, but the scenario has changed positively and more and more the Brazilian public knows and seeks accommodation in hostels, due to the sustainable ideas, interaction and connection between people.
CREATING SOMETHING NEW WASN’T EASY
Since the beginning of the process, people doubted that it would be possible. “They said it would be hot, tight, and that it would not be appropriate to live. But that never discouraged us, we went ahead with the idea. ”
The work had many challenges, mainly because there was still little literature on the subject. At the time, it was the largest container construction built in Latin America, and the first hostel in containers of which they were aware, made in a city where there was no qualified workforce
The beginning was quite turbulent. “We spent more than expected on the hostel’s structure, so in the beginning we did the entire operation alone, from cleaning, breakfast, reception, bar and administration. We took shifts in the office during the day, and rotated in the early hours, and most of the time, we ended up sleeping at the reception or on the couch. So, when we managed to hire employees, we started putting out fires and resolving emergencies”, says Karin.
They distributed functions to supply needs, but without organization of processes and without standardization of services, changes were constant with successes and errors at all times. “Our finance department was also very messy, with a lot of bills pending from the construction mixed with the operation. Until we managed to organize it was quite difficult, as we still absorbed functions other than the operational and there was little time for a planned administration.”
“Over time, and with the consolidated company and a strong brand, we realized that we had good sales, but a low profitability result. But it was difficult to know what we were doing wrong. With the help of a management process consultancy, we began to see the importance of doing a planned management, with inventory control, expense planning, and having a more secure and organized financial management.”
LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT SYSTEM
In 2015, Tetris received the award for the Best Hostel in Brazil from Editora Abril and Viagem e Turismo magazine. They went to São Paulo to receive the award and met the owners of HQBeds. They were intrigued by being a system created by hostel owners, adapted to their needs.
Since the hostel opened, they had already used 2 other management systems. They started with a system aimed at hotel management. The system was difficult and often hindered. Then, they tried an online system, which was more focused on managing hostels, with more tools. But it still did not meet the demand.
They realized that they also had another problem. “Over time, and with the consolidated company and a strong brand, we realized that we had good sales, but a low profitability result. But it was difficult to know what we were doing wrong”, says Karin. With the help of a management process consultancy, they began to see the importance of making a planned management, with inventory control, expenditure planning, and having a more secure and organized financial management.
“HQ was essential in this step, as we were able to use tools such as inventory control, analysis of reports, which were there, but were never used, and having a more mature management process, focusing on a significant increase in our profitability”, she recalls.
“Talking to other HQ users, we feel that many hostel owners have no idea of all the tools that HQ has today.”
HOW HQBEDS HELPED TETRIS CONTAINER HOSTEL
Ricardo recalls that before using hqbeds, the management part was done with several spreadsheets and in a long and inefficient way. In some cases it was not even done.
Today, the booking part is also almost entirely automated. With the possibility of integration in a channel manager, there is no need to enter reservations manually in the system (except when by phone, e-mail or walk in). The entire process is integrated with OTAs and the website. Availability is constantly updated, which reduces the risk of overbooking and loss of bookings.
“Since we migrated to HQ, we have always had an opening with the managers, to insert tools that would facilitate our daily lives. Today, I can say with joy that HQ has practically everything we need for our control and management. We don’t need to be having to feed spreadsheets in different places, different controls, everything can be done within our system. And talking to other HQ user owners, we feel that many of them have no idea of all the tools that HQ has today”, explains Karin.
The managers conclude that all these functions have contributed immensely to the operation and growth of the hostel. “HQBeds is an excellent tool not only for controlling bookings, but also enabling us to improve administrative processes.” Finishes Ricardo.
- Dynamic reports of occupation and billing, both current and future prospecting.
- Analysis of the guest profile, with average ticket, booking source and consumption profile.
- Inventory control of products sold, with the possibility of dividing the inventory into different sectors; among others.
- Report categorizing expenses and calculating financial results in real time.
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We will bring real stories of hostel owners to discover what they have learned, how they have evolved and the passion of each one for the hostel lifestyle.
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