Hostels Are Hot

No longer the go-to spot for college students on a budget, hostels have been reimagined.

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Once upon a time, no college student’s tales of a summer spent traipsing through Europe was complete without the requisite hostel horror story. But while these low-budget, dorm-like spaces were once the only choice for those with limited funds, many of today’s hostels have been reimagined to appeal to a more upscale audience.

Not yesterday’s hostel

The hostel today is probably very different from what many people associate with the name. For instance, a hostel marketplace survey conducted by Phocuswright found that nine out of 10 hostels now have private rooms. The dorm-esque image that has plagued hostels for decades is no longer the norm.

The market for this category is currently valued at around $5.2 billion, and it’s expected to increase 7 to 8 percent year-over-year. Guests choose hostels for their lower cost and convenient locations, of course, but they also site the opportunity to meet fellow travelers as a reason they opted for a hostel. This is probably due to the fact that more than 70 percent of hostel travelers from the U.S. travel alone and are actively seeking to make connections with fellow travelers.

Who loves a hostel?

Millennials are big fans of hostels. They account for more than 70 percent of hostel travelers. This stay option appeals to this demographic for multiple reasons, including that many hostels repurpose unusual property sites, focus on eco-friendly options and use more unusual marketing techniques.

What’s more, the amenities that this group wants can now be found at many hostels. From free WiFi to social events, from bike rentals to onsite food options, the hostels of today are clearly broadening their appeal. Millennials crave the experiential, which is what hostels are all about offering. It’s no wonder that this travel-happy group is so fond of the quirky character that is part and parcel of the world of hostels.

Be Creative with SEO

SEO writing may not lend itself to creativity, but it can. Here's how.

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Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is a pretty big deal these days. Everyone needs it, and everyone wants it, but sometimes you may not be sure how to balance out the need to include it with making your unique content.

Start with keywords.

Before you write any content, do a search with Google’s Keyword Planner. It will help you uncover the terms connected to your topic that garner the most searches.

Use keywords.

Your list of keywords needs to be included in your content to be effective. However, you can’t simply repeat them ad nauseum. Your Google ranking will actually be better if you use more long tail keywords—i.e. three- or four-word phrases connected to your topic.

Solve problems.

Your content and your SEO should be focused on fixing a problem that your audience has. If you write something that your audience finds useful, they will share it. The more they share, the more you get noticed.

Keep it short.

Let’s face it, our attention spans aren’t what they used to be. Your content needs to be short, to the point and, above all, skimmable to catch your audience’s eye.

Add numbers.

Key to organizing content that is easy to skim is including facts and figures. After all, who doesn’t enjoy being able to toss off some bon mot of wisdom to impress people?

Include good images.

Your pictures should reinforce your content visually. And they should have an ALT tag, so they too can be search engine friendly.

Write well.

You are writing for real people to read your content. Be sure that you don’t get so caught up in using keywords that your language becomes unclear or awkward. Think about the language and tone your audience uses.

Long Live Deadlines

5 reasons you should learn to cherish a good deadline.

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Yes, we work in a creative field. And yes, we like all that comes with that creativity—a hip work space, a bit of fun and intellectual stimulation, and friends who think what you do sounds cool and exciting. All of that is true, don’t get us wrong, but it’s still a job, and without deadlines the work doesn’t get done and the bills don’t get paid.

No matter what your field, you have to set some parameters and dates for deliverables. Here are our top five reasons why deadlines are crucial to business success, no matter the industry:

  • Expectations. No deadlines, mean no set expectations. Your client or customer needs to know that they can trust you will deliver on the product or job you have promised them. Set a deadline, get the work done on time and you will earn their goodwill, and hopefully more work in the future.
  •  Value. Time is money. Miss a deadline, and the project’s whole schedule gets pushed back. For Ethos, that could mean a missed print date, a conference that doesn’t have appropriate graphics or signage at the start, or many other issues. Everyone has a lot on their plate at work, missing a deadline gives the impression that you think your coworker’s or client’s time isn’t as valuable as yours.
  • Synchronization. Few projects are run with only one person working on them. At Ethos, most work involves an editor writing and proofing the words, while an art director creates the layout those words go in. If you miss a deadline, the person you are working with can’t do their job. Then it’s confusion, next stop anarchy. Well, maybe not anarchy, but you see what we mean.
  • Progress. Want to know where a project stands? Deadlines can help with that. Sure, you may have to shift things along the way—it is ok to change a deadline if something comes up—but without a deadline, you may not realize that your project has hit a snag.
  • Conversation. Finally, a deadline helps foster collaboration and conversation between the people involved on the project. You have to talk to each other to kick things off and to ensure that everything is progressing as it should.

Read to Succeed

Want to be one of the greats in your field? Keep reading and learning.

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Too many people think that when they are done with school they are done with learning. The reality is the most successful people in the world continue improving their brains every day, from presidents to business leaders to inventors. They know that the secret to staying at the top of their game means keeping their brains in good working order. And work alone doesn’t cut it. In fact, reading to learn is the key.

But, hey, you may say, I’ve got a life. I don’t have time for reading. You have to make time, using something nifty called the 5-hour rule. Simply put, you have to commit to spending one hour each work day on learning something. It can’t be actual day-to-day work, it has to be something that furthers your development. Think of it as gym for your mind.

Let’s break it down.

  • Reading — The chief way you should be spending your 5-hour rule time is cracking the books (and, yes, audio books work). The main thing is to read books for self-improvement. In fact, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals, Thomas Corley, found during his research that 88 percent of the rich and successful read for self-improvement every day.
  • Reflection — Another vital component of the 5-hour rule is taking time to process the information you gleaned from your reading time. In other words, this isn’t a race to see who can cram in the most books per week or month. Be sure to invest some of your time in thinking through what you have read and figuring out how you can use it in your life and work.

  • Experimentation — Which brings us to the third stage of the 5-hour rule, putting what you have read and thought about into action. You have to approach this scientifically by testing out ideas, even the ones that seem truly "out there". Innovation doesn’t happen without some trial and error.