Spotlight on Klára Vostiňáková, Wombat’s The City Hostels

Tell us a bit about your role and how it supports the business?

I lead a wonderful team which is responsible for all aspects of online and offline sales of our inventory – pricing and promotions, distribution, processing of bookings and pre-arrival customer care for our 5 hostels in London, Munich, Vienna and Budapest.

What has been your career highlight to date?

The new start here at Wombat’s was definitely my career highlight in every possible way.

I moved to Austria to join the company last autumn, during the pandemic peak. Building a new team throughout furlough and from home office was another nut to crack but I am extremely lucky to have fantastic team on board. We managed to stay motivated even during the really long winter when our hostels were closed. Here we are now – equipped better than before and ready to face further challenges which may the market serve us.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Do not be afraid to ask for help.

If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?

I find IT captivating. I was one step from starting to work as a product manager, but the destiny had other plans after all. However, I can see lots of similarities with it in my current job and enjoy it a lot.

What are the emerging trends within your sector and have these changed since Covid-19?

We have been seeing the urge for more flexibility and spontaneity in the decision making and booking process already before the pandemic. It, however, only pushed it into a completely different level. Such behaviour, typical for FITs, is now visible even in the group segment, too. We need to adapt our forecasts, processes, conditions, and services to fulfil these needs.

What is coming up for your company in the next 12/18 months?

We are opening our 5th hostel this September which has been occupying us in the last few months.

Other than that, we are still dealing with the always-changing conditions which are not created naturally on the market but in the offices of the authorities. We need to be flexible, don’t rely only on the past good experiences and principles and secure the best customer experience and decent revenue without losing our standards. Furthermore, we will continue expanding our new exciting F&B concept to all our hostels and will implement digitalisation and personalisation improvements to make the customer journey attractive and up-to-date.

As an association what one thing do you think we have done that has made a real difference to our members during the crisis?

BETA has been a reliable source of proven information during the last couple of months. It helped us creating guidelines for our further business steps.

What are your crystal ball forecasts for the period ahead and how quickly do you think your business can recover from the pandemic?

I have this typical Czech-Austrian attitude of non-stop complaining about life which is perfect. The pandemic only highlighted it and I learn to appreciate all the little things, which I earlier took for granted. Humbleness is the key.

What would you say our biggest challenges and opportunities are as an industry currently?

The biggest challenge is that despite having a terrific service and product in place loved by our guests and employees, we are dependant on other conditions that market itself. Furthermore, we can already see the shift of employees, especially in the operations. There are many pros of working in the hospitality, especially in hostels. They attract a certain type of an employee which again help make hostels become what they are and why are they so loved. However, the struggle with perception of insecurity is real.

Not to highlight only the challenges – the forced break enabled many companies to stop and breathe out, reconsider their strategy and implementation of many projects which can only hardly be combined with full operations.  Shall it be new software enabling increasing effectiveness and customer satisfaction or “hardware” updates.

Find out more about BETA Member Wombat’s The City Hostel here

Published 04 October 2021