This week our Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel celebrated it's 10th anniversary, how time flies when you're having fun! Hamish MacBear popped along to join in the celebrations with the youth hostel staff and of course dig in to some of that delicious cake.
Amidst the party, balloons and cake, we caught up with Janet, the youth hostel manager to find out more about her experiences as manager, her memories of the past four years and why she loves working in Edinburgh.
Janet, Edinburgh Central Manager
Q: Can you tell us about your experiences as a manager of a city youth hostel?
A: I have been the Edinburgh Central General Manager for just over four years. I have to juggle my time between front and back end of the business on a daily basis. No day is exactly the same, that’s the beauty of hostel life!
Routine is also needed to ensure that hostel runs smoothly. However guests always come first, you’ve really got to be dedicated in providing great service and creating magic moments. In turn it provides the best hostel experience possible for our guests. This is a significant part of hostel life. We also must ensure we stay true to SYHA our Customer Charter: ‘People at the Heart of SYHA’.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience as manager of Edinburgh Youth Hostel so far?
A: The best part of my job is watching people who join the SYHA network develop and grow. Some of my team joined SYHA at the same time as me. I am privileged to have assisted them to step up into other roles either within the network or within our own hostel. The other memorable experiences have to be, receiving an award from TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and welcomed into the Hall of Fame and attaining our 5 Star rating from VisitScotland.
Q: How has Edinburgh Central grown and changed over the past decade?
A: Our business has evolved over the last 10 years and the demands of our guests have also changed. Hostels are now for any age group and a perfect option for those who want to stretch their budget and explore more. When opening, our main target hostellers were backpackers looking for shared dorm accommodation. Today our main core business is room sales, savvy guests are now looking at ways of stretching their budget within a safe and friendly hostel environment.
From a social aspect we also wanted to ensure we become a part of our local community. Four years ago we created a soft play area, one of our team members – an artist undertook to role of designing a children friendly play room. Since opening we have seen an increase in locals drop in for a meal and drink. This in turn has turned our hostel into a family friendly environment which has had a spinoff of increased family bookings.
Q: Can you tell us about when the Youth Hostel first opened?
A: When this formerly unloved office blocked reopened as a gleaming, five-star youth hostel in 2006, it caused quite a stir within the hospitality sector of Edinburgh. It was bold and innovative with each room en-suited! Since then our guests have become more travel savvy, demanding extra frills from our hostel, but at the same time want hotel comfort at hostel prices. Now firmly established, with a much wider customer base than many of its rivals, has helped maintain Edinburgh Central's reputation as one of the best-value hostel accommodation options in the city.
Q: What is unique about Edinburgh?
A: Edinburgh is a great year-round destination with a host of amazing things to do! It’s known as a year round festival city; bringing a unique energy to the capital as the entire city is brought alive with street theatre, international artists, live music and inspiring exhibitions especially during August’s Fringe and Tattoo Festival.
Edinburgh is a city of great contrast between the old and the new. From the stunning Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile down to Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament at the bottom, the entire area is a World Heritage Site. The new is where Edinburgh's very popular shopping district can be found. It is a city of wonderful people and fabulous dining, especially dining with the locals at Leith or the shore. All of which makes for a great tourist experience.
Q: Any tips on how hostellers can make the most of their trip and stay in a Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel?
A: My top tip to any traveller thinking of visiting Edinburgh is to pre plan and do some research prior to their holiday. Edinburgh, though not large in size has many wonderful sites to visit, therefore often guests leave disappointed, saying that they have not been able to see as many attractions or historic sites as they would have liked.
Biography for SYHA Hostelling Scotland
Scotland's best known network of youth hostels in stunning city & rural locations. Go on a #SYHAdventure! As a not-for-profit organisation, we encourage guests to join SYHA Hostelling Scotland. Members enjoy a range of exclusive benefits including dual membership of Hostelling International, providing access to more than 4,000 youth hostels in over 90 countries worldwide. Membership and guest overnight income supports our charitable youth programmes and the maintenance of the hostelling network, particularly in rural Scotland.