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NEWSLETTER MARCH 2011

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HOSTEL SKILLS EXCHANGE - REAPING THE BENEFITS It’s a tough call, saying who gained more here. Was it the founder of umihotels, Steve Lowy, with the cultural and charitable benefits that he received? Or was it Rachel and Simon of Rosy Guesthouse, who received a business tune-up in almost every area of their cosy hostel? Let’s call it a draw, as the ISTC Skills Exchange wrapped up a very successful inaugural effort in Siem Reap, Cambodia earlier in February. Taking the expertise of a larger, more established hostel operator with its head office in London and pairing it with a small, active hostel in a Cambodian village was a great success for both parties. The exchange was put together with the help of STAY WYSE and ISTC (the International Student Travel Confederation). With a number of interested candidates on both sides of the exchange, umihotels and Rosy’s were ultimately chosen. The project, which will take place again with new participants in the near future, has also caught the attention of the larger companies. David Smith COO of HostelBookers, underlines how important hostels can be in the developing world. “Hostels promote travelling and exchange opportunities among students, young people and anyone looking to volunteer and give something back, and as such we fully support this great initiative by STAY WYSE.” In that same spirit of volunteering and giving back, Steve spent ten days in the company of the owners of Rosy’s and the village as a whole, where he managed to make several charitable contributions and really felt the community spirit of the very hospitable locals. As for Rosy’s, they received a wealth of business best practices that include better financial reporting, forecasting, and a seriously revamped website with the help of umi partners 2am media that benefits both the hostel and young travellers who will be making their travel plans from afar. “The experience has been wonderful and I really hope that the work and help done both at the guesthouse, and at the charities, will be fruitful for all parties. From the minute I landed I have been so impressed with the warmth and friendliness of everyone here” – Steve Lowy, umihotels “The suggestions and push in the right direction in the office is invaluable and yet completely logical and something that we are already putting into practice and seeing results from since Steve has left” – Rachel Band, Rosy Guesthouse Instead of a draw, let’s call it a win-win! To participate in a future Hostel Skills Exchange, please contact Laura Daly at l.daly@wysetc.org.

JOIN STAY WYSE AT WYSTC 2011 BARCELONA, SPAIN, 20-23 SEP! Each year, youth, student and educational travel industry professionals gather from around the world at WYSTC to network with fellow decision makers, take advantage of new market opportunities and learn from industry experts. If you want to meet agents, buyers, suppliers and policy makers from around the world, then you can‘t afford to miss the next WYSTC! "The first conference we went to, Wake Up! was not yet opened and we took a huge financial risk. The fact that we attended WYSTC that year gave us so many contacts that within three weeks of opening the hostel, it was 80% full (of 500 beds). I have been the world’s biggest fan of WYSTC ever since." Margaret Millett, Wake Up! Australia

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