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  1. #1

    Default Is the hiker hostel market saturated in Damascus Va

    I'm looking at a B&B that's for sale in the town of Damascus Va is that area over saturated with hiker hostels do you folks think? If so where is there an area that is lacking services for hikers that would be a good place to open a hiker hostel?
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    Registered User eagleJ's Avatar
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    Atkins Va. I heard they are not going to reopen HappyHikerHostel

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    Registered User Donde's Avatar
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    IMHO Damascus could absolutely use a well run for profit hostel. Could be successful between the AT and the creeper trail. I for one will be looking hard for a economical alternative to The Place. Nothing against the folks trying to do a kindness there but the Place sucks. When I stayed there it was trashed by a combo of thrus and boy scouts, we had cops dropping by in the night looking for drunks/dope ( I imagine most nights they didn't have a hard time finding it either).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donde View Post
    IMHO Damascus could absolutely use a well run for profit hostel. Could be successful between the AT and the creeper trail. I for one will be looking hard for a economical alternative to The Place. Nothing against the folks trying to do a kindness there but the Place sucks. When I stayed there it was trashed by a combo of thrus and boy scouts, we had cops dropping by in the night looking for drunks/dope ( I imagine most nights they didn't have a hard time finding it either).
    The Hikers Inn in Damascus is a very well run hostel. $25 per night bunk or $35 private room and the hostel is spotless. Lee and Paul are very nice. $5 for laundry while roaming around town was worth not wasting two hours at a laundromat. It cost me $10 not counting laundry more then I would have donated at the Place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donde View Post
    IMHO Damascus could absolutely use a well run for profit hostel. Could be successful between the AT and the creeper trail. I for one will be looking hard for a economical alternative to The Place. Nothing against the folks trying to do a kindness there but the Place sucks. When I stayed there it was trashed by a combo of thrus and boy scouts, we had cops dropping by in the night looking for drunks/dope ( I imagine most nights they didn't have a hard time finding it either).
    I guess it just depends on when. I was there Oct. 1st this year and it was empty and very clean.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donde View Post
    IMHO Damascus could absolutely use a well run for profit hostel. Could be successful between the AT and the creeper trail. I for one will be looking hard for a economical alternative to The Place. Nothing against the folks trying to do a kindness there but the Place sucks. When I stayed there it was trashed by a combo of thrus and boy scouts, we had cops dropping by in the night looking for drunks/dope ( I imagine most nights they didn't have a hard time finding it either).
    i agree. Damascus needs a real hostel with onsite owners/caretakers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailTrekr View Post
    I'm looking at a B&B that's for sale in the town of Damascus Va is that area over saturated with hiker hostels do you folks think? If so where is there an area that is lacking services for hikers that would be a good place to open a hiker hostel?
    Damascus is in real need of a hiker hostel. there are 2 with virtually no services. just bunks and a shower. the Hikers Inn only has 4 bunks and a double bed. you could make pretty good money with a good hostel. a kennel for dogs with be a big plus

  8. #8

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    I was wondering if you were going to give us ur opinion on this, LW... good to know!

  9. #9

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    LW are there any number of bed/room restrictions to a for profit hostel in VA before you esentially become a hotel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rasty View Post
    LW are there any number of bed/room restrictions to a for profit hostel in VA before you esentially become a hotel?
    i have no idea

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    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    I could think of a few places where you would be the only hostel in town. Pearisburg, VA could benefit from a hostel...the only competition is the higher priced hotels. Front Royal, and Waynesboro are two other places that come to mind as well.

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    If you are in the hiking community it's easy to think there are 1000's of people wanting a facility like that.
    However if you want to make money as a business you need to look more objectively.

    At most about 3000 people start at Springer or Katahdin on a thru hike.
    Probably not more than 2000 will ever reach Damascus each year. (I'm being generous with that figure.)
    You are unlikely to get more than half of the total. Damascus is noted everywhere for being friendly and welcoming. You would have competition.
    Yes there are lots of day and section hikers but mostly they start and finish in a town and don't necessarily stay at hostels.

    Many hikers are "tight" and won't spend a lot of money.
    Hiking season is fairly short. You and your hostel are there 12 months of the year.

    In short if you want to have a profitable business you need to attract a non hiking market as well.
    You may make great money during Trail Days but November to March would be pretty lean for someone relying on hikers for an income.
    If you don't need the income then there is potential for a great supplement to your income.

    I think I've read that Damascus is on a biking trail as well but this would not be enough I would think.

    As a hiker I would welcome more choices but I think it would be remiss of us here to encourage false hope in the profitability of a hostel.

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    just a little loopy jerseydave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OzJacko View Post
    If you are in the hiking community it's easy to think there are 1000's of people wanting a facility like that.
    However if you want to make money as a business you need to look more objectively.

    At most about 3000 people start at Springer or Katahdin on a thru hike.
    Probably not more than 2000 will ever reach Damascus each year. (I'm being generous with that figure.)
    You are unlikely to get more than half of the total. Damascus is noted everywhere for being friendly and welcoming. You would have competition.
    Yes there are lots of day and section hikers but mostly they start and finish in a town and don't necessarily stay at hostels.

    Many hikers are "tight" and won't spend a lot of money.
    Hiking season is fairly short. You and your hostel are there 12 months of the year.

    In short if you want to have a profitable business you need to attract a non hiking market as well.
    You may make great money during Trail Days but November to March would be pretty lean for someone relying on hikers for an income.
    If you don't need the income then there is potential for a great supplement to your income.

    I think I've read that Damascus is on a biking trail as well but this would not be enough I would think.

    As a hiker I would welcome more choices but I think it would be remiss of us here to encourage false hope in the profitability of a hostel.

    I had considered looking at a piece of land just outside of Damascus earlier this year with the intent of possibly opening a campground/hostel.

    I allowed the common sense thought process of the above statement deter me.
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  14. #14

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    I don't know much about the business side of the hospitality business so please accept this as a genuine question.

    If you set up a hostel, which I gather is intended as a low cost/minimal service lodging, how do you keep out the riff raff? Personally, the reason I stay in hotels that might cost a little more is to avoid riff raff. Can one legally discriminate against tenants? Can an owner limit length of stay? What prevents the hostel from becoming a dumping ground for low lifes?

    EDIT: I'll add that I've stayed in hostels and road hosues in while traveling in Alaksa. Some were better than others. Some were not places one would likely stay if one had a family.
    Last edited by perrymk; 12-10-2012 at 07:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    I don't know much about the business side of the hospitality business so please accept this as a genuine question.

    If you set up a hostel, which I gather is intended as a low cost/minimal service lodging, how do you keep out the riff raff? Personally, the reason I stay in hotels that might cost a little more is to avoid riff raff. Can one legally discriminate against tenants? Can an owner limit length of stay? What prevents the hostel from becoming a dumping ground for low lifes?
    Don't know about the USA, I'll let others say, but generally the only way that "works" easily is a time limit on stay.
    Having said that, "riffraff" can be the most entertaining part of your hike.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post
    I don't know much about the business side of the hospitality business so please accept this as a genuine question.

    If you set up a hostel, which I gather is intended as a low cost/minimal service lodging, how do you keep out the riff raff? Personally, the reason I stay in hotels that might cost a little more is to avoid riff raff. Can one legally discriminate against tenants? Can an owner limit length of stay? What prevents the hostel from becoming a dumping ground for low lifes?

    EDIT: I'll add that I've stayed in hostels and road hosues in while traveling in Alaksa. Some were better than others. Some were not places one would likely stay if one had a family.
    Maybe if you don't allow alcohol it would cut down on the riff raff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by perrymk View Post

    If you set up a hostel, which I gather is intended as a low cost/minimal service lodging, how do you keep out the riff raff? Personally, the reason I stay in hotels that might cost a little more is to avoid riff raff. Can one legally discriminate against tenants? Can an owner limit length of stay? What prevents the hostel from becoming a dumping ground for low lifes?
    prohibit alcohol and smoking and charge $20+. the riff raff will end up at "The Place" for $6 per night and be heavily monitored by myself, TOW and the police

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    Quote Originally Posted by OzJacko View Post
    Having said that, "riffraff" can be the most entertaining part of your hike.
    really? have you thru-hiked?

  19. #19

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    The problem with trying to keep out the 'rift raff' is you never really know who the 'rift raff' are until they are at your place, messing it up. If you're going to serve the hiker community, then we all look pretty rift raffity all the time, especially after a long days hike to get there. Don't have an answer for you, I to tend to avoid hostels because of the noise that usually goes on into the wee hours of the night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    really? have you thru-hiked?
    Not yet on the AT (under 100 days to go) but have a lot of experience with riffraff.
    I didn't say "enjoyable" and I did say "can be".
    One of the most important things with riffraff is to outnumber them. If you don't it is definitely trouble.
    Alcohol ban and time limit on stay together with being not the cheapest should be enough.

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