If you’ve ever travelled alone and on a budget, you probably know how much of a pain it can be to find the right hostel – and to meet other solo travelers and backpackers from around the world. Staying in hostels gives you the opportunity to meet other travelers, but it’s difficult to make out how your experience will be – and existing hostel booking websites give little opportunity for comparing hostels or looking at their location. Hostel Hawk is the fastest way for solo backpackers and travelers to find lively, sociable hostels where it’s easy to meet other backpackers from around the globe. It is a hostel-focused meta search engine which searches over 400,000 properties in 100,000 travel destinations worldwide. Search results can be sorted by price, rating, popularity, or a combination of them all to make finding the best hostels super simple. And best of all, you can see how many other travelers are staying in a hostel, so you’ll always have travel buddies no matter where you go. With Hostel Hawk, you can see how many other travelers are staying somewhere before you book, so you know it’s a popular place. Also, ratings are weighed by the number of reviews, so you don’t have to worry about being tricked by a hostel with a 100% rating but that has only one review. Hostel Hawk finds properties from multiple booking sites, and you can explore travel possibilities in any region on a map.
Matt Francois is the founder of Hostel Hawk, an avid backpacker, digital nomad, and solo travel enthusiast. He is a full-stack web developer who has worked with innovative startups over the last 9 years. He created Hostel Hawk while traveling around Asia solo as a digital nomad. Matt enjoys staying in hostels since they’re great places to meet other travelers, but he grew frustrated by the existing hostel booking sites, since they make it difficult to compare ratings, check hostel locations, and find the right balance of price and quality. Also, he would occasionally book a highly-rated hostel, only to arrive and find that nobody else was staying there. Matt thought the hostel booking process could be stream-lined considerably and he wanted to know how many others were going to be at the next place that he booked, so he developed a site to do just that. After using it for months himself and discovering tons of great hostels, Matt decided to release it to the public so other backpackers and solo travelers can have a better hostel booking experience. For Matt, validating his idea was the most difficult hurdle – after all, friends will tell you they love your idea but then may not actually use your product when you end up creating it. Luckily, Matt had access to many new travelers every day and so he was able to get some honest feedback from them.
With Hostel Hawk, Matt hopes to continue to improve and streamline the hostel booking experience. He thinks that ideally you shouldn’t have to spend more than a few minutes choosing a place to stay. He wants to provide more information on each property, and improve the filtering options. And Matt would also like to highlight public transport options nearby and maybe tourist attractions on the site – but where the site goes from here will depend on the feedback that will come from other travelers. However, Matt doesn’t think that Hostel Hawk will ever be a huge startup, but rather a simple tool that provides real value. The target audience is solo backpackers, travelers, and people who stay in hostels – this includes many young folks from US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Currently, Hostel Hawk is monetized by the affiliate referrals to other websites, thus making it a self sustaining model which doesn’t charge membership or other fees to its users.