Meet the delegate: Douglas Bell from Epic Hostels

Fri 2nd February 2018, 10:20 am

Douglas Bell, managing director of Epic Hostels, is attending Sitematch London on 8 February just to network. He spoke with us about his company's aim to deliver hostels with a difference and why he is attending the event.

Can you say something about Epic Hostels and your role in the company?

Epic Hostels is creating new build premium-economy accommodation for international visitors. It's a step-change in hostel quality, fit for the 21st century. London has a critical shortage of this class of accommodation; attracting over 17 million international visitors per year, but a choked hostel supply, and legacy standards are holding the city back. Did you know that 25% of global travel is by 18-26 year olds? With an average budget of £2,400 per trip? The market is changing rapidly.

I am founder and managing director; a third generation hotelier, with global hostel experience. We have developed a new class of international hostel product, and recruited a first class design and build team to deliver it. Our customer focus is international visitors in their mid-20s to mid-30s; young professionals on city breaks and extended trips. Geographically, we're most interested in regenerative neighbourhoods, in Hackney, in Southwark, in Tower Hamlets, right across inner London. Anywhere with great transport links is of interest. Our goal is to create special new environments, with open food and beverage amenity for visitors and locals to mix socially.

Why are you attending the event?

Sitematch London is an opportunity to showcase our innovative pop-up hostel design, which can transform an idle site as a meanwhile use. While looking for permanent sites, building a premium 'pop-up hostel' is a stepping-stone for the business; a showcase opportunity.

There are lots of land-banked and undeveloped sites that could be transformed for up to five years, generating income for the landlord, securing the site, and creating dozens of new jobs. The feedback we've had on the design is phenomenal. We're hoping the Sitematch London event will lead to a site opportunity, with a local authority or developer, and a win for all involved.

What distinguishes Epic Hostels from other operators?

Attitude. Hostels should be as bold and adventurous as the people that use them. Our ambitions are global. We're going to build a great British hostel brand for export, with a hard reset on standards.

If you’d like to attend Sitematch London on 8 February 2018, contact Josie Brewer on 020 7978 6840.


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