We had the good fortune of connecting with Thea Delamater and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Thea, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Hosteling is a way of life because it opens doors to experiences that may have never been without travel. We have to meet the world in order to understand it. By offering budget-friendly accommodations worldwide, hostels have provided travel experiences to all types of travelers. Even more so, hostels are infamous for the community that travelers join when they stay. People from all over the world descend upon a hostel’s common spaces, making new plans for spending their day together. We are encouraged by the number of solo travelers that we host – young adults exploring new places, opening up opportunities, and building new relationships. As hostellers, we adamantly believe in experiential travel. Get lost. Concur new challenges. Learn about new cultures. Travel is the one thing money can buy that makes you richer.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Since the age of 20, I’ve been a manager in guest service with the responsibilities of recruiting/hiring/training entry-level teams, while ensuring a quality product and increasing revenue. My extensive event and hospitality experience includes producing large events, facility management, curating guest moments, and leading indulgent guest service teams. It’s only fitting I found myself in the hostel industry, where all of those details are pivotal to success. For the past 5 years, I’ve operated both a traditional backpackers hostel with a vibrant social scene and a top-rated boutique hostel. As co-chair of the Colorado Hostel Collective, I’ve been privileged enough to work alongside some of the best hostel owners in Colorado. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that collaboration is truly the key to success. Each perspective, set of experiences, or new idea is welcomed. Finding your community propels you closer to success and provides a support system we all need.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We enjoy spending time at Union Station. It’s a gorgeous building with all the amenities you need to host a group of friends. We love sitting on the patio of Next Door and watching the kids and dogs play in the water feature. Next Door has a great menu of snacks, meals, and drinks. It’s a crowd-pleaser. I particularly love the Capitol Hill area and enjoy taking walks through the canopied streets and staring at the gregarious mansions. More so, the neighborhood has all my favorite places to eat and drink: Hudson Hill for morning or evening drinks, City O City for the best food, Kilgore Books for their Zine collection, and of course, Wax Trax! Living in Colorado is such a treat. We are surrounded by gorgeous landscapes, rocky mountains, hiking trails everywhere, and just the easiest access to get outside and enjoy nature. So when my friends travel from Texas to see us, we go camping! We love the Keystone area and have our fave dispersed camping sites around there. Operating a hostel means I get asked a lot “What should I do in Denver?” We always recommend Red Rocks Park, the Denver Art Museum, and touring the Capitol (all for the view from the Rotunda).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Big Shout Out to the Colorado Hostel Collective. As a co-founder and chairperson, I have found rich resources in collaborating with hostel owners across this awesome state. No hostel is the same as the next, but there is solidarity in knowing that we each offer life experiences for people who may not have otherwise thought traveling was within their reach. By offering budget-friendly lodging, and coupling it with vibrant traveler communities, hostels have opened up the state and world to people from all over the world. The collective has joined forces to support each other and experiental travel for all people. Sydney Ilg Malone of 11th Avenue deserves a lot of credit for identifying the need to join forces and building the collective.
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Jillian Lenser (three people cheersing)