Zostel’s zest for growth - how the startup revived in the Covid age

In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch powered by HSBC, Deep Banka, COO of Zostel, spoke about how the company identified opportunities amid the pandemic challenges, and discussed its plans to scale and expand significantly in the future.
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Hospitality chain Zostel is gearing up for the post-covid age. According to Deep Banka, COO of Zostel, the chain of backpackers' hostels presently has 62 active properties spread across 46 destinations in India and Nepal, and plans to expand to about 250 destinations in India over the next couple of years.

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The startup has managed to recover from losses during the lockdowns largely due to its focus on leisure tourism. In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch powered by HSBC, Deep talks about apprehensions surrounding the concept of hostels during the pandemic, and says in addition to maintaining strict covid related protocols in dormitories and common areas, the company also implemented many innovative ideas to address the concerns.

Zostel resorted to converting hostel rooms into long-stay rooms after the pandemic. With the advent of work from home, many urban dwellers who desired a break from routine and an escape from crowded surroundings found the perfect solution in long-stay rooms in holiday destinations. Dorms were also being leased out as group rooms for people travelling together, Deep says. 

On investors, Deep says the startup wants to maintain its organic growth through community efforts and mobilisation like they have done since Day1. 

“We’ve started with this experiment in Uttarakhand, and we want to take it to every nook and corner of the country,” he says.

Speaking about growth mechanisms, he says engaging with local communities to understand their locality better, and bring the best of properties to customers, may prove to be one of the most important growth levers for Zostel. 

Edited by Anju Narayanan

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