What's the big idea?
Currently, people who travel to Grand Rapids are forced to choose from expensive hotels located downtown, moderately-priced hotels and motels bordering the suburbs, a couple of B&Bs; scattered about, and home-based accommodations like Airbnb (city issues aside) and Couchsurfing. Starting a hostel here would create a space for people to stay downtown without a huge bill, without the worry of unreliable accommodations. Stay Hostel would tackle an unaddressed niche while simultaneously expanding it, attracting even more people to Grand Rapids.
Describe the nearest player in your field.
Downtown hotels including the Amway Grand, JW Marriott, and CityFlatsHotel; B&Bs; including Peaches and Leonard at Logan; home-based accommodations including Airbnb and Couchsurfing.
How are you different from that player?
Stay Hostel will target individuals who want to share their stay with other travelers, not hide away in their rooms all weekend. We will be located downtown with reasonable rates (projected at $30 to $40 per night) and consistent accommodations that can be relied on.
How does this idea scale into a big business?
We want to start small with at least 12 beds, giving us a period of time to minimize risk while honing our business. As the demand for Stay Hostel grows, we will increase our capacity for travelers. In the long run, there is the possibility of establishing a national hostel chain under this brand.
Why are you the one to run with this idea?
Stay Hostel has been in the works for two years now. During that time, we have met with owners from around the Midwest, we have seen media coverage, we have traveled internationally, and we have considered what a hostel in GR would mean over and over and over again.
What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?
We are initiating a crowdfunding campaign on April 15 to create capital for Stay Hostel. This $5,000 award would give us the ability to increase awareness for this campaign through traditional and online advertising. Legal and financial advice would be sought with this money as well.