Stay Hostel

The first hostel in Grand Rapids will fulfill a niche of travel that is currently unaddressed.

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.

There have been 4 replies to this page

  1. James Tock

    Having stayed in hostels in New York and the UK, I can say they gave me the ability to stay longer and allowed me spend money in other areas throughout a city. With the recognition Grand Rapids is garnering as a travel destination, and year round events and festivals, I could see this filling a large need. Especially with the unsure future of the illegal Airbnb industry(inserts tongue to cheek).

  2. Gerree Natalee Serrels Clark

    I’ve stayed in hostels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. They are not dangerous places as portrayed in movies. They are often very beautiful, artsy, comfortable, and affordable. They have allowed my husband and I to spend days or weeks in a city, when we could never have afforded to do this in a hotel. We could spend 7 nights in San Jose, Costa Rica for the same price it would have been to stay just one or two days in a resort.  Overall, we were able to spend 5 weeks abroad, while our peers are spending one week and draining their bank account at the same time.
    Hostels bring people from all over the world. and people want to see Grand Rapids. It truly is a special place, and a hostel will bring added culture that is unique. This is something that Grand Rapids NEEDS. And after one, I don’t doubt more will follow.

  3. Matt Knaack


    We really appreciate the truth you two have spoken. For people who are willing to share their personal space with like-minded people, staying at a hostel is a no-brainer. It’s inexpensive, it’s more fulfilling, and it’s an area that Grand Rapids is obviously lacking in—thanks for the support everyone!

  4. Christina Marie Dirmeikis

    This hostel idea is great for GR. I have traveled internationally and stayed at a hostel in Malaga, Spain. It was the best experience I had. I could definitely see Stay Hostel in Grand Rapids. The city has so much to offer travelers, from ArtPrize,various restaurants, music festivals, baseball games, museums and so much more. I agree that hostels do bring people from all over and I feel like this Stay Hostel is a great idea for GR.

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