One World Backpackers Hostel

How do you make a backpacker's hostel hip and cool enough to stand out in the overcrowded budget accommodation industry (that has more competitors than a dog has fleas)? Maybe you could market it as eco-responsible 'digs'. For example, you could restore a heritage house, give it solar powered/gas boosted hot water, AAA rated showerheads and toilets, while landscaping the garden with native plants and an slow feed 'drip' irrigation system. You'd insulate the roof against heat loss/gain and combine this with awnings on sun exposed windows to limit heat ingress in summer.Possibly the renovation would use recycled materials for construction, with the timber floors receiving water-based rather than solvent-based sealants. If you wanted to go even further, you might install energy efficient lighting and provide 'fibre technology' cleaning cloths that eschewed chemical use. If chemicals were required you'd ensure they were free of phosphates and biodegradable. You'd make recycling so easy that travellers could do it for paper, plastic and metals right there in the kitchen. You'd talk to the local organic "city farm" about taking your food scraps and green waste. And because you were a responsible corporate citizen you'd want journeying types with disabilities to feel at home here too. So you'd install wheelchair ramps and add touches like special access toilets and showers and a low slung reception counter.

Of course, if you were the brother and sister team of Daniel and Jessica Colgan, you'd have already done all of this. And you'd also be out there, networking with other like-minded accommodation, so your guests could limit their impact in other locations. Because even if travellers write in your comments book that yours is the best hostel they've stayed in during their entire trip in your country, there are other plenty places besides Perth, Western Australia, that should offer low impact beds. ::One World Backpackers [by WM]

See also our stories on :Green Hotels and the Green Lodging Program