How to become a hostel owner in Saigon?

If I would start again my hostel experience, I would build the traveler’s community first then start investing into hosting and welcoming guests. Because as soon as you start paying rent, you are pressured to fill the place “at all costs”. Unless you want to buy a piece of land but we look at a million USD (if not more) investment if in Saigon.

  1. Build the brand identity (name, target, design, concept, …)
  2. Define a location and start contacting real estate agents specialized in big properties and BtoB rental contracts. Indeed, they will be able to understand your needs better than small agents and also guide you during the deal.
  3. Renovate if needed: expect 1 to 2 months of lost rent (eventually to negotiate with the landlord).
  4. Make sure you have someone who check everyday the progress of the renovations because workers can easily setup things “their own ways” which might not be suitable with your request/expectations.
  5. Start opening bookings on the different OTA pages (Online Travel Agencies) such as Booking, Expedia, TripAdvisor. Do not forget Google Maps!
  6. Invest right away in a POS / PMS (Point Of Sales, Property Management System)
  7. Start hiring; make sure the staff is a real match with your need to avoid endless training hours and countless mistakes.

That’s how I would do it again…

How I became a hostel owner in Saigon?

After Jump in Vietnam, I invested all my savings and revenues made at that time into building a hostel in Vietnam (Saigon). I wanted to simply own it, not get into any of the operations myself. But to help the business become profitable, I decided to dive in and started to manage the hostel.

Dablend Hostel became number one in Saigon in 2017 and 2018. I share in many articles in this blog and in two podcast episodes how “successful” I was. Dablend Hostel was a 5 star (top rated) hostel in Saigon and all our team was 24/7 on point, ready to satisfy our guests.

But at the same time, I was personally burnt out and miserable. I sacrificed everything for my hostel business, even my own health and relationships. Owning a retail business means you cannot really anticipate how many guests you are going to welcome today. So it’s quite stressful for someone like me who were looking for a stable income.

Nicolas Thanh DaBlend Hostel Owner in Saigon

In the end, this experience was full of life lessons and if you met me during my “hostel” years, you probably will meet another person today. Being a retail owner in the F&B and Hospitality industry in Vietnam has taught me a lot. It still helps me everyday up until now.

I actually wrote an article called “4 lessons learned as a hostel owner” where I give more details about my full experience.