Finding a hostel that suits you requires a lot of research. You will probably start off by using websites such as iBilik, iProperty, and PropertyGuru. While there may be many rooms available in the market, not all of them are catered to students. In addition, students often face challenges such as dodgy middlemen and the hassle of securing a room. Does, “Must pay deposit! First come first serve!” Sounds familiar?
Wen Khai, Marcus Low and Joey Lim, who graduated from universities just a few years ago, have had similar experiences. Currently, the three of them are working as hostel operators in the Klang Valley, Malaysia. The condominium units that they manage is situated in Bandar Sunway. Joey said that being a hostel operator is not an easy job. “We were faced with poor options to promote our properties,” Joey told Vulcan Post, “as well as the hassle of managing viewings and bookings when the prospects started coming in.”
Finding a solution to these little hiccups marked the beginning of their entrepreneurial idea. They got in touch with Loke, the founder of Loki Media, a creative media agency in KL. After a few weeks of brainstorming, they founded Hostel Hunting.
“Hostel Hunting took us eight months from conceptualization to our launch earlier in December,” said Joey. The main feature of Hostel Hunting is to help students find the right place for themselves. Joey hopes that this platform can change the way operators and students are matched in a fragmented and opaque industry. “What we had to do as a team was to develop a solid game plan from development to launch as well as what we will be doing for the next few years,” said Joey.
Although the website has already been launched, Hostel Hunting is constantly working on improving their system and rolling out new features to provide a better browsing experience.
To date, Hostel Hunting is the only room rental website that is focused on student accommodation. Joey told Vulcan Post, “Our features are built specifically to help students find the right place for themselves. We ensure that the landlords provide all the necessary information for them to make their decisions, from photos and location to amenities and house rules.”
As you can see from the website, students are able to search for rooms and units. Each listing comes with photographs and descriptions of the unit. With Hostel Hunting, students do not need to worry that their rooms will be taken away by other potential tenants. “Our system actually allows students to book and secure their accommodation by placing a small deposit. We will then hold the landlords and hostel operators accountable if the rooms do not match the listings. So if there are any discrepancies, the students are actually refunded in full,” Joey emphasized.
With Hostel Hunting, students, particularly students coming to study from overseas, do not have to worry about not being able to view the property and make decision on the unit beforehand. Hostel Hunting also promises to solve any trust and safety issues.To ensure that the owners of the accommodation are credible and reliable, Hostel Hunting allows students to rate owners and properties that they have previously booked. “This will ensure the market will regulate itself, as good quality owners and listings will benefit from positive reviews,” said Joey.
In addition, students need not worry about bad listings because they are allowed to seek redress if the property does not match its listing online. “Operators that do not comply with the rules of Hostel Hunting will ultimately be removed from our system,” Joey told Vulcan Post. Their mission is to create a safe and secure environment for students and a transparent and hassle-free platform for the landlords. The co-founder also stated that they are always making sure of the quality of their listings by working closely with reputable owners and operators when they launch a new area.
Up till today, Joey said that they have not faced a particular obstacle they couldn’t handle. “We have a great team with amazing synergy. We had a clear vision of what we wanted to do. I think the biggest challenge is actually figuring out what to do first!”
The website lists available rooms and units for rent near local colleges and universities such as the popular student areas in Selangor, such as Bandar Sunway, SS15 Subang Jaya and UEP, Subang Jaya. “We will be working on Cyberjaya, Kampar, Petaling Jaya and more. By the end of 2015, we will have listings throughout Malaysia,” Joey shared. At the same time, the website is useful for working professionals as well since Hostel Hunting allows anyone to sign up and book as long as they are genuine tenants.
With Hostel Hunting, looking for a safe and secure place to stay will now be a hassle-free experience for students.
I sure wish that this service existed when I was a student.