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Hostels in Tbilisi: hospitality with taste of fight

The bed creaked and shacked each time American guy on first “floor” turned round. He was snoring while sleeping and this snore mixed with 8-10 other snores, breaths and mutterings. It was the night in hostel, where in one big room 12 foreigners were sleeping on the two-tiered beds... In morning all they line up to the common WC and after – make coffee and breakfast in common kitchen. Here you don't feel lonely, even if travel alone. You have bed, roof over your head and “illusion of family” for quite cheap price.

 Hostels are very popular place of residence among the tourists coming to Tbilisi. Groups of friends, families, couples and lonely travelers choose them because of cheap price and opportunity to have company in a strange country.

“I always stay in hostels while traveling”, - 28-year-old Angelina from Russia says, “It's cheaper and more funny than hotels. Once I spent 2 weeks in hostel in Tbilisi and it was just wonderful – very nice people and cozy atmosphere. I didn't want to return home”.

Although some people don't like at all an idea to use common bathroom and toilet. 25-year-old Gurban from Azerbaijan is one of them:

“I'm too squeamish to use bathroom where fifteen people were before me... I will rather overpay 10 Euros and find small hotel or guesthouse. I also enjoy privacy... So, hostels are not for me. I don't understand people who stay there”.

But even abundance of tourists doesn't save hostels from competitors. They “fight” for each customer. For now there are more than 60 hostels in Tbilisi registered on Booking.com – international resource for touristic reservation. Each tourist can leave impressions about the hostel and rate the cleanness, service etc. Depending on it hostels get rated (till 10). It's very important for hostel owners to get maximally high rating on the site. So, each mark matters a lot.

“Of course, we try to do all our best to make our guest satisfied. But it's impossible to take everything in account”, - Teona Chkhartishvili, hostel owner says, - “Sometimes guests are dissatisfied with some small detail. They forget that it isn't five-star hotel. And sometimes they just don't care. For example, once guest gave us very bad mark for service. We were in panic, I wrote this woman a big letter to learn what was the problem. She said she gave this mark just accidentally. For her it was not more than formality. But this “accident” has ruined all our rating which we earned for months.”

The owner of another hostel Irina Krasnova says that one of their guests didn't like there wasn't aroma candle in a room. Krasova thinks owners’s and administrator’s attitude plays the main role. “We always communicate much with our guests, tell them of Tbilisi, give advices, make them professional photos. And we also let them speak of themselves. We show that we are interested in them as in persons”, - Krasnova says.

Rauf Novruzov is the owner of the first hostel in Tbilisi - TBILISI HOSTEL opened in 2010. He says his main aim wasn't just to earn money, but to show foreigners all beauty of Georgia. He thinks that some of his colleagues act not ethical.

“Some hostel owners do all to get as many customers as possible. Even if they must “steal” them. Some hostels have an agreement with taxi drivers. So, the drivers carry tourists in these hostels, even if they wanted to go to another one... In fact, they steal another's customers and deceive tourists in same time. I've heard a lot of complaints of foreigners who had booked some hostel but taxi driver took them in another one, which was much worse. I would never let myself act so”, - Novruzov tells.

“Why should I care of the rating of hostels and the calmness of their owners?” - Nevena from Serbia is puzzled, - “if I pay them money, it's their obligation to give me nice service. I'm not their guest - I'm a customer. And if Wifi works bad, administrator's face turns gloomy and there are a lot of dirty dishes in the kitchen – in this case I have a right to express my discontent, don't I?”

Yes, actually the phrase “nothing personal, just business” can be applicable to the hostels... But still both owners and guests wish and try to be as friendly with each other and enjoy the time they spend together. In summer evening on the terrace of hostel they drink Georgian wine, play cards and discuss geopolitics and the last seasons of “Game of Thrones”. Laugh, dusk, clinking of glasses. Who knows which mark each of them will leave.  

 

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