When did you open La Chimba and what inspired you to do so?
La Chimba was opened in the summer of 2005. After arriving home from a year-long backpacking trip, I wanted to keep the travel buzz going so instead of finding a job, I opened a hostel. I guess the inspiration came from a love of travel and backpacking culture.
What do you love most about La Chimba?
La Chimba started very small and without much planning or pretense. Everything from the furniture layout, the décor, the events, the drinks, and even the house rules were pretty much all decided or shaped by our guests over the past 15 years. It really is a hostel for backpackers by backpackers and you can feel it.
What has been the most rewarding part of opening La Chimba?
It’s always rewarding to realize we are contributing to our guests’ travel experience by providing a place to chill, gather information, explore the city, meet people, party and sleep that exceeds their expectations. Over the years we’ve won a number of awards, including Hostelworld’s Hoscar award for best hostel in Latin America and 3rd best worldwide thanks to our guests’ reviews. Getting good feedback from what you do always feels good.
How has Tab helped La Chimba?
We really like Tab’s dashboard where managing transactions, issuing refunds, and seeing reports is very clear. We would get lost tracking transactions with our previous system. Tab is hostel-owner friendly, it literally paints a picture of each transaction.
What is your favourite feature that Tab offers? Why?
Tab has lots of great features but my favourite is that the payouts in local currency (CLP) for USD transactions are done with pure exchange rates. This definitely helps offset the cost of the service because you don’t lose money to bank exchange rates.
Why would you recommend Tab to another business?
For all the reasons I mentioned earlier. It’s also a reliable partner, payouts are like clockwork. We’ve never had any issues, I’ve only contacted support a few times to reset my password.
Why is Santiago a great place to visit?
Santiago is considered the safest city for foreign tourists and also the cleanest metropolis in Latin America. Being the capital, it’s also the starting point for any travel through Chile. We're a city of 7 million so there’s a lot going on all the time, you will find great restaurants, nightlife, concerts, markets and events. We are just an hour away from the beach and 45 minutes from world-class ski resorts. You can also drink excellent wines for close to nothing.
What would your advice be for anyone thinking about starting their own hostel business?
Love your guests and the rest will follow.