My son emailed me this week asking for event ideas for an Albanian Youth Hostel. (Who knows where a gap year will take you?)
First thing when you’re planning events is to define the purpose. I’m guessing the hostel wanted him to raise their profile and get more travellers staying more nights. So the events need to tick most of these boxes:
· Encourage lots of social media sharing
· Result in pictures for the hostel FB and website
· Build over a few days so people stay on, but be open for new starters
· Work across language barriers
· Can start with two people but expand to a whole group.
· Help get the shy kids to mingle
· Mix people up to make new friends
· Let people know how much there is to do in the area
· Encourage people to party at the hostel bar
So here they are: 6 ways to entertain travellers in an Albanian hostel:
First, rope in the Albanian barman (not a phrase I’ve ever used before) and come up with Five Phrases you need to get by in Albanian.
Start with a sensible: “Where is the railway station?”
And then everyone suggests a noun:
“the talking underpants?”
“the door to the underworld?”
Depending on who is staying and where people are travelling to next, you could learn the same 5 phrases in other languages.Anyone who can remember them all gets a free beer.
Give people 6 local places of interest. They have to take a selfie in front of each one and give prizes for the first back and the best pictures. You can add a degree of difficulty – eg. a selfie outside a landmark with a wrinkly old person, or with an ice cream on top of a monument, or a picture of a pizza with anchovies. Etc
Scatter old fashioned playground games around, this is a great way to get the shy kids socialising: Twister. Hopscotch (seriously – the girls will get very competitive) http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Hopscotch). A football. Juggling balls. Elastic Twist https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-nyeSgowBo. Knucklebones. Skittles, Quoits.
The best score for each day gets a photo with the hostel trophy – get a very large tin “World Cup” lookalike trophy to ramp the competition up. If someone breaks the hostel record they get a free night.
Get people to write bucket list items on a big blackboard and people put their names by the things they’ve done. Great for travellers – if Machu Picchu is on your list and three people say they’ve been there – result!
For a longer game, write people’s bucket list ideas on yellow stickies and stick them to other people’s backs. People have to guess what’s on their own back by the conversations the stickers prompt: So you’re quite fit? What’s your favourite position? Are the German’s better than the Brazilians? Are you past it at 25?
Could be questions for either a wannabe football pro or an older profession. Works surprisingly well across languages. When you guess what’s on your back, you stick the yellow stickie on the wall and it becomes the list for the first game.
This needs to be quite structured and is very good for a chilled group who will sit and be entertained for an hour – it’s not a party game, probably better for a slightly older crowd of travellers.
Someone shows 20 slides and talks for 20 seconds each slide about their passion. It’s a fantastic way to get to learn about people.Y ou need a projector which can link to a lap top or phone. If it becomes a regular thing and word gets around it will pull people in.
Get a hostel guitar and make the music live.
These are all ice-breaking games that are tried and tested and work pretty well everywhere.
Feedback from Albanian after the break.