Norcal Hostels

How can you make staying in a hostel the hip thing to do?


Norcal Hostels, a network of 8 hostels in Northern California, wanted to do more than just increase occupancy, they wanted to redefine the entire hostel experience. Rather than being thought of as just a cheap place to sleep, Norcal Hostels wanted to represent a lifestyle, a mission, a movement. Our new campaign tagline, For travelers, not tourists speaks to the socially active, urban traveler who craves experiences outside the mainstream. People who want to see a place like a local, who choose neighborhood walks over packaged tours.

To get every hostel on the same page, we created new positioning and messaging that spoke to the brand as a whole but allowed each hostel to express its unique personality. Our campaign acknowledges boldly that hostels aren’t for everyone. Including tourists. And, if you’re one of them, feel free to stay somewhere else.

Strategic Messaging | Voice & Tone
Concept & Copywriting: Brochures | Posters | Advertising
“I came to Imagineering with a complex set of marketing challenges, and I was amazed at Susan and Julie’s ability to deliver an exciting, irreverent strategy that accomplished all of our goals. We had struggled for years to effectively articulate the mission of our hostels and the experience we offer to guests, while trying to position ourselves against our hostel competitors and the wider lodging industry. Imagineering not only helped us reinvent the image we project to the world, they made us see ourselves in a whole new light.”

Molly Mitoma
Marketing + Communications Manager
Hostelling International USA, Golden Gate Council