From the 3rd to the 11th of October we travelled around Norway together with Emilia from Hostelling International main office, with the purpose of auditing a few of the HI hostels for the HI-Q and HI-Q&S. During our trip we travelled to a total of 8 hostels and got the chance to see these amazing places and hostels, plus we also met the managers and saw that they really believe in the HI mission.
First, just to explain what HI-Q and HI-Q&S are. They are a management and certification system created especialy for the HI hostels network, the Q stands for quality and the S for sustainability. The system was created to help hostels function better and so they can keep record of what is happening in their hostels, what is being done right and what could we improve. Once every 3 years an auditor from the main office comes and audits the hostels that want to receive the certification. The objective of Hosteling International is that in the end, all hostels from the network are at least HI-Q or HI-Q&S certified.
We visited Bergen, Voss, Flåm, Oslo, Sjoa, Høvringen, Lillehammer and Gjøvik. Emilia also went to Kabelvåg, but that one she did alone. The audits were very time consuming, sometimes taking up to 8 hours or more of our day. We have to admit that in the end of those 8 days we were very tired. Even though not all of the hostels got the certificate right away, we could see that they were doing a fine job and that they are all amazing hostels, so we would like to point out some sustainable initiatives that impressed us.
Bergen has a really cool volunteer program, and they are great at interacting and engaging guests in activites such as hikes or a simple talk with cookies and coffee.
Voss is a very activity intense hostel. They have several sports equipment for the guests to rent out, plus the also have a nice garden where they plant a lot of the food that is served in the hostel.
Flåm has the most impecable maintainance and housekeeping we’ve ever seen! They also have bikes for guests to rent and also a big fruit garden which they pick apples and pears and offer them to the guest.
Oslo Rønningen offers several fair trade products in their breakfast, they have a very well organized recycling system plus na awsome game room with suffleboard, pool and foosball table.
Sjoa has a lot of its buildings with a green roof, which helps them to keep the buildings warmer during the winter and avoid using too much electricity for heating. They also have a rafting company and guest can go rafting and canyoning in river Sjoa.
Høvringen offers serveral hiking and skiing (during the winter) options for its guest. They also serve this amazing breakfast which mostly is composed of local products produced by their neighbors.
Lillehammer has a cool partnership with sereval organizations, such as docters without borders or salvation army, in which they allow that organization to decorate the room and part of the income from the room goes to that organization.
Gjøvik is really good to interact with the local community. There are always several events happening at the hostel for people of the community to participate in.
Written by: Renato Albernaz and Yousra Makanse
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