In November 2015, Evan Tzeng checked into Song of Travel the first week it opened and met Fiona Aung...

Independent hospitality is impactful hospitality.

In November 2015, Evan Tzeng checked into Song of Travel in Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma) the first week it opened and met Yin "Fiona" Aung, the incredible entrepreneur who opened the first hostel built from the ground-up for backpackers, the first social enterprise hostel, and the fourth hostel in the entire country.

Fiona asked Evan to help her setup Song of Travel, and for the next six months, Evan would experience both the transformational power Song of Travel had in supporting the local community, as well as the many extraordinary challenges Fiona and her staff faced every day.

Fiona and Song of Travel would go on to be named The World's Top 10 Medium Hostels in 2018 and Myanmar's Best Hostel in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Discover why we selected Song of Travel as one of the world's most inspiring, incredible, and impactful places to stay..

Over 50% of the world's hotels are independent.

Evan started meeting with other independent hospitality entrepreneurs throughout Asia, who all shared similar stories. Not only were they all dealing with the same challenges Fiona had, but everyone felt alone in dealing these challenges.

In October 2019, Evan decided to take the plunge full time & launch a community network for independent hospitality entrepreneurs in Thailand to empower & support each other. In January 2020, he moved to Bangkok, two months before the world shut down.

How can a global hospitality community support independents?

At the height of the pandemic, our team united 15 hosts from over a dozen countries for a Global Check-In to discuss shared interests & priorities for a virtual community network for independent hospitality entrepreneurs.

  • Apple, Rai Ruen Rom, Thailand
  • Bheki, Curiocity, South Africa
  • Alvaro & Cynthia, Kuka y Naranjo, Mexico
  • Eric, Star Hostels, Taiwan
  • Fiona, Song of Travel, Myanmar
  • Juan Carlos, Andean Lodges, Peru
  • Katlyn & Paul, The Mushroom Farm Eco-Lodge, Malawi
  • Keren, Kasaba, Portugal
  • Lebo & Maria, Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, South Africa
  • Liz & Jonathan, Losodeli, Mexico
  • Luca, Omhom, Italy
  • Marine, Envoy Hostel, Armenia & Georgia
  • Robin, BUNK Hotels, The Netherlands
  • Saleem & Minwer, Wanderers Hostel, Jordan
  • Saskia, Hotel con Corazon, Mexico

We know independent hosts have the power to uplift local communities. We also know independent hosts face extraordinary challenges.

How can a global community advance equity & sustainability in hospitality?

In 2021, we united eight independent hospitality entrepreneurs at a Mexico Check-In to discuss how a community network could support independent hospitality entrepreneurs as well as local & sustainable economic development.

  • Mau, Agrado Guest House, Oaxaca
  • Angel, BKL Hotel, Oaxaca
  • Eva, Boulenc Bed & Bread, Oaxaca
  • Aurora, Casa de las Bugambilias, Oaxaca
  • Maria, El Diablo y La Sandia, Oaxaca
  • Saskia y Silvana, Hotel con Corazón, Oaxaca

Introducing our vision for community-powered hospitality.

In 2022, we sharpened our value proposition, improved our business model, developed a new rewards plan, and began gaining buy-in from our hosts, partners, and teams. Hosts liked how we were better aligned with their interests. Partners and investors did too.

In May, we were the only startup from the United States, one of two hospitality technology startups, and one of two impact startups selected to join Madeira Startup Retreat, a six-week accelerator hosted by Startup Madeira, Turismo de Portugal, and Nova SBE.

In June, we were one of three startups invited to pitch at Independent Lodging Congress in the pre-seed category.

In 2023, we launched The Altered Community with 47 Altered Hosts of 56 places to StayAltered in 19 countries.

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