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Hospitality Insights

Generation Hostel

20 November 2014


Hostels have traditionally been the staging post for young travellers to meet each other and explore the furthest corners of the globe! The noble hostel has given weary travellers a cheap, bustling, vibrant alternative to the traditional hotel, and made previously unaffordable exotic locations a budget flight, and a bunk bed away. And for a long time this perceived image of row upon row of bunk beds, stacked up in sweaty poorly air-conditioned rooms has served as the bench mark by which the customer judges a hostel stay. However with a small scratch beneath the surface, I was blown away to see that not only have the hostels morphed but as have the clientèle.

The hostel world has come and incredibly long way from its humble roots.I was recently at the Hostel show and was amazed at what I was greeted with, from hybrid hostels to boutique, chic pods, the hostel has changed. Bunk beds are no longer the up down lineal drudgery they have been in the past, but more expressions of the hostels unique character and design. Communal areas have become vibrant contemporary hangouts, filled with engaging spaces and even more engaging travellers. What was once a stopping post for the traditional budget traveller has become in many cases the home of the flashpacker.

This transition has stemmed from the travellers themselves, with free Wifi and social media, pictures and instant sharing have become the norm. The dark gloomy quiet hostel of old has died out to be replaced by the attractive, visual stimulating, Instagram ready social hubs of the new hostel world. The Millenials (travellers born in the 90’s) have been priced out of the traditional hotel, yet not lowered their standards when it comes to where they hang their hats (or sleeping bags). This has left a huge gap for the classy stylish hostel to emerge, and the industry has been more than happy to step into the breech.

This cocktail of luxury rich, but cash poor travellers has made for a hostel industry that is put simply, booming. With each passing week the style and number of these new age establishments increases, and I for one am all for it. The Millenials with their demand for budget luxury have drawn the hostel world into the mainstream and out of the back-streets!

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