The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018

The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018 Published May 2016 Analysts: Douglas Quinby, Bing Liu, Cathy Walsh, Felica Eisenbeis, Deepak Jain


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For many across the industry, the term "hostel" brings to mind cheap, dorm-style accommodations catering to budget-conscious backpackers. But hostels have by no means stood still as extraordinary changes sweep across the global travel and accommodation marketplace. Today's hostels include a more diverse range of possibilities like private rooms and hotel-like amenities, the growth of boutique properties with an emphasis on design, the rise of the mobile-minded millennial and the emergence of digital as a critical customer touchpoint.

Phocuswright's The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018 provides unprecedented research and analysis into the global hostel market. The research provides insight into segment characteristics, trends and opportunities for growth.

Research highlights include:

  • A map of the structure and size of the global hostel market
  • An assessment of key trends among hostel operators
  • A look at the characteristics and travel behavior of the hostel traveler
  • Opportunities for growth

Purchase Phocuswright's The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018 for a first-of-its-kind deep dive into this alternative lodging segment and the growing group of hostel travelers.


The study incorporated four major research components:

  1. Hostel operator survey: Phocuswright conducted an online survey of 1,007 qualified hostel operators worldwide. The survey was fielded through Hostelworld and Hostelling International. The survey was translated into Spanish, Chinese, French, Italian and Portuguese. Ninety-five percent of survey respondents were C-level, general managers or "other management" (see Figure 1); 84% of respondents described their establishment as a hostel, while 16% self-reported their property as a B&B, guesthouse or budget hotel.

  2. Consumer survey: Phocuswright conducted a consumer survey of 2,713 qualified hostel travelers across six markets (U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia, China and South Korea). Respondents were sourced through an independent consumer panel to representative online populations in each market and to the customer database of Hostelworld. The respondent sample from Hostelworld was then weighted to reflect the general demographics and behavior of the independent panel. A qualified hostel traveler is someone at least 18 years old who has:
    1. Taken an overnight leisure trip at least 75 miles (100 kilometers) from home;
    2. Flown by commercial air or traveled by intercity rail, or stayed in paid accommodation for a leisure trip; and
    3. Stayed in a hostel for a leisure trip at least once within the past 12 months.

    Phocuswright also surveyed an additional 798 travelers between the ages of 18-34 ("millennial") in the U.S. and U.K. markets combined who had not stayed in a hostel within the past 12 months ("non-hostel travelers"). The objective of this non-hostel traveler sample was to understand why travelers do not stay in hostels and identify opportunities to convert more travelers into hostel guests.

  3. Industry interviews: Phocuswright conducted 10 in-depth executive interviews with select hostel operators, travel distributors and investors to acquire in-depth qualitative insights into key industry trends.
  4. Global market sizing: Phocuswright developed market sizing by building projections based on the global operator survey along with supply estimates sourced from combined analysis of the online inventories of Hostelworld, and TripAdvisor. Phocuswright developed projections and forecasts for gross revenues, distribution channel share and hostel capacity segmentation from operator survey results as well as select third-party data sources.

Phocuswright's The Global Hostel Marketplace 2014-2018 is sponsored by the Hostelworld Group and supported by Hostelling International. Phocuswright provides research sponsors with the opportunity to provide input on the research objectives and process, but not the research results. In other words, sponsors may have input on the questions asked (so long as they do not introduce potential bias), but do not have input on the answers the research generates. The findings and recommendations from this study are the sole responsibility of Phocuswright analysts.

US $799 
CA $1,052 • £624 • €723
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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