Rooms Hotels

The Booking Habits of Hostel Guests Around the Globe


Apr 16, 2014 7:30 am

Skift Take

The growing popularity of third-party booking sites are making it easier for travelers to search, sort and book hostels, which is great news for operators unless commission rates erase the benefits of a booking hike.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: India Tourism Insights Report

Free Report: The Megatrends Defining Travel in 2015

Chris Ford  / Flickr

A boy relaxes on a bed at the Casa Angel Youth Hostel in Oaxaca, Mexico. Chris Ford / Flickr

Much like hotels, hostels are reaching new customers and opening new channels for booking on third-party sites like Hostelworld and Hostelbookers.

And giving up a percentage of their revenues in the process.

A new study from the STAY WYSE Association reports that 29 percent of hostel bookings now happen on third-party websites.

This is according to the responses of more than 2,200 Youth Travel Accommodation operators across 100 countries. Participating operators included hostels (60%), guesthouses (12%), and B&B’s (11%), among others.

The second most common form of booking will come as a surprise to many business and leisure travelers, but will be better understood by those that have backpacked themselves — 20 percent of bookings occur via email.

After that operators’ individual sites and phone are the most used booking channels.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.51.10 PM

The large majority of third-party bookings (70 percent) take place across three sites: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Hostelbookers.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.52.22 PM

The many bookings from these third-party sites bring their own set of concerns.

Almost half, or 42 percent, of YTA operators said they were concerned about the percentage of commissions that third-party operators could claim with each booking. The second most common concern were the sites’ ranking systems, of which 15 percent of respondents reported being worried about.

That could be because many hostel booking taking place at the last minute, making travelers more likely to search by ranking and price.

Booking lead time remains relatively tight for YTA operators, half of which report that the majority of bookings take place one to three weeks in advance.

Almost 20 percent occur less than a week in advance and less than 30 percent occur more than one month in advance.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.49.22 PM

Tags: , ,

Follow @SamShankman

Next Up

More on Skift

Daily Travel Startup Watch: Broomly, Tourrs and More
Why I Left an Enviable Career in Travel Writing for PR: A First-Person Perspective
Travel Habits of Millennials: Airbnb Least Used for Accommodations, for Now
6 Best Practices for Developing a User-Generated Content Strategy