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.
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.
The large majority of third-party bookings (70 percent) take place across three sites: Hostelworld, Booking.com, and Hostelbookers.
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.
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Photo credit: A boy relaxes on a bed at the Casa Angel Youth Hostel in Oaxaca, Mexico. Chris Ford / Flickr