Hostels used to have one sole purpose: They were budget accommodations around the world where students or other cash-strapped travelers could spend the night. When these travelers got older or gained more disposable income for travel, they graduated from hostels to staying in name-brand or more upscale hotels. That generalization is no longer as strong as it once was.
Some business travelers value the hostel experience and Generator Hostels, for example, is going after this market. Hostels become meeting points for young travelers, even those not staying in the hostel. Many are centrally located in cities. Take the Freehand Miami–it has an outdoor pool, bar, and garden area that invites conversation and engagement in the heart of Miami Beach and has become an icon of the area.
These five startups noticed the need for more platforms to help travelers find cheap but acceptable accommodations in large markets as populations embrace the hostel mindset as a means of introducing them to the world of travel.
>>Cube Beds is an online booking site for hostels in India. The startup is in five major cities so far including New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
Skift Take: The Indian subcontinent is still an emerging travel market in many ways. It needs tools to guide it towards affordable accommodation options to introduce it to the global travel industry.
>>Hostel Hunting helps students find accommodations around the world for their study abroad semesters.
SkiftTake: Students’ early travel habits are formed during college and especially during their time studying abroad. Hostel Hunting caters to helping students find homes for the semester, but what about helping them find a room for their weekend trip to London or Paris, for example?
>>BBBRooms is a budget hotel booking site in Brazil.
SkiftTake: BBBRooms isn’t pointed specifically at hostels, but hostels take on a variety of definitions. To most travelers, that means an inexpensive accommodation where they can rest their head with the bare basic amenities.
>>Thrust Hostels is a hostel company serving the LGBTQ market and allies.
SkiftTake: Many LGBTQ people, particularly young people, are afraid to travel and fear discrimination at accommodations, etc. Global hotel chains like Marriott International have come out in support of this community but Thrust Hostels is more geared towards the younger, budget-friendly LGBTQ traveler.
>>Hostel Point is a hostel booking site with a social network element, where users can choose hostels based on mutual interests with other guests and communicate with each other before they arrive.
SkiftTake: The hostel experience is supposed to be social and guests are supposed to interact with each other. But do travelers really want to do that before they arrive, even with hostels?
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