Skift Take

The company claims this is a one-of-a-kind certification program for hostels.

Hostelworld wanted a way to recognize the sustainability efforts of the hostels listed on its platform. And so it partnered with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to launch a certification framework and a sustainability measurement system for its hostels.

The new framework developed by Hostelworld — called Staircase to Sustainability — is a means towards getting certified. There are more than three levels to pass the bar via a third party auditor and criteria include a hostel’s sustainability management, socio-economic, cultural and environmental impact.

Other frameworks for rating sustainability measures do exist. The GSTC has one too but the company claims none are tailored for hostels. This certification recognizes the work of hostels already listed on the Hostelworld platform. 

“Prior to the launch of Staircase to Sustainability, there wasn’t actually a framework, bespoke to the hostel category, something to surface all the great work that they’re doing,” said Caroline Sherry, chief financial officer and ESG lead at Hostelworld. 

Hostels are designed to be more efficient and use fewer resources than hotels thanks to the shared rooms and kitchens, and no room service. They also support local businesses.

For instance, Berlin-based a&o hostels took the net zero pledge, aspiring to be Europe’s “zero-emissions hostel chain” by 2025 and as part of the mission, it repurposes old buildings into hostels.

“If you think about the inclusivity of hostels at the price point, they’re typically 75% less than at the star hotels, where there is a barrier to entry,” Sherry said. “Hostels are open to everyone. and it takes pressure off the local rental market so you don’t have these short term lets that are taking properties away from people who could otherwise live in them, so in terms of strain on the housing market, it helps to reduce that as well.”


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Tags: ESG, hostels, hostelworld, sustainability

Photo credit: Gary Morrison, Hostelworld CEO at Skift Global Forum 2023: Source: Skift

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