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Hip Hostels Mean Bookings Rise By 83 Percent
As purse strings tighten, hotel rates creep higher and hostels get hipper, HostelBookers.com reports an 83% increase in bookings during 2008.
Travellers of all ages are now catching on to the fact that hostels provide fantastic value for money. Not only is the number of bookings increasing, but also so is the age of people booking the accommodation. For the first time HostelBookers reports an equal number of bookings coming from the 18 to 24 year olds and 25 to 34 year olds – 43% in each category. The number of older travellers is also on the increase, with the over 35’s providing the remaining 14% of all bookings – the first time this age group has ever accounted for over 10%.
As the credit crunch continues to dominate the headlines it is not surprising that the new breed of hostel is appealing to a much wider audience and becoming a real alternative to budget hotels. David Smith, General Manager, said: “The old image of the hostel is well and truly consigned to the past with today’s hostels more likely to have flock wallpaper, free WiFi, rainfall showers and a rooftop bar, than bedbugs and bad plumbing. Travellers of all ages are becoming more conscious of the money they are spending and our hostels and budget accommodation offer great value, without sacrificing comfort.”
Amongst HostelBookers’ 10,000 hostels in 2,500 destinations worldwide, tried and tested destinations still top the polls for popularity, with the top ten in 2008 being:
7) New York
However, along with the increase in the average age of its customers, HostelBookers.com has also seen a notable uplift in bookings of a number of less high-profile destinations. Standout destinations for 2008 – all seeing more than 140% year on year growth – include Damascus and Aleppo in Syria, Essaouira in Morocco and Pai in Thailand. And people are increasingly leaving the big tourist destinations of Central and Eastern Europe behind, too, with Piran in Slovenia and Croatia’s Split, Zagreb and the stunning Plitvice Lakes national park all witnessing huge surges in popularity. Way up in Siberia, meanwhile, Irkutsk has seen more bookings than St Petersburg, as a result of travellers looking to explore the wonders of Lake Baikal.
Independent reviews and strict quality ratings mean that HostelBookers is the only website in its sector that carefully selects its members and constantly reviews performance of its 10,000 budget properties to weed out the lower end.
HostelBookers.com is also the only major budget accommodation website that doesn’t charge a booking fee. By transferring the cost away from the traveller only charging a 10% commission to the property, it has seen its market share grow exponentially in recent years.