The Generator brand has dropped the word “Hostel” from its name.
Generator Doesn’t Want to Be Known as a Hostel Brand Anymore
It’s not that they want to stop using the hostel model, that they think hostels are bad business, or that they think they can make more money by calling themselves hotels. In fact, quite the opposite. It all comes down to public perception. As they plan to open their first property in Miami, USA, they need to address the negative stigma of the word “hostel” in the US. They also want to avoid misrepresenting what they feel their product really is. So they’re dropping the Hostel from their name, and letting their brand name alone communicate what they offer.
“If we had to call ourselves ‘Generator Hotels,’ that’s a complete misrepresentation,” Generator Chief Marketing Officer Jason Rieff added. “The same way as if we had to call ourselves Generator Hostels. Although that’s something that historically has been our name, it’s also not really a full representation of who we are.”
“There’s a very negative connotation toward the word ‘hostel’ in the American market, irrespective of what your product offering is. If it has the word ‘hostel’ in it, there will be negative connotations,” Rieff said. “In Europe, hostels are the go-to place for Millennial travelers, so it’s a very tricky situation of how we position ourselves in Europe to how we position ourselves in the U.S., and that’s something we’re trying to bridge.”
Alastair Thomann, Generator’s CEO, says that he thinks the lines between hostels and hotels will continue to become blurred until there is very little difference between the two anyway.
“Our industry, in general, what we used to call the hostel industry, in terms of the luxury hostel, is moving more and more toward boutique hotels,” Thomann said. “And you’re finding boutique hotels adding dorm rooms; they’re moving toward the hostel model. It’s more about the social spaces and the community. At some stage, we’re going to be very close together, these two segments.”
Some of those examples include Sydell Group’s Freehand, Marriott’s Moxy, AccorHotels’ Jo&Joe, and Hilton’s upcoming “hostel on steroids.”
That sounds fair enough. Small independent hostels frequently choose a niche market and specialize in providing the best possible service for a specific type of person. Generator targets and welcomes all types of people, from backpackers to families to business travelers. They’re planning to incorporate co-working spaces and dedicated work stations that come with monthly room or apartment rentals. It would be hard to characterize that type of an environment as either a “hostel” or a “hotel” or even as something else. So they don’t. It’s just a Generator, and that name will speak for itself.
What do you think? Is this a good move or a bad one for Generator? Are they right about the market necessitating the change? Do you think we’ll see more traditional hostels following suit?