In Europe, Hostels Grow Up
Hostels across Europe have undergone a transformation over the last decade. “There has been serious quality improvement in the hostel movement,” said Johan Krüger, head of communications for Hostelling International, a consortium of youth hostel associations in over 80 countries that operate more than 4,000 hostels.
“Though hostels have always had the big shared dormitory-style rooms, we are now seeing more demand among travelers for double or single en suite rooms,” Mr. Krüger said, adding that hostels had grown even more popular in the midst of the recession. In 2008, Hostelling International had a 14 percent increase, to 1.4 million bookings, on its Web site, www.hihostels.com.
Mr. Krüger attributes the increased interest in smaller rooms to a changing clientele. “We are seeing business travelers coming to hostels now,” he said, speculating that in addition to the lower rates, they also prefer the social aspect of a hostel to the more staid hotel culture.