I think it's a combination of factors.
People waiting to see if they still have a job before booking their holidays - several household name retail companies have gone bust here over the last couple of months, and it makes you nervous wherever you work.
People looking for the protection of an ABTA travel agent. I heard a travel agent interviewed on the radio the other day, and his business was UP on the first week of January last year.
I suspect - once people have taken stock of their situation - that they will still want holidays. And if their credit is a bit crunched, where better to stay than in a hostel? Get ready for a stream of first-time hostellers this summer!