In case you haven’t noticed, there’s not a lot of money being spent to research the hostel industry. We have prestigious universities and million-dollar research firms dedicated to studying hotel management, but when it comes to hostels, often the best we can do is take research from other realms and extrapolate the findings to our own. Dr. Gang Li is a professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey. Last month in the Journal of Travel Research he published a paper on how owners being motivated by lifestyle over profits impacts small tourism businesses. Although his research subjects were guest houses in China, the similarities with the hostel industry couldn’t be more striking. Check out what Professor Li’s research uncovered and how it applies to owner-operated, independent hostels.
Did you know that road trips are back in fashion? Turns out we can only watch so many fiascos or suffer through so many baggage fees (paying for a carry-on? Really? ) before many of us decide it’s time to pack up the SUV and hit the road. The particulars of the recent uptick in road trips can be a boon to the hostel industry. In particular, isolated, off-the-beaten-track hostels should take notice of the recent road trip trend.
Have you heard of bleisure? Even though it sounds kind of “bleh,” it’s actually one of the most important trends in travel right now. Bleisure (noun) is the practice of tacking on a couple days of vacation before or after a business trip. This practice has grown 40% in only the last two years. Here in the United States, we’re up to 60% of business trips turning into bleisure and who knows how much more room there is to grow? Based on the characteristics of bleisure, it’s clear that hostels stand to gain the most from capitalizing on this travel trend. Let’s dive into some bleisure insights provided by our friends at Expedia and see what we can learn.
The strong U.S. dollar and the unwelcoming message coming from the White House means that U.S. hostels need to increase their efforts to educate Americans on the benefits of hosteling. Hostels may be tempted to focus efforts of foreign travelers who are already familiar with the concept of hosteling, but given that this market segment may continue to stagnate, we should look for growth opportunities from the domestic traveler market.
Some hostels also avoid serving Americans given the fear that many of them could be troublesome guests who are simply seeking cheap accommodation, who will detract from the traveler atmosphere and create problems for hostel staff. Managers should ensure that any policies that are intended to discourage anti-social behavior are carefully implemented without repelling legitimate American domestic travelers.