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When asked which city would be the next ‘hot hostel city’, participants in yesterday’s WYSE webinar “Hostel cities: Youth travel accommodation and urban development” voted Havana.

“This is in line with findings from STAY WYSE research on hostels and other forms of youth travel accommodation over the years, where increasing supply in Cuba has become evident,” said Greg Richards, Professor of Placemaking and Events at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences and Research Advisor to WYSE Travel Confederation.

During the webinar Professor Richards reviewed the growth in youth hostel accommodation and related developments in a number of major cities, noting that globally demand has grown considerably and supply has kept apace over the ten years that WYSE Travel Confederation has been monitoring this unique form of lodging.

WYSE Travel Confederation’s research has found these elements key for young travellers when it comes to great hostels in choice travel destinations:

  • location with good transport links
  • secure, clean and well maintained accommodation
  • friendly locals.

Free wifi and tasty food round out the ultimate destination for the Millennial traveller.

“A growing number of hosteliers have found a critical business network in joining the WYSE Travel Confederation community. You’ll be able to keep up with the trends, monitor competition, and of course find partners to fill those beds,” said David Chapman, WYSE Travel Confederation’s Director General.

Professor Richards suggested that hostels, particularly the larger chains, now seem to be following each other in terms of establishing themselves in a new city.

“The pioneer role that hostels once played in cities, may not be as great as it once was, especially for the large chains, but for the smaller hostels it may still be important,” said Richards.

When asked what the top challenge their hostel business faced in terms of future expansion, 33% of respondents said “Identifying suitable site(s)”. Other roadblocks such as “Securing funding or investment” (28%) and market research (22%) were also mentioned. Interestingly, only 11% saw “Legislation or local laws” as a top challenge for their business.

“Youth travellers are being followed closely by investors, but it will be interesting to see how things like Airbnb and Uber change the urban landscape for future hostel development,” said Richards.

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