Castles and hostels might seem like they have about as much in common as, well, castles and hostels, but sometimes the best ideas come from the most unexpected combinations. Over 100 years ago in 1912, a schoolteacher named Richard Shirrmann wanted to encourage his students to explore, travel the countryside, and enjoy the outdoors. He dreamed up a vision of cheap accommodations for young adventurers, and to make that vision happen, he converted Altena Castle, a local castle, into the world’s first-ever youth hostel.
Hostels soon ballooned in popularity. For teens and twenty-somethings, it offered the chance to meet other travellers from all over the world and explore breathtaking new places on a budget. But that’s not all. According to many working in hospitality today, the history of the humble hostel is far from over. In fact, it might just be getting started.
Why Are Hostels More Popular Than Ever?
Sleeping on a bunk bed in a dormitory with dozens of strangers might not initially sound like an obvious competitor to established hotel brands, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. More and more guests are seeking communal spaces, one-of-a-kind experiences, and affordable options, and hostels lie at the sweet spot between all of them.
Because hostels squeeze many guests into a room, prices can stay relatively low compared to other options. In addition, many will have rooftop terraces, pools, an attached bar, and other fun communal spaces where guests can wind down and meet other travellers. However, what might be the biggest selling point behind hostels is their focus on experiences. From rowdy pub crawls to beachside parties, free walking tours, and more, hostels have developed a reputation for being fun and welcoming establishments.
For solo travellers especially, these options can make hostels a particularly attractive option. It’s one of the reasons why a recent industry report predicted that hostels as a whole would see growth to the tune of 7 per cent per year. It’s also why top hotel chains like Marriot and Hilton are adding hostel-like additions to some of their establishments. For students interested in hospitality management careers, hostels offer a trajectory that combines growing demand, great potential for profit, and—most importantly—the chance to create a fun and welcoming community for guests to enjoy.
Pros With Hospitality Management Careers Know Hostels Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Another big reason why hostels are so popular is that they come in all shapes and sizes. The hostel that Richard Shirrmann created in 1912 is still running today, which can be a wonderful option for history buffs who would love to spend a night near a real castle. Other historic hostels can be even quirkier. In Ottawa, for example, guests can stay at the HI Ottawa Jail where old jail cells have been converted into guest rooms.
Other hostels might bring a whole new twist to their location. At the world-renowned Travellers Oasis in Cairns, Australia, for example, facilities are light and breezy, with hammocks, barbecue nights, and a pool where guests can lounge. And at the Lub d Phuket Patong in Phuket, Thailand, guests can find an ultra-modern sleek decor as well as amazing facilities, which include a see-through pool and full-size boxing ring.
For creative graduates of hospitality management colleges, hostels offer a world of opportunity. Whether you would like to create a laid back and homey nook, modern luxury hostel, or convert a historical building so that guests can step into the past, there are infinite ways for you to get creative as you bring to life your own dream establishment.
Are you passionate about travel?
If so, why not tap into your potential and study hospitality management at Eton College!