1.1 Definition and scope of study
Youth hostels are establishments usually run by non-profit associations. Nevertheless, some new players from the private sector are also entering this segment. They offer users limited accommodation and catering and/or individual cooking, as well as other services, programs and activities.
The conceptual and functional significance of hostels have very old roots. In fact, in the Middle Age numerous structures were built in order to give rest to pilgrims or wayfarers. These structures were known as "hospices" - from the Latin word hospitium. In the 1900s those accommodations - originally known for their hospitality traits - underwent the numerous transformations that brought them closer to the image they have today. The peculiarity of these accommodations is the sense of sharing: generally, hostels have shared dormitories and facilities.
Hostels are typically accompanied by the word "youth", which increases the connotation of being thought of for the youth, backpackers or travellers. Some characteristics are a common area and affordable pricing. Although, since lifestyle and travel habits have changed dramatically over time, hostels have adapted to a continually different demand. Hostels are now flourishing as an alternative type of accommodation for short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb) or typical hotels, with numerous features such as private rooms, social events, additional facilities (e.g. swimming pool, coffee room), extravagant layouts.
Brazil has a significant network of hostels, with more than 8,603,000 beds spread throughout the country, where the average price for a day is R$ 60.77 and the occupation rate is usually of 49.6%. The Southeast region concentrates 51% of the offer and the Northeast region 18.8%. In addition, the main hostels are located in coastal regions such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvado. According to the Hostelworld reservation tool, the number of registered hostels has grown 533% in the last 5 years. In addition, in the same period, there was a growth in the number of bookings on the Brazilian website of over 51%. This positive performance is greatly enhanced by the increasingly present preferences of guests in the search for lower prices (44%) and the desire to meet other travelers during their stays (31%). [Brazilian Association of Hostels and New Hospitals]
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