The global youth hostel market, estimated to grow by 6.8% between 2020 and 2023, is expected to reach sales of $7.5 billion in 2023. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the sector, with establishment closures and reductions in tourism leading to a significant drop in business. The French youth hostel market has been hit hard, with sales dropping by around 50% in 2020, from 462.462 million euros to an estimated 232.231 million euros.

The sector is characterized by a growing but fragmented market, with both private and not-for-profit players, increasingly fueled by demand from millennial travelers who favor affordable prices and social experiences. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, new concepts and competitive pricing strategies are emerging, with private groups such as Meininger and France Hostels offering nights from 19 euros, in line with entry-level rates in Europe. The market is also witnessing a blurring of lines with the rise of "coliving" spaces, which offer flexible accommodation to meet changing lifestyles and preferences.

Changing traveler trends in the hostel market

The youth hostel market has witnessed a distinct trend driven by the preferences and behaviors of new-age travelers, mainly millennials. These young travelers, strongly imbued with a culture of exploration and connectivity, have catalyzed a shift in the traditional hostel format, prompting hostels to reconfigure themselves to better meet the aspirations and needs of this demographic.

In recent years, survey results have provided a detailed portrait of the typical youth hostel traveler in France - generally a highly educated young man looking for leisure and social experiences. This segment, which represents around two-thirds of the higher-educated population, travels mainly solo or with friends, looking for low-cost accommodation options that don't compromise location or opportunities for social engagement. A staggering 70% of these hostel enthusiasts are in the millennial bracket, underscoring their importance in the market.

French hostels seem particularly adept at capturing the essence of what matters most to this clientele: affordability, accessibility and interactivity. Average prices are particularly competitive in the hostel market. Entry-level dormitories range from around 18 to 30 euros, attracting budget-conscious travelers who might otherwise turn to alternative accommodations or super-economy hotels, whose average prices are slightly higher. What's more, the French market, while impacted by a general tourism boom that has seen over 89 million arrivals and Paris reign as one of the world's top destinations, is gradually being penetrated by private-sector players. These new entrants are breathing life into the concept by integrating premium hostel formats and reinventing the value proposition to resonate with younger audiences.

While retaining their economic character, hostels are gradually integrating features of cohabitation spaces, responding to the needs of a market that appreciates not just a place to rest, but also a place to connect and create. The emergence of high-end hostels that combine coworking and coliving spaces, as in the case of entities such as CG Saumur, bears witness to this trend. Ultimately, the demand for youth hostel accommodation in France is evolving thanks to a synergy between price sensitivity, location preferences and an appetite for new ideas.tion preferences and a strong appetite for communal living experiences that align with the contemporary travel ethic of millennials.

With private rooms in hostels gaining in popularity and incumbent market operators pushing for innovation, hostels are emerging as key players in the booming tourism industry, catering to a clientele estimated to number in the tens of millions.

Key players shaping the youth hostel market landscape

The youth hostel market, with its ever-changing landscape and the emergence of unique, hybrid accommodation concepts, boasts several major players distinguished by innovative offerings and expansion strategies.

  • St Christopher's Inns has carved out an important place for itself in the youth hostel segment, offering a blend of traditional hostel accommodation with a modern twist. The chain offers an environment conducive to social interaction between travelers, with facilities designed to enhance the guest experience.
  • Generator Hostels brings a touch of sophistication to the hostel market with its beautifully designed establishments. Catering to the needs of the modern traveler in terms of price and comfort, Generator strives to blur the boundaries between traditional hostels and boutique hotels.
  • Jo&Joe: Part of the formidable Accor Hotels group, Jo&Joe offers a fresh and dynamic vision of hostel accommodation, targeting not only young backpackers but also a wider audience looking for a community-based, interactive accommodation experience. Their goal of rapidly expanding their network testifies to the brand's ambition and potential in the hostel sector.
  • France Hostels: Aiming to become a leader in the French youth hostel sector, France Hostels is a promising player with significant growth aspirations. The company intends to expand its network considerably, as it is convinced that travelers are increasingly demanding high-quality, friendly and affordable accommodation.
  • Meininger: Based in Germany, Meininger has successfully established itself in several European cities, combining the concept of a youth hostel with that of a budget hotel. With establishments located in prime urban areas, Meininger caters to a diverse clientele, from backpackers to families, looking for affordable accommodation without compromising on quality.
  • Independent hostels such as SLO Living Hostel and Cool & Bed: Independent hostels, such as SLO Living Hostel and Cool & Bed, embody the charm and personality that many travelers seek. These small establishments personalize their offerings, creating an intimate atmosphere and unique experiences for their guests.
  • Youth hostel associations such as FUAJ and LFAJ: Associations such as FUAJ (Fédération Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse) and LFAJ (Ligue Française des Auberges de Jeunesse) represent the traditional, value-driven backbone of the youth hostel market. They emphasize inclusion, educational experiences and the creation of intercultural links between travelers. These key players, with their distinct models and target audiences, underline the importance of education and training for young people.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Presentation and definition

According to INSEE, a youth hostel is an establishment run by a non-profit association, providing users with accommodation and limited catering and/or self-catering facilities, as well as other services, programs and activities. They are primarily intended for young people for educational and recreational purposes.

Hostels are usually preceded by the word "youth", reinforcing the intrinsic connotation of being designed for young people, backpackers or travelers. Notable features are shared space and affordability. However, as lifestyles and travel habits have changed considerably over time, hostels have adapted to a constantly evolving demand.

worldwide, the hostel market is expected to grow at a CAGR (average annual growth rate) of 10.4% between 2022 and 2027.

In Europe, hostels are now thriving as alternatives to short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb) or typical hotels, with many features such as private rooms, social events, extra facilities (e.g. swimming pool, lounge cafe, etc.), extravagant amenities.

In France, the historical players in the market are non-profit associations offering low-cost accommodation throughout the country. However, a growing number of private players have entered the market, creating new concepts to appeal to young travelers eager to meet new people and travel.

1.2 A fast-growing global market

Size of the global youth hostel market

A youth hostel is a friendly, short-term, low-cost type of accommodation in which guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed in a dormitory, as well as shared use of a lounge and, sometimes, a kitchen. Hostels offer advantages such as reduced expenses ...

1.3 Estimates and orders of magnitude for the French youth hostel market

Youth hostel market size

According to the latest data available at the time of writing, in ****, the "Youth" sector comprised *** youth hostels, ** international holiday centers and ** sports centers. These establishments welcomed *.* million holidaymakers for *.* million overnight stays, generating over *** million euros in sales.[***]

For ****, the "Youth Hostel" sector generated sales of ...

1.4 The impact of the health crisis on the sector

Impact of the crisis on the sector

Hostels are a sub-category of the hotel industry, and one of the sectors that suffered most from the Covid-** pandemic. Indeed, the various government-imposed confinements and border closures have led to a significant drop in tourism. In addition, hotels and inns had to close ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 French tourism in 2021

The different types of travelers can be grouped as follows:

Source: ****

The reasons for travel are

Leisure, relaxation and vacation Visiting family and friends Health (***) Pilgrimages, sporting events, school trips, etc.

In ****, the French are back on vacation

Will you be going on vacation this summer? France, ****, % Source: ****

In ****, **%(***) of French ...

2.2 Young people: travel and vacations in 2021

**% of young people would like to spend more time with their loved ones, and half would like to have more time for themselves.

For **% of young people, the ideal vacation is spent in France or a neighboring country.

If you had a magic wand that gave you total freedom to travel ...

2.3 Seasonal demand

An analysis of the frequency of Google searches in France for the terms "hostel " and " auberge de jeunesse " shows that demand is highly cyclical: peaks between mid-July and mid-August , and troughs between mid-November and mid-December, reflecting seasonal demand in summer.

Search frequencies for the terms "hostel" and "auberge de jeunesse" France, ...

2.4 Demand trends: between solo travellers and new customers

More and more people are traveling alone. This change is visible on a global scale, as traditional single-place trips are being abandoned in favor of short-term stays in several locations.

Frequency of Google searches for the term "solo travel World, ****-****, Google index Source: ****

over the past five years, Google search ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Geographical distribution of youth hostels in France

growth in the number of youth hostels and hostels in France

According to INSEE, in ****. There are *** youth hostels in mainland France, mainly in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (***).

The French territory is thus well covered, except for Paris, which has around half as many hostels as cities like Berlin or London. One possible ...

3.2 The different booking channels

Hotel reservations in Europe by channel in ****

Most overnight stays in Europe are booked directly with the hotel Europe, ****, % of total Source: ****

In total, online bookings and social networks account for **. *% of all hotel bookings in Europe in ****. The majority of offline bookings are made directly with the hotel or via ...

3.3 A fragmented market

Despite the emergence of hostel chains, their importance remains fairly limited. For example, according to The Wandering Walker, the Mad Monkey Hostel Group, which operates in Asia and Australia, has "only" ** hostels, * of which are in Southeast Asia. Similarly, Vietnam Backpackers' Hostels has just * establishments worldwide.

Thus, the hostel accommodation offer ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Player panel and offer typology

The offer in a nutshell

Looking at the offers available on the Internet, it becomes clear that the different hostel accommodation packages are very similar. They offer a bed in a shared room or dormitory, access to sanitary facilities, as well as communal areas such as lounges and cafeterias where you ...

4.2 Youth hostels focus on price competitiveness with traditional hotels

Average rates for hostels and youth hostels are much lower than those for conventional hotels.

Average price of hotels, excluding tax January ****, France, €/night Source: ****

we can see that even "super-eco" hotel offers have a higher average price than some hostels : for example, vertigo offers a bed for **euros, Gastama, FranceHostel ...

4.3 Typology of prices in France

Looking in the Hostelworld catalog, taking the price for one person in August **** in several European capitals and in several French cities, we get the following table:

Source: ****

It's interesting to note that while prices are fairly similar between private groups, it seems that the FUAJ (***). [***]

Chains arriving in Paris will ...

4.4 Between "coliving" and "youth hostel" concepts

In recent years, we've seen the rise of"coliving", a lifestyle that falls somewhere between the concept of shared accommodation and that of a hotel residence. In effect, this concept implies the idea of sharing one's private life, but also of working with someone else, as in a coworking space. These ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Current regulations

Like all establishments catering to the general public, hostels and youth hostels must comply with current regulations on safety - concerning technical installations in particular - and with hygiene rules

As for youth hostels

The Ministry of Youth and Sports (***) Accommodation for schoolchildren (***) Organized stays (***)

Regulations relating to the Covid-** ...

5.2 Youth hostels can now be classified in 2022

Since September **, ****, youth hostels have been able to apply for classification. This classification certifies that the hostel meets * major quality criteria (***). [***]

List of charts

  • Estimated size of the global youth hostel market based on a CAGR of 10.4%
  • Trends and variations in the number of international tourists
  • Market size for "Tourist accommodation and other short-term accommodation"
  • Will you be going on vacation this summer?
  • How the French feel about their summer vacations
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

St Christopher’s Inns
Generator Hostels
Jo & Joe
France Hostels
SLO Living Hostel
Cool & Bed
Fédération Unie des Auberges de Jeunesse

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