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Poshtels: hostels are upping their game and coming your way

“Poshtels” was one of the new buzzwords banded around at the HotelWorld conference last week.

You guessed it, the word is a hybrid of ‘posh’ and ‘hostel’. Bringing together two concepts of hostel and hotel to provide a ‘posh for pennies’ experience. It’s a trend that started in UK and Eire and has been shaping the global travel market over the last few years.

Budget travel can mean dubious dorm rooms packed with grubby twenty-somethings, bleak prison-style shared bathrooms and chancy bars where cheap beer flows freely – right? Wrong. Poshtels are something else entirely.

They are a response to consumer demand related to lifestyle shifts and are an extension to the popularity of Airbnb-type services. This means upgraded previously long-time neglected hostel facilities with modern, quirky and luxurious design as well as high-tech facilities.

Poshtels often occupy intriguing buildings and they emphasise room design, freebies and perks, cool bars, quirky restaurants and often a ‘hidden’ rooftop lounge or pool – all at an affordable price. They can sometimes offer twin en-suite rooms, usually include free wifi, 24/7 convenience food in lieu of breakfast and are a direct threat to the boutique hotel offerings.

They can be fashionably themed or have trendy barista-ran coffee shop or hipster-ran bar offering craft beer – they are very popular. According to the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2014: “The hostels segment in the UK is set to record 3% growth over 2013-2018 to reach sales of £216 million in 2018, with a total of 653 hostel outlets by the end of the same year.”

Poshtels respond to guests’ online behaviour by encouraging them to post “braggies”, or photos on social media, in exchange for rewards and perks. They are not just popular with millennials though, these new budget accommodation offerings are thriving and increasingly popular with older age groups, young families as well as the business segment after a shift in consumption due to the economic crisis.

Poshtels therefore meet a rising demand for low-cost, high-value travel and non-conventional lodging establishments. They highlight the desire to have different offerings in the market place.

It is not necessarily about being the absolute cheapest anymore. It is more about being authentic and the huge rise in popularity of Airbnb has shown that where once travellers wanted a “getaway” they now tend to prefer an authentic home-from-home.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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