Some hostels found success by operating like B&Bs this summer, but that’s not a long-term solution. Unless guests return, many won’t survive
For most hostels across the UK a sunny September weekend would mean fully booked rooms and busy bars and lounges. But this week hostels have been processing cancellations in response to the UK government’s “rule of six” announcement – on top of a severely challenging summer that saw a drastic reduction in occupancy rates as owners adjusted to social distancing guidelines. Some found operating a business based on large groups and shared experiences impossible under post-lockdown rules – according to Independent Hostels UK (IHUK), a network with 420 members, over a third of hostels did not open their doors at all. Even those that are full – albeit at limited capacity – face a fight for survival.
In research being carried out by IHUK, around a third of the hostels surveyed so far say they won’t survive more than six months in the current climate. Another quarter say they might have a year. This was prior to the “rule of six” which has added to the pressure now that groups of friends and families from different households, and school groups are barred.