Please spare a thought for the motel’s hip cousin who went to Berlin that one time.
Hostels were not exactly built for a pandemic — these days, you don’t hear many people exclaiming, “Man, I wish I could wake up near a dozen total strangers on bunk beds!”
But as Europe reopens to travelers, hostels are trying to figure out how to add social distancing to a business model based on throwing together total randos.
A few of their strategies:
- Cut the number of beds crammed into each room by half.
- Tape markings on the dance floor.
- Pivot to long-term stays — who doesn’t love 3 months in a hostel?
In normal times, hostels offer more than a place to sleep. Some host yoga classes, open mics, movie nights, and pasta-making tutorials.
But right now, they look… suspiciously like hotels. Take Tomas Polansky, a student from Slovakia who booked a 6-person room at a hostel in Amsterdam.
When he arrived, there was almost no one there — so he got his own private room.
What about the rest of the dorms-for-adults biz?
Hostels are sitting empty, but one of their spiritual compatriots has never looked better: co-living communities.
One startup, Common, signed its most leases ever last month, according to OneZero.
Scarcity, another co-living company, at first saw new inquiries fall by ~5x — but the numbers were up again last month. Plus: Scarcity just raised $30m.
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