YOUTH IS SERVED: G Adventures’ new hostel environment
Hostels aren’t what they used to be, nor are young travellers. With this in mind, G Adventures has partnered with leading Dublin-based OTA Hostelworld to combine the former’s group adventure tours with the latter’s global hostel booking platform to create a series of unique backpacking-meets-organized-travel experiences dubbed ‘Roamies.’
The Roamies collection is designed to capture the free-spirited nature of adventure travel and combine it with the inherently social side of hostels with five- to 34-day tours limited to between 16 and 24 travellers.
Offered for sale by both companies, and available to be booked by travel agents through Toronto-based G Adventures, the collaboration will launch in May 2022, with a collection of 38 tours in 15 countries that will allow travellers to explore some of the world’s “coolest destinations” while using 50 of the hottest hostels as a home-base and a place to both hang out and kick-start adventures.
With flexibility and free time built in, and optional activities available to book, all trips have the support of an expert chief experience officer throughout the tour.
Gary Morrison, CEO of Hostelworld Group says, “The reason why people go hostelling is to reach other people (and) a lot of the reason people go on short group adventure tours is not only to experience the world, but also to meet other people… so, we’re similar if you’re in the market to have an incredible social experience, combined with amazing adventure travel, which is a bit different from a luxury hotel kind of stay.”
But while the accommodations may not be defined as ‘luxury’, they are certainly no longer the $10/day dorm rooms that many remember from the past.
“What I’ve learned,” says G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip, “is how much the hostel community and hostels have evolved in the 20 years since I went travelling… when hostels were great socially but kind of scary for first-time travellers.”
Now, he says, “they are so unique and every one is so different and they pride themselves on their own kind of businesses… they all have personality and capture the local flavour and the local areas as well.”
Poon Tip adds that extensive research by G suggests that people book hostels for the experience and the social side – not the price – which matches further data suggesting that “people on the other side of this pandemic are experience driven.”
At the same time, many of G’s 18- to 35-year-old clients are devoted to sustainability and community, which fits with the ethos of hostelling, which Poon Tip calls “the heart of the tourism eco-system.”
“Together (with Hostelworld) we’re creating a new style of travel for our customers that will allow them to have a better travel experience and support our model of community tourism, which is based on investing in as many local and small businesses as possible,” says Poon Tip. “There is no better representation of that than in the hostel market, of which many are family-run businesses.”
Morrison says the Roamies collection is the start of a longer-term partnership with G Adventures that will see more tours being added across further locations.
“Our mission is to help hostellers meet other travellers they want to hang out with while travelling, so partnering with G Adventures to offer a combination of hostelling and adventure travel made absolute sense. When young people travel, they want to do more than just see places – they want to make meaningful connections and have new experiences that positively change their perspective on themselves and the world.”
He adds, “With so many young people missing out on trips of a lifetime in the last couple of years, Roamies will offer them an entirely new type of planned backpacking adventure in 2022.”
Roamies trips are priced from $249 p.p. for a three-day trip, and countries include Albania, Austria, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Peru, Thailand, and Vietnam.
First published at Travel Industry Today