More families, but fewer groups in the youth hostels

21. SEP. 2020

The Swiss Youth Hostels can look back at a busy summer. While this non-profit organisation recorded a large decline in overnight stays in its city-based hostels and the guest segment of Groups and Schools, Swiss families in particular have rediscovered their own country as a travel destination. That seems to promise good business this autumn – if the weather’s right.

Eine Familie wandert durch einen grünen Wald.

A look at the Swiss Youth Hostels' business during the summer of 2020 shows a mixed picture and demonstrates the effects of the corona crisis in different ways. In total, the Swiss Youth Hostels recorded 154,387 overnight stays in July and August, a figure that represents a fall of 20.2% compared with the previous year. There was little demand for the city-based hostels, which saw a slump of 44.9% in overnight stays. But also the youth hostels in the mountains and the countryside experienced a lack of overseas visitors (a decrease of 71%), recording a drop of 9.7% overnight stays compared with the previous year. The significant growth in Swiss guests staying at the youth hostels was on the other hand gratifying. The number of overnight stays by Swiss guests was 88.5% (68.4% in the previous year), with Europe accounting for 11% of guests and only around 0.5% coming from other countries. Janine Bunte, CEO of the Swiss Youth Hostels, sees this an opportunity: "We are delighted that, besides many regular guests, new customers are also discovering youth hostels. We have registered an increase in overnight stays of 28.6%, above all with families. We have taken the opportunity to try and win people over to our product and create a sustainable holiday experience – naturally with the aim of retaining these new customers for our youth hostels in the long term." With their infrastructure these hostels are perfect for family holidays and are also highly affordable thanks to their package prices for children.

Although the Swiss Youth Hostels are reporting a welcome increase in Swiss guests in summer 2020, this cannot make up for the lack of groups and guests from abroad. The Swiss Youth Hostels are thus are expecting an overall reduction in overnight stays of 30% in 2020 compared with the previous year.

The Swiss Youth Hostels are ready for autumn
During the summer holidays the Swiss Youth Hostels noticed more last-minute booking and travel behaviour. This trend is also emerging for the coming autumn: "The Swiss are increasingly intending to remain in their own country for holidays this autumn. Bookings are coming in all the time, but we expect that many of them will be relatively spontaneous and depend on the weather. This is where our varied offering comes into play: With 52 locations throughout Switzerland we have the right holiday destination whatever your taste and needs," says Janine Bunte. Her personal tip: A city break in Lausanne, Berne, Basel or Zurich – autumn is the perfect time for discovering these wonderful cities.

A special highlight awaits guests next December, when the wellnessHostel3000 is set to open in Laax, the second wellness hostel in the Swiss Youth Hostels network. In addition to 158 beds and the new Aua Grava with an indoor pool of 25 m and a wide range of wellness, sports and fitness facilities covering over 1800 m2, this new wellnessHostel3000 also boasts a restaurant, bar and its own ice cream parlour.

Hostel Pass valid until the end of November
Due to the pleasing demand, the validity period of the Swiss Youth Hostels Hostel Pass, which was successfully launched in summer 2020, has now been extended by one month to the end of November. The Hostel Pass offers youth hostel guests accommodation at a fixed price that is guaranteed, regardless of their dates of travel, length of stay, location or classification of the hostel. The accommodation vouchers are available for three, five or seven nights and can be used at 42 youth hostels in the SYH network until the end of November 2020 (or the end of the season). The different vouchers allow guests to decide whether they want to remain longer in one place or stay at more than one hostel.

The Hostel Pass can be purchased online. For members, the fixed price per night in a shared room is CHF 35 per person incl. breakfast (excluding visitor's tax and additional services). Vouchers for the Hostel Pass for three, five or seven nights can be purchased either directly at the youth hostel by phone and e-mail or via the Booking Center at +41 44 360 14 14 or The voucher must then be shown when checking in at the youth hostel.

A youth hostel for every taste
With 52 locations, the Swiss Youth Hostels offer ideal conditions for a perfect holiday – all year round and for every taste:

  • Cityhopper – for culture, shopping and culinary delights with an urban vibe
  • Charming small towns – for restful breaks away from the hustle and bustle of a big city
  • Castles and palaces – for the age of chivalry within walls full of history
  • Wellness – for relaxing stays, including sporting and fitness activities for guests
  • Mountain magic – for holidays with magnificent views
  • Countryside – for relaxation and the peace of the countryside
  • Waterfun – for refreshing holidays near the water

For further information:
Swiss Youth Hostels

André Eisele  |  Media spokesperson
Tel. +41 (0)44 360 14 54

Press release