A&O Trainer Card for sport club trips with discounts

a&o HOTELS and HOSTELS: Company portrait

a&o was founded in 2000 by Oliver Winter and currently operates 40 hostels in 25 cities and nine European countries. The a&o guest mix is diverse: backpackers are part of the a&o target group, as are solo travellers, families, school groups and sports clubs. The number of business travellers and senior travellers is also increasing. The first location in the UK to open was the a&o Edinburgh City in July 2021. Three new locations were added in 2020: premieres took place in Poland, a&o Warsaw, and Hungary, a&o Budapest; the second property opened in Copenhagen. With around 28,000 beds and around 3 million overnight stays in the second Corona year 2021 (2020: 2.5 million overnight stays), a&o recorded a revenue of around €70 million (2021: €64 million; 2019: over €165 million). a&o's goal is to be Europe's "zero-emissions hostel chain" by 2025. The company is still managed by the founder.

The a&o model

The concept couldn't be simpler: Everyone can travel with a&o! The brand always provides hotel accommodation at central locations that are easy to reach and offer unbeatable value for money to guests. The offer includes different room categories from single and double rooms to familiy and the popular shared rooms. As target groups, a&o appeals primarily to families and group travelers, but also to individual travelers and couples. Here are different travel motivations:

  • Leisure/city tourism (40 percent)
  • Group/school trips (37 percent)
  • Families (15 percent)
  • Business trips (8 percent)

The a&o experience: from booking to check-out

The lion's share of bookings are placed online (68 percent), mainly at www.aohostels.com. Direct booking on the website takes only a few clicks and includes a best price guarantee. Groups can manage the entire booking procedure online and in real time. The website includes attractive payment methods for group bookings, ensuring that a single person is not asked to foot the bill up front. During their stay, guests receive exactly what they need without having to pay for services they don't use. Booking a family room is similarly uncomplicated: Children under 7 stay free of charge in their parent's or grandparent's room. In addition, a&o offers reliable free Wi-Fi as standard as well as the right loyalty programs for different groups of guests.

Company history: from the business concept to lasting success

Company founder Oliver Winter came up with the idea for a modern hostel concept while travelling as a student teacher. His stroke of genius was to give people – young people on tight budgets especially – the opportunity to find affordable accommodation at central locations in big cities. The concept is built on three pillars: professionalism, central location and universal ease. Oliver Winter launched his first a&o hostel with 164 beds in Berlin-Friedrichshain. The company expanded steadily in the following years and now numbers 35 establishments in 21 cities across five countries. The focus is on Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Great Britain.

a&o as an employer

"We always treat our guests and employees honestly at eye level.", emphasises Oliver Winter, CEO and founder of a&o HOTELS and HOSTELS. "So we consciously do without formal uniforms and snazzy designs. In a nutshell: everyone can be who they want to be at a&o", Winter says, summing up. a&o is the only hostel chain to run its own academy; it also has a dual degree course programme to offer its staff a range of attractive career options and is particularly open to taking on newcomers as well. The company's uninterrupted success means that a&o can offer a position to almost all of its apprentices and continue to invest in their training after graduation.

Quality & service

The a&o establishments are 4-star QMJ-certified, TÜV-certified according to the Youth Hostel Quality Standard and hold the youth travel quality seal by Reisenetz Youth Travel in Germany. The a&o Group has received the double-A rating from the TREUGAST Solutions Group for the third year running now.

Sustainability and social commitment

a&o has defined three pillars of sustainability (economic, environmental and social). They are the central components of the company's strategic focus and operative business:
a&o attaches particular importance to sound policies in the area of economic sustainability. Profits are therefore channelled straight back into the company to open up new establishments, create jobs and modernise the current portfolio. The environmental sustainability measures that a&o has initiated for all establishments include the introduction of energy and water-saving products, efficient cleaning, reduction in waste volumes, bike rental services and affordable public transport links for green mobility. Since the beginning of 2018, the a&o Hostels Berlin Friedrichshain, Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin Columbus and Berlin Mitte each have two charging stations for electric cars. a&o is committed to social sustainability as well, actively contributing to initiatives and projects in the areas of sport and education.