A record year for A&O

2017 sees more than 4 Million overnight stays for the first time ever

A&O, Europe's largest hostel chain, recorded over 4 million overnight stays in 2017 - a first for the company - thereby impressively demonstrating its continuing success. The greatest growth can be seen in the international cities of Amsterdam, Prague, Graz and Salzburg.

The hostel chain boasts top locations in interesting cities and rates to suit all kinds of budgets. The number 1 in online sales, A&O has proven itself to have a good nose for digitisation and it was its own booking site, aohostels.com, that achieved the greatest growth proportionally. By using exciting marketing campaigns aimed at its young and internet-savvy target groups, the company continues to maintain a strong presence on social media.

Key to success no. 1: Top locations for the most modest of Budgets
On average, A&O experiences annual growth of 15 percent and opens at least two new establishments each year. As a hostel group, A&O benefits from the ever increasing demand for city centre locations at low prices. City tourism is booming - for mini-trips with friends and family as well as school and club trips. A&O was quick in recognising this and opened its first hostel in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin in 2000. By virtue of its own strengths, A&O grew to become the market leader in the low-budget hotel and hostel segment in Berlin - now having over 4,200 beds across four establishments. Today, 34 hostels in 22 cities and six countries belong to the A&O family. Since 2017, A&O has had an institutional partner in the form of TPG Real Estate and has been rapidly developing new locations in Europe.

"With TPG as a strong investment partner, we can take an even more targeted approach to our plans for expansion in Europe. Our aim is to expand into five new countries within five years," explains CEO Oliver Winter. In 2017, new A&O hostels were opened in Copenhagen, Bremen and Venice, and there are currently plans for further openings in Frankfurt and Venice in 2018. The newly opened hostels were given or are currently being given a makeover with a redesign of the public areas by the Vienna-based architectural firm, BWM, that A&O hopes will particularly appeal to those travelling alone. Over the coming years, all establishments will gradually be brought into line with the new branding concept.

Key to success no. 2: Digitisation
With over four million users and almost seven million hits throughout the year, aohotels.com has become A&O's most important sales channel. The website is currently available in 12 languages and is continually being optimised further. A new tool, designed to facilitate group bookings in real time, has been implemented this year.
An online marketing study by digitaleffects puts A&O ahead of the competition in the areas of SEO, SEA and social media marketing. Over 50,000 Facebook fans and a growing number of Instagram and YouTube followers are testament to how effective the hostel chain's presence on social media has been.

Key to success no. 3: Clever marketing campaigns
New and clever marketing campaigns continue to grab the attention of A&O's target groups. Everybody is talking about Bitcoin - at A&O you can already use them to pay! Is your travel budget nearly exhausted by the end of the year? During the week before Christmas, A&O is offering overnight rates of just 2 euros in all cities, for all types of room. Strategic marketing campaigns like these demonstrate both the company's flexibility and its readiness to prove its price Leadership.