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a&o Hostels announces plans to invest €500 million towards Expansion

March 11th 2024, London: Leading European hostel chain a&o will invest approximately 500 million euros towards company expansion, with the conversion of existing office and retail properties into accommodation earmarked as a key area for growth. Founder and CEO Oliver Winter has expressed a flexibility with regards to property contracts: “Whether lease or ownership, new build or conversion, our property expansion covers a wide variety of property types. We are flexible and we want to grow“, he said.  

When compared to the construction of a new building, a&o sees property conversion as a key enabler for the reduction of CO2 emissions, contributing to the goal of becoming Europe's first net zero hostel chain by 2025. According to experts, the savings are equivalent to the CO2 emissions of up to 30 years of operation. Currently, a&o‘s CO2 footprint is 3.73 kilograms per night, which is up to 80 percent lower than industry competitors. 
The company’s latest property, a&o Florence, is another successful example of the company’s track record in office conversions and will offer 470 beds in walking distance of Piazza del Duomo in the historic city centre. 

Winter has also announced plans to look at expanding a&o’s hostel presence across Europe in key locations such as London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Berlin, Munich, Prague and Amsterdam. Winter has revealed the company is already engaged in some exciting negotiations,  and a&o executives will be at MIPIM (Cannes, 12-15 March) this week with the objective of accelerating their expansion.  
Currently, a&o’s 38 hostels in 25 cities and nine 9 European countries have one thing in common - a central location that is easily accessible by public transport. In addition, the conversion of former office and commercial properties gives the locations an individual character: "We are very flexible in terms of size and floor plans, which gives us a head start and makes it easier and faster to implement" says Winter. 

a&o Hostels is benefiting from the momentum of an exceptionally strong performance in 2023, with 6.1 million overnight stays, 2.7 million guests and a turnover of 217 million euros. The travel industry's resurgence, as highlighted by this year's ITB in Berlin, indicates a sustained increase in travel interest, with summer bookings already exceeding pre-pandemic levels of 2019.