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Leading Berlin based hostel group a&o has announced company best annual results for 2023, with 6.1 million overnight stays recorded throughout the year, an increase of 9.9% from 2022 (5.55 million). The company welcomed 2.7 million guests during this period, which marks a 22.7% increase from the previous year (2.2 million), and a turnover of €217 million, a 26.2% increase from 2022 (€172 million).

2023 saw a&o Hostels celebrate several impressive developments, including announcing plans for the opening of a&o Florence in the summer of 2024, as the company enjoyed a stellar year for room occupancy (76%) and record-breaking revenue across their 38 hostels in 25 cities and nine European countries. Room occupancy increased from 67% recorded in 2022, to 76% which points towards the growing appetite for hostel accommodation across Europe.  

Speaking on the performance review, a&o Hostels CEO Oliver Winter said: “We have big plans for the future and are heading towards key milestones in our company history, with new properties, sustainability breakthroughs and a future-oriented work culture. We’re so proud to have recorded fantastic results for 2023”.

Hostel momentum grows across Europe as UK guests help drive numbers 

With Europe’s leading privately owned hostel chain recording their best annual performance to date, Oliver Winter believes the signs are positive for the industry. “There is a robust momentum building for the hostel sector. In economically challenging times, travellers continue to seek the best value for money, with hostels providing a comfortable, efficient and affordable option to explore the best cities in Europe”, he said. 

Once guests have experienced how it works once, it’s not uncommon for them to return again and again, which feeds into sustainable growth for the company. The proportion of business travellers has also reached a double-digit percentage range, which is opening up new opportunities and services for different traveller types”, he added.

UK nationals represented 259,385 overnight stays across a&o properties in 2023, the third highest market behind Germany (3.3m) and the Netherlands (469,426).

Sustainability thought-leadership – Net Zero 2025 goal
a&o Hostels has a bold ambition to be Europe’s first net zero hostel chain by the year 2025. Last year the company released its first sustainability report as well as outlining plans for an investment of approximately €2 million in energy-efficient construction and refurbishment measures among other things. In the lead up to 2025, the ESG and green team at a&o continue to address challenges and outline framework to reduce the company’s carbon footprint per overnight stay, with the aim to reduce the current figure of 3.73 kilograms to less than 3.0 kilograms. Since a&o measurements began in 2015, the  company has achieved a reduction in emissions of around 56% - undercutting the competition by up to 80%.

In December 2023 it was announced that a&o Venice made history as the first hostel in Europe to achieve a GreenSign level 5 standard, becoming one of only 19 properties across the continent to achieve the top sustainability accreditation. A total of approximately 800 hotels and alternative accommodation properties are currently certified by the GreenSign Institute in Europe, which examines current sustainability performances.

Affordable, sustainable travel remains our priority and as this is key to our operations and model for the future. We take great responsibility in our sustainable output and aim to shed light for the rest of the industry to follow suit so the travel sector can work collaboratively towards a prosperous future for people and planet”, said Winter.

Employer brand: flexibility, diversity, mentoring  
a&o is made up of employees from 48 nations, making it a truly multi-cultural brand. The native language of German is no longer a prerequisite at the reception desks of the 25 domestic locations. A flexible way of working is offered to staff including flexible hours and time models, as well as mentoring, training and education programmes.  

Meanwhile, a&o received The German App Award 2024 the first time. The award was granted based on 30,000 consumer votes cast on user-friendliness and customer service, with a&o emerging as the winner in the "Mobility & Travel" category (more information to follow).

How are people booking?

a&o Hostels recorded 600,000 calls to the reservation hotline, over 85,000 chatbot sessions and 250,000 app users. 

New opening 2024 - a&o Florence 
Last year a&o announced plans for an early summer opening for their next European property in Florence. Centrally located at the Campo di Marte train station, a&o Florence is located less than 30 minutes by foot from the Piazza del Duomo in the historic city center. The 39th property of the a&o Hostels portfolio will offer 121 rooms in a former administrative building at Via Mannelli 119.