I’ve stayed in dozens of hostels around the world. My biggest piece of money-saving advice that I can give you is to ALWAYS book your hostel directly on the hostel’s website. You see, when you book your hostel through a hostel search engine like Hostelworld, you are actually paying more because of hidden fees that go directly into Hostelworld’s pockets. These Hostelworld fees can be avoided by booking your hostel direct.
Hostelworld Booking Fees and Commissions
Hostelworld receives a commission between 10% and 25% for each booking that is made through their website or app. This commission is usually built into the price of the booking and passed along to you as the guest. You end up paying between 10% and 25% more when you book through Hostelworld because of these Hostelworld fees.
When you book your hostel through Hostelworld, your money is split between Hostelworld and the hostel itself. In fact, the deposit that you pay when booking your hostel through Hostelworld goes directly to Hostelworld and the hostel never sees it.
Booking directly with the hostel is always going to be cheaper. I’ve never come across a case where it was more expensive to book a hostel directly. On the flip side, it will never be cheaper to book a hostel on Hostelworld.
Hostelworld vs Direct Booking
Let’s compare prices on a hostel’s website to prices on Hostelworld. This will show you exactly how much Hostelworld is overcharging you.
Consider this example. A bed in a 10 person dorm for two nights at Urban House Copenhagen costs $37.14 when booked directly on Meininger’s website.
On the other hand, the same bed in the 10 person dorm for the same two nights at Urban House Copenhagen costs $43.45 when booked through Hostelworld.
So when booking this hostel on Hostelworld, you pay an extra $6.31 which is 17% more.
|Hostelworld||Booking Hostel Direct|
|2 nights||2 nights|
|1 guest||1 guest|
|10 person dorm||10 person dorm|
Notice how the Hostelworld Payable Now amount is $6.05. It isn’t surprising that the price difference between booking direct and booking on Hostelworld is pretty darn close to the deposit amount. I’d argue that the only reason these dollar amounts differ is because of how each website is performing currency conversions.
As you know by now, the deposit is going directly to Hostelworld and the hostel never sees it. Essentially, the deposit is the premium you pay for using Hostelworld and can be completely avoided by booking your hostel directly on the hostel’s website.
Always Book Your Bed Directly with the Hostel
Hostelworld is no doubt the leading hostel search engine. Hostelworld handles thousands of bookings everyday. Unfortunately, the vast majority of travelers are clueless that they are paying more than they should by using Hostelworld.
I’ve talked to a few hostel owners about this topic, and every time I hear the same story. Since Hostelworld is the go-to hostel search engine nowadays, a hostel is missing out on a lot of potential bookings if it isn’t listed on Hostelworld.
In order to stay relevant and competitive, hostel owners feel obligated to list their hostel on hostel search engines such as Hostelworld.
Therefore, the hostel has two choices: incorporate the Hostelworld commission into the price of the bed or take a loss. Since most hostels are so cheap to begin with, they don’t really have the wiggle room to offer their beds for any less. So unfortunately what most hostels do is increase the price of their listing on Hostelworld and pass the Hostelworld fee onto their guests.
Save Money By Booking Your Hostel Direct
It’s okay to use Hostelworld to search for your hostel. I do it all the time. The reviews and ratings on Hostelworld are quite invaluable. Additionally, to filter and sort hostels based on your specific criteria is super helpful. But when it comes time to book, use the hostel’s website to make your booking direct. This will save you between 10% and 25% on the cost of your hostel. And as a budget backpacker, every penny counts!
Safe and happy travels my friends!