Flashpacks displace backpacks

BANGKOK, 9 November 2016: Flash packing is making it mark on Southeast Asia’s tourism trade, according to the latest C9 Hotelworks report, released on Monday.

It is called a “new twist with a rising segment of second generation upmarket hostels” now attracting flashpackers who unlike backpackers can afford a higher rate more in keeping with budget-class hotels.

With a market size of over 1,200 properties and nearly 52,000 beds, the new and improved product is turning the heads of traditional hotels.

inside no 5According to the report “Hotel Market Trends in Southeast Asia” released by hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks there was a 42% surge in new beds coming online in the ‘flashpacker’ category between 2015 and the third quarter of this year.

Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are now the top three players in the region, with Indonesia narrowing the margin with year-on-year growth of 73%.

Speaking about this evolving new accommodation space, C9’s Managing Director, Bill Barnett, said: “Hostels are unlike hotels as average rates are calculated on a per bed basis, compared to hotels which use a per room rate. Our research across Southeast Asia shows that if comparing the two accommodation models side-by-side, the average room rates in newer hostel properties are matching or exceeding those in the more established budget hotel tier.”

What has surprised many analysts is the growth in upscale hostel properties that now also offer a number of creatively designed private rooms.

“Ultimately the mix of accommodation and bed types in what are being term ‘poshtels’ attracts not only solo travellers and couples, but also taps the fast tracking friends and family group. Hostels are also set to take advantage of Asia’s low-cost airline carrier trajectory in a significant way,” added Mr Barnett.

C9’s research shows there are different business model in city and non-city locations. Although the market average is 4.1 beds per room, this number shoots up in urban locations like Singapore where the average is just over 6 beds per room.

Land prices in urban locations remain a significant factor, although unlike the more inflexible institutional approach to branded budget hotels; hostels can easily adapt to retro-fits and re-purposed real estate, hence an increasing number of groups are now developing a critical mass of properties.

Summing up the sector, Barnett said: “In Europe chains such as Generator and Meininger have attracted institutional investment to spur expansion, and we are already seeing private equity players in Southeast Asia start to chase the trail of what is arguable the region’s must exciting travel space.”

(Source: C9 Hotelworks)

inside no 5.1 SE Asia Hostel Market City vs. Non-City Comparison.
SE Asia Hostel Market City vs. Non-City Comparison.
inside no 5.2 SE Asia Hostel Market 2016 vs. 2015 Country Comparison.
SE Asia Hostel Market 2016 vs. 2015 Country Comparison.