Norman H wrote:I understand that they're in business to make a profit, but it's sad that they no longer appear to be about about providing cheap accommodation for people on a budget.
£25/night for a bed in a shared dorm isn't great value. I'd happily pay that for a bed in an en suite private room, but otherwise I'd rather camp or look for other alternatives. A group of 4 of us did a double C2C in Devon earlier in the year and I booked a 6 berth self catering apartment in Appledore for 2 days at a cost of £165. It was very comfortable and at least we only had to listen to our own snoring.
My other concern is their exclusive use deals for schools and other groups at off peak times. I suspect that these bring in a lot of revenue, especially as most groups don't self cater. But it makes booking certain hostels quite difficult. Some hostels will show no availability looking into the long term future. I understand that this is because they are being held for group bookings.
Coincidentally my membership is due for renewal (actually SYHA) and I'm seriously questioning what benefits membership brings.
The Youth Hostels are not-for-profit. If you read some of the bumff on the website/AGM matierials the average paying guest's payments help subsidise not so much schools (though their cost rating makes school trips possible, for overseas schools and schools in the nations of these isles), but youth groups from disadvantaged areas or working with groups with special needs/vulnerable. I know Scottish Women's Aid had a project allowing family holidays for disadvangated families/single parents (at affordable costs).
I think they have put up their generaly prices to keep in line with other hostels (that may or may not be less reputable), to pay staff a living wage now they are staffed by paid employees, and your hosteller no longer does chores as of old (and many guests don't clear up after themselves adequately I have found so I end up wiping down the entire kitchen after I have cooked); and of course to pay for upgrading of hostels to bring in younger guests who now expect certain standards - no more but and ben type accomodation like the old Glendevon Hostel or fading institutional grandeur like (the lamented) Melrose Hostel or the lodge on LochLOmond.
You and I may be of an inclination to arrive on bike, to a remote location far from public transport nexes with our own tins of all day breakfast and most of the eggs unbroken, but I do not think that is the demographic of low-cost holiday makers/hostellers any more. It causes great sadness that (I am looking at the St Cuthbert Way/4 Abbeys route for myself, and also a tour of Norfolk/the Broads/Walsingham) there are so few youth hostels in these area, even those with the added extras of Glamping or whatever, but I think this plan is on their part a survival strategy (not a death wish).
I personally (as a carer, now, and on a modest income) have no problem paying £30/night for a dorm - in theory - or £60 a night for a two person room with my son who could not be in a male dorm as u16; when he was younger the SYHA, YHA and Danhostels