Mar. 19 2024

In 2022 we were commissioned by Hostelworld, a leading global Online Travel Agent focused on the hostelling category to conduct first-of-its-kind research within the tourism sector. Their goal was to produce proven sustainable travel data that would enable customers to make informed, environmentally conscious choices when selecting accommodation.

Bureau Veritas used carbon footprinting data modelling conducted across a selection of European hostels and hotels to calculate an average tCO₂e/bed. The results of this first report were eye-opening, revealing that hostels were approximately 75% less carbon intense (tCO₂e) than hotels per bed. 

Now we are releasing the second edition of this report and independent research has revealed that the carbon impact gap between hostels and hotels has widened further.


This year’s dataset expanded, now benchmarking 30,697 beds against the average emissions per assumed PAX in representative European hotel chains. And this year, hostels were found to be 82% less carbon intense (tCO₂e) than hotels per bed.

These results, alongside the wider report entitled ‘Understanding The Carbon Impact Of Hostels vs Hotels’ support the claim that hostels are the more climate-friendly accommodation choice for increasingly environmentally conscious travellers.

the statistics

Our findings show that the average carbon impact per hostel bed, in the European region in 2022, was 0.25 tCO₂e. In comparison, the average carbon impact per hotel bed, in the European region for the same year, was 1.43 tCO₂e on a location-based basis.

Comparing these results with the 2022 report, we note that hostel carbon emissions have reduced from 0.30 tCO₂e to 0.25 tCO₂e. Whereas hotel carbon emissions have increased from 1.18 tCO₂e to a range of 1.37 tCO₂e to 1.43 tCO₂e.

After conducting the report, we took the opportunity to find out more about Hostelworld’s sustainability ambitions: 

Q. What actions do you hope this report will cause consumers/ hostels to take?  

A. The initial goal for this report was to validate the inherent sustainability of hostels, and this has not changed.  Prior to the publication of the first report no formal validation of this nature existed in the public domain, so this first-of-its-kind report proved that hostels produce significantly less carbon emissions than a subset of their hotel counterparts. The numbers this year showing that hostels produce 82% less emissions than the hotels analysed are even more convincing that hostels are the most sustainable accommodation choice. 

Our 18-35 year old customer base is widely regarded as the travel cohort most likely to consider sustainable travel options. In our most recent customer survey, 50% of 7.5k respondents said sustainability played a role in their decision making when selecting where and how they travel. The publication of this report plays a vital role in substantiating the sustainability of hostels to the travel community. Moreover, it proves to our partner hostels that we are invested in working with them to celebrate, and to progress, the immense work being carried out by the sector.

Q. What other sustainability trends are you seeing in the sector?

A. When we probed our consumer base as to the specific way in which sustainability plays a role in their travel plans, 70% pack carry-on luggage only, 67% travel overland where possible and 60% choose dorms instead of private rooms. In fact 82% of respondents stated that they believe hostels are more sustainable than other accommodation types. This number is +6% YoY. When asked why they think hostels are more sustainable than other accommodation types, the top 3 responses were: 

  • because of the number of travellers sharing a room
  • because of the shared social spaces
  • because less electricity and water is used by hostels 

Other reasons given include the reduced use of plastics, the reduction in pressure on local rental markets and hostels’ role as a community hub.

Q. Why do Hostelworld continue to partner with Bureau Veritas?

A. Commenting on working with Bureau Veritas, Caroline Sherry, CFO & ESG Steer Co-lead, Hostelworld, adds: “We are really pleased with the results of our continued collaboration with Bureau Veritas.  To see increasingly positive results in this, the second edition of the report, further validates the inherent sustainability of hostels for our customer base. This report is an invaluable tool in substantiating hostels as the pioneers of sustainable travel. 

Alongside this report, we worked closely with Bureau Veritas to build a bespoke sustainability framework for the hostel sector. We saw a lot of opportunities to harmonise both pieces of work through working with one tried and tested organisation on both projects.


Hostelworld is committed to maintaining a carbon label each year with a reputable third party. In 2023, for the third year running, Hostelworld was accredited with a 'Funding Climate Action' label with South Pole recognising its diligence in reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Its reduction to a nominal level has exceeded the required targets set under science-based target requirements outlined for small and medium enterprises. The organisation publicly reports on its carbon emissions in its annual reports and will continue to work with independent organisations to verify its progress.


Bureau Veritas has vast experience and technical expertise in helping some of the world’s largest organisations improve their sustainability performance in several sectors. As part of the business’ Greenline services, they undertake a variety of research, measurement, modelling and data analysis services to support businesses in identifying their key areas of focus around sustainability, and ensure compliance with ESG strategies and sustainability regulation.