The companies changing the face of travelling

Travel companies are getting noticed. The fact that online accommodation site Airbnb’s recent rebrand was commented on so widely – both in positive and not-so-positive ways – shows that the affordable travel sector is really stepping into the limelight now. At the same time, other businesses, like hostelling firm Generator, are quickly getting a reputation for helping people to see the world on a budget. It all stems from the cultural cache of Millennials, the 18-24 demographic who want special experiences that don’t cost the earth. At the same time, though, these amazingly designed spots are attracting people from all walks of life! Is this the start of a new niche in the travel sector?

Generator is the hostel company that has changed expectations of how young people travel in Europe. It has locations in 7 European cities including Vienna (in the picture above), Hamburg and Dublin. Earlier this year the company completed the refurbishment of its London outpost, and last year announced that its next two destinations would be Paris and Rome. The group, which is backed by private equity firm Patron Capital, offers rooms that start at around £10 per night, great value compared to conventional prices in B&Bs or smaller hotels.

Generator’s locations offer cool activities and entertainment, creating a deliberately outgoing, lively atmosphere. Now, even more upmarket businesses are getting in on the act when it comes to travelling cheap. The boutique Hoxton Hotel, which is based in London’s Shoreditch, offers five rooms per night for just £1, a promotion that has really paid dividends. Like Generator, it is expanding. A new establishment in Holborn is gearing up to open its doors later in the summer. It seems that these ventures are at the vanguard of a new movement bringing affordable travel to Europe’s cities.

As mentioned earlier, Airbnb could be the most important single brand in the travel sector right now, the reason its rebrand has captured an amazing amount of media attention. The new design focuses on streamlining the booking process, with the sophisticated look and feel attendant to Airbnb’s status as a more mature company. Airbnb’s ability to cater for more than just value destinations has been made clearer, too. The branding also includes the Bélo , a new logo that is said to represent a person with arms raised above the head – a nice way to embody the fun loving, free-spirited nature of what Airbnb does.

The success of these businesses is largely due to the growing appetite of young people to travel further and for longer than previous generations. Writing in The Atlantic, Amanda Machado states that the recession climate of the last five years or so has created a need for young people to “redefine the very meaning of international travel, foregoing standard vacations in favour of extended, meaningful experiences.” As well as budgets, young people are also looking for accommodation that is an experience in itself. It’s unsurprising that companies are stepping in to fill this kind of gap, providing a service that gives high design and quality – always geared around tech and social media – alongside the financial accessibility that is so important.

It’s heartening to see companies being able to tailor their business models to discerning young consumers with such success. Let’s hope that more companies like Generator and Airbnb increase competitiveness in the space! How much growth do you think there still is in the Millennial travel segment? Let me know at, and have a brilliant weekend.