The service to be marketed is the chain of Youth Hostels of YHA International. YHA, popularly known as Youth Hostel, is the world's leading budget accommodation network founded by Richard SCHIRRMANN, a German teacher who dreamed up the idea as a quality budget accommodation for young European travelers, now known as backpackers. Expansion of YHA has been swift across Europe and Australasia (see Appendix 1), particularly trusted for assured cleanliness, comfort, value-for-money, global friendship, and environmental preservation. YHAs mission is to promote a greater understanding of the world and its people through traveling. Sixty years later, YHA has grown its presence to comprise 4,000 locations in sixty countries. The emphasis upon friendly informality is very much in evidence in all hostels and friendship are easily made as members exchange their travel experiences whilst preparing their evening meal in the communal kitchens or when relaxing over a mug of cocoa in the lounge before retiring to bed.
Accommodations range from purposed-built hostels, to historic houses, to boats, flourishing on a unique image of international adventures, friendship, hedonistic, communal lifestyle, and love and care for environment for budget-conscious young travellers. At the various hostels, the customers from multi walks of life, ranging from independent travellers and families, as well as groups from domestic areas and overseas receive a warm, welcoming and informal venue at which members from diverse backgrounds and different countries can meet in comfort and friendship.
While YHA has been highly successful with over 600 YHAs in Germany, 300 in Japan, 250 in Britain, and 120 in Australia, it has not been successful in penetrating some countries, particularly those in Southeast Asia, the region which is experiencing a significant growth rate in tourism especially among the youth (see Appendix 2) (with Thailand rated No.1 destination from Lonely Planet survey in 2003 and Malaysias influx of tourists growing at over 50%.) The focus of the report is hence to analyze the market opportunities of YHA, now headquartered in Great Britain, to expand its budget hostel offering geographically.
In particular, the following steps will be pursued.