Cost of living crisis prompts YHA to sell off 20 of its 150 hostels

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Covid lockdowns and current pressures on finances are behind sales but there are hopes that buyers will operate the properties as indie hostels

After nearly 100 years of providing “simple accommodation for all”, the Youth Hostel Association is selling 20 of its 150 hostels in England and Wales. In a statement, the YHA said the decision had been taken after a difficult few years for the charity. “Pandemic shutdowns, the cost of living crisis and steep inflation have affected us like other charities and hospitality providers,” it said.

The sell-off is the first step in a three-year business plan announced on 23 June “to secure YHA’s long-term prosperity”. The Covid pandemic hit the charity hard: the YHA lost more than 80% of its income in 2020/21. Now 90% of its income comes from just 60% of its hostels. The restructure will focus on raising occupancy at the more popular properties, aiming to increase customers by 30% while reducing staff by 20%.

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