Hostel market on the rise in Siberia

Alena Donskaya, 16.06.2014 13:58
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In 2013, a new kind of accommodation facilities – hostels, aimed mainly at young people, started developing in Novosibirsk. In Russia, hostels are most widespread in St. Petersburg, while in Novosibirsk they are still nascent.

'There is a serious issue concerning hostels in our country: there are still no laws to regulate their activities. Starting January 2014, a national standard for the services of small accommodation facilities has been in effect. This document, drawn up by the Ministry of Culture, makes hostels a part of the system of either mini-hotels, with 5 to 15 rooms, or small inns, with 15 or more rooms. New regulations and standards contain definitions for guest rooms, mini-hotels and small inns. However, the list lacks a clear definition for a 'hostel' – instead, they are categorized as ‘inns for young people’, which makes it harder to evaluate accommodation facilities. We have already run into the obstacle of not being able to properly certify hostels,' says Olga Stus, accommodation certification expert of the Novosibirsk Center for Certification and Production Quality Monitoring.

There are currently 6 hostels in Novosibirsk, each with a different pricing policy. Price for a stay starts at 500 rubles ($14.5) for a bed in a room for 5-6-8 people with bunk beds and reaches 1,600 rubles ($46.5) when it comes to rooms for 3-5 people. However, staying in an inn can be more budget-friendly and comfortable.

‘In a standard inn, you would get bed & breakfast for 1,600 rubles. Also, some hotels, depending on their category, can rival hostel prices. For instance, the prices in suburban departmental inn ‘Rosselkhozakademiya’ start at 350 rubles ($10) for a bed in a standard twin room. Bed & breakfast in the least expensive triple room in municipal inn ‘Severnaya’ costs 560-620 rubles ($16-18). Also, all accommodation facilities, especially inns, have security systems. Security in hostels, however, leaves much to be desired, since they can still be located in a simple residential house. Such facilities cannot guarantee the safety of people's life and belongings,' says Olga Stus.

She believes that strict supervisory measures need to be applied when regulating small hotel business, which comprises hostels. Currently, only Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection (Rospotrebnadzor) is able to inspect hostels and small inns once every three years. They get fined only in case of a blatant violation or due to a client’s complaints. However, consumers rarely realize that their rights are being infringed, and even more rarely they are willing to go to authorities in order to file an official complaint.

'Since owners of hostels are doing business under the Russian law, they must abide by this law and meet all of its requirements for accommodation facilities,' says the expert.

A bill that aims to prohibit opening inns and hotels in blocks of flats has already been introduced to the State Duma.

Страны, регионы и города: Russia
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