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A&O Hostels
The a&o chain was founded in 2000 by Oliver Winter (CEO till today) and Michael Kluge (retired 2016). To this day, it is the biggest private owned hostel chain in Europe operating 39 houses in 23 cities. a&o has managed its growth from its own resources with profit flowing back directly into the company. In order to finance new properties in great European cities and to modernize existing hotels, the a&o chain has gained over TPG Real Estate in January 2017 as a competent shareholder. What makes a&o special and what makes them the most competitive company in the low-budget sector in Europe? The company’s founders always wanted to create a professionally run, inexpensive and yet still very central place to stay for backpackers, youth groups and families. The modern hostel concept is based on three fundamental pillars: professionalism, central location and open to everyone. This distinguishes a&o completely from a youth hostel. a&o presents itself in the market distinctively and consistently, regardless in which city. This branding and market leadership in the youth travel segment has created a product that has a high recognition value. Moreover, a&o has optimised the concept such that all bookings done online are entered fully automatically in the auto-update system developed in-house, thus allowing a&o to offer very dynamic price management. The chain is the only provider with a real-time booking tool for groups. Through these innovations, a flexible workforce and a centrally
managed sales and marketing team a&o is able to keep personnel costs at 12 %, much below the branch average. A&o do not just has strong links to they’re employees, by means of a turnover commission, but also to the organizers and customers they have won with their professionalism!