Date of Completion

Spring 5-2-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

David Souder

Honors Major



Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | International Business | Marketing | Operations and Supply Chain Management | Other Business | Other Economics | Strategic Management Policy | Tourism and Travel


At their cores, hotels and hostels are similar in that they provide a place for travelers to stay. Despite this core similarity, the structures of the two industries are radically different. The hotel industry began in the Middle Ages and has given rise to massive multinational companies, many managing more than four thousand hotels. In stark contrast, the hostel industry began in 1909 and is mostly comprised of independently owned and operated guesthouses, with the largest global chain comprising of less than twenty properties. This study first defines the hotel and hostel industries and examines the different experiences they offer and customers they serve. It next explores, compares, and contrasts the business strategies of the hotel and hostel industries. Specifically it addresses the contrast in corporate governance structures, resulting from fundamental differences in transactional efficiencies, in an effort to discover how these two industries can be so similar and yet so different.