Incorporating heterogeneity of travelers’ preferences into the overall hostel performance rating


  • Marija Kuzmanović University of Belgrade, Faculty of Organizational Sciences, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Milena Vukić The College of Hotel Management in Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia



Hostel; discrete choice analysis; attribute importance scores; preference-based clustering; simulation; weighted performance rating.


Hostels have become a very popular form of accommodation and their varieties have grown steadily in recent years. To ensure the sustainability of this business model, it is necessary to understand the main drivers influencing travelers to choose a hostel accommodation. For this purpose, we conducted an online survey using convenience sampling and purposive sampling techniques. Respondents' preferences to six hostel attributes (cleanliness, location, staff, atmosphere, facilities, and cancellation policy) were determined using discrete choice analysis. Sample results showed that the most important attributes are cleanliness and location, while the atmosphere is the least important one. However, widespread heterogeneity in preferences was observed, and cluster analyzes identified three distinct groups of travelers: “cleanliness sticklers”, “location demanders” and “party seekers”.  Facilities and atmosphere were found to be very important attributes for particular clusters. These findings can help design a marketing strategy for each of the identified segments to ensure sustainable business. Finally, we have proposed a new approach to calculating the hostel overall rating based on attribute importance, which shows much better discriminatory power compared to the traditional average-based approach.


Download data is not yet available.


Amblee, N. (2015). The impact of cleanliness on customer perceptions of security in hostels: A WOM-based approach. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 49, 37-39, doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2015.04.011.

Ban, H.J., Choi, H., Choi, E.K., Lee, S., & Kim, H.S. (2019). Investigating Key Attributes in Experience and Satisfaction of Hotel Customer Using Online Review Data. Sustainability, 11(23), 6570, doi:10.3390/su11236570

Belz, F.M., & Binder, J.K. (2017). Sustainable entrepreneurship: A convergent process model. Business Strategy and the Environment, 26(1), 1-17, doi:10.1002/bse.1887.

Ben-Akiva, M., McFadden, D., & Train, K. (2019). Foundations of stated preference elicitation: Consumer behavior and choice-based conjoint analysis. Foundations and Trends® in Econometrics, 10(1-2), 1-144, doi: 10.1561/0800000036.

Ben-Akiva, M.E., & Lerman, S.R. (1985). Discrete choice analysis: theory and application to travel demand, Volume 9. MIT press. 1985.

Brochado, A., Rita, P., & Gameiro, C. (2015). Exploring backpackers’ perceptions of the hostel service quality. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(8), 1839-1855, doi:10.1108/IJCHM-03-2014-0145.

Capitello, R., Agnoli, L., Charters, S., & Begalli, D. (2017). Exploring place image from visitors' expected and lived experiences: A discrete choice approach. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 16(1), 19-34, doi:10.1362/147539217X14909732699462.

Cave, J., Thyne, M., & Ryan, C. (2008). Perceptions of backpacker accommodation facilities: a comparative study of Scotland and New Zealand. In Backpacker tourism: Concepts and profiles (pp. 215-246), Hannam, K., Atelievic, I. Eds.;. Channel View Publications: Clevedon, 2008.

Chang, K., Chien, H., Cheng, H., & Chen, H.I. (2018). The Impacts of Tourism Development in Rural Indigenous Destinations: An Investigation of the Local Residents’ Perception Using Choice Modeling. Sustainability, 10(12), 4766, doi:10.3390/su10124766

Chitty, B., Ward, S., & Chua, C. (2007). An application of the ECSI model as a predictor of satisfaction and loyalty for backpacker hostels. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 25(6), 563-580, doi:10.1108/02634500710819941.

Cró, S., & Martins, A.M. (2017). The importance of security for hostel price premiums: European empirical evidence. Tourism Management, 60, 159-165, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2016.11.021.

de Bekker-Grob, E.W., Donkers, B., Jonker, M.F., & Stolk, E.A. (2015). Sample size requirements for discrete-choice experiments in healthcare: a practical guide. The Patient-Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, 8(5), 373-384.

de Oliveira Santos, G.E. (2016). Worldwide hedonic prices of subjective characteristics of hostels. Tourism Management, 52, 451-454, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2015.07.001.

Eugenio-Martin, J.L., & Inchausti-Sintes, F. (2016). Low-cost travel and tourism expenditures. Annals of Tourism Research, 57, 140-159.

Farr, C, 2020. When will we start traveling again? Here’s what experts are saying. Accessed on 18 May 2020.

González, R.M., Marrero, Á.S., & Navarro-Ibáñez, M. (2018). Tourists’ travel time values using discrete choice models: the recreational value of the Teide National Park. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 26(12), 2021-2042. doi:10.1080/09669582.2018.1527342

Gössling, S., & Michael Hall, C. (2019). Sharing versus collaborative economy: how to align ICT developments and the SDGs in tourism?. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(1), 74-96. doi: 10.1080/09669582.2018.1560455.

Hecht, J.A., & Martin, D. (2006). Backpacking and hostel-picking: an analysis from Canada. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 18(1), 69-77. doi:10.1108/09596110610641993.

Hory, G., Major, Z., Müllner, P., & Benko, M. (2017). Exploration of spatial design issues at backpacker hostels in Budapest׳ s historic center: Informality, density, and adaptability. Frontiers of architectural research, 6(2), 157-168, doi:10.1016/j.foar.2017.02.005.

Kim, D., & Park, B. (2017). The moderating role of context in the effects of choice attributes on hotel choice: A discrete choice experiment. Tourism Management, 63, 439-451, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2017.07.014.

Kuzmanovic, M., & Savic, G. (2020). Avoiding the Privacy Paradox Using Preference-Based Segmentation: A Conjoint Analysis Approach. Electronics, 9(9), 1382. doi: 10.3390/electronics9091382

Kuzmanovic, M., Makajic-Nikolic, D., & Nikolic, N. (2020). Preference based portfolio for private investors: Discrete choice analysis approach. Mathematics, 8(1), 30, doi:10.3390/math8010030.

Lemus-Aguilar, I., Morales-Alonso, G., Ramirez-Portilla, A., & Hidalgo, A. (2019). Sustainable Business Models through the Lens of Organizational Design: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability, 11(19), 5379, doi:10.3390/su11195379

Lima, R., & Vicente, P. (2017). Exploring the relationship between hostel service quality and guests’ satisfaction: a comparison between younger and older guests. eRTR, 5-6, 242-257.

Lin, Y. C., Chen, T., & Wang, L. C. (2018). Integer nonlinear programming and optimized weighted-average approach for mobile hotel recommendation by considering travelers’ unknown preferences. Operational Research, 18(3), 625-643.

Mangham, L.J., Hanason, K., & McPake, B. (2009). How to do (or not to do)… Designing a discrete choice experiment for application in a low-income country. Health policy and planning, 24(2), 151-158, doi:10.1093/heapol/czn047.

Martins, M.R., Rachão, S., & Costa, R.A.D. (2018). Electronic word of mouth: Does it really matter to backpackers? Booking website reviews as an indicator for hostels’ quality services. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 19(4), 415-441, doi:10.1080/1528008X.2018.1429980.

Mihalic, T. (2014). Tourism and Economic Development Issues. In Tourism and Development. Concepts and Issues, 2nd ed. (pp. 77-117), Sharpley, R., Telfer, D., (Eds.), Channel View Publications: Toronto.

Muñoz-Fernández, G., Sánchez-Cañizares, S., & Infante, S. (2016). Youth and Tourism Perspective. Application to Hostels. Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, 16(1), 71-88.

Musa, G., & Thirumoorthi, T. (2011). Red Palm: exploring service quality and servicescape of the best backpacker hostel in Asia. Current Issues in Tourism, 14(2), 103-120, doi:10.1080/13683500903511125.

Nash, R., Thyne, M., & Davies, S. (2006). An investigation into customer satisfaction levels in the budget accommodation sector in Scotland: A case study of backpacker tourists and the Scottish Youth Hostels Association. Tourism Management, 27(3), 525-532, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2005.01.001.

Nguyen, P. T. (2020). The future of budget accommodation post COVID-19: Case study: Cheapsleep Hostel Helsinki, LAB University of Applied Sciences,

Norris, G., Qureshi, F., Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2014). Introduction to Statistics with SPSS for Social Science; Routledge.

O׳Regan, M. (2010). Backpacker Hostels: Place and Performance. In Beyond backpacker tourism: Mobilities and experiences (pp. 85-102); Hannam, K., Diekmann, A.; Channel View Publications: Bristol, UK.

Oliveira-Brochado, A., & Gameiro, C. (2013). Toward a better understanding of backpackers’ motivations. Tékhne, 11(2), 92-99, doi:10.1016/j.tekhne.2013.11.001.

Oppewal, H., Huybers, T., & Crouch, G.I. (2015). Tourist destination and experience choice: A choice experimental analysis of decision sequence effects. Tourism Management, 48, 467-476, doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2014.12.016.

Orme, B. (2010). Getting Started with Conjoint Analysis: Strategies for Product Design and Pricing Research, 2nd ed., Research Publishers LLC: Madison.

Phocuswright. The Global Hostel Marketplace 2016-2020 Second Edition, 2018. Available online: (accessed on 26 October 2020)

Popović, M., Kuzmanović, M., & Savić, G. (2018). A comparative empirical study of Analytic Hierarchy Process and Conjoint analysis: Literature review. Decision Making: Applications in Management and Engineering, 1(2), 153-163. doi:10.31181/dmame1802160p

Puška, A., Pamucar, D., Stojanović, I., Cavallaro, F., Kaklauskas, A., & Mardani, A. (2021). Examination of the Sustainable Rural Tourism Potential of the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina Using a Fuzzy Approach Based on Group Decision Making. Sustainability, 13(2), 583.

Rakotonarivo, O.S., Schaafsma, M., & Hockley, N. (2016). A systematic review of the reliability and validity of discrete choice experiments in valuing non-market environmental goods. Journal of Environmental Management, 183, 98-109, doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.08.032.

Rossi, P., Allenby, G., & McCulloch, R. (2012). Bayesian statistics and marketing. John Wiley & Sons.

Roy, J., Kumar Sharma, H., Kar, S., Kazimieras Zavadskas, E., & Saparauskas, J. (2019). An extended COPRAS model for multi-criteria decision-making problems and its application in web-based hotel evaluation and selection. Economic research-Ekonomska istraživanja, 32(1), 219-253.

Veríssimo, M., & Costa, C. (2018). Do hostels play a role in pleasing Millennial travellers? The Portuguese case. Journal of Tourism Futures, 4(1), 57-68, doi:10.1108/JTF-12-2017-0054.

Vukic, M., Kuzmanovic, M., & Kostic Stankovic, M. (2015). Understanding the heterogeneity of generation y's preferences for travelling: A conjoint analysis approach. International Journal of Tourism Research, 17(5), 482-491., doi:10.1002/jtr.2015.

World Travel and Tourism Council (2018). Travel and tourism economic impact 2018: World.; World Travel and Tourism Council: London.



How to Cite

Kuzmanović, M., & Vukić, M. (2021). Incorporating heterogeneity of travelers’ preferences into the overall hostel performance rating. Decision Making: Applications in Management and Engineering, 4(2), 200–224.