HI Hostels Blog

Building Resilience in Our Organisation

Being one of the earliest examples of sustainable tourism (born in 1932), our mission continues to incorporate striving for responsible practices among our members; encouraging a greater knowledge, love and care of the countryside; and an appreciation of the social and cultural values in all parts of the world.

Constantly improving and evolving is at the core of Hostelling International. That is why for our 10th and final monthly topic during the 2017 Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, we are focusing on:

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 Do you know what a Sustainable Management System is? Continue reading to find out!

You are at the centre of everything we do. While your budget may be limited, the quality of HI is not! We aim to provide you with the most enjoyable stay possible, while offering excellent value for money. Therefore, we have developed a way of ensuring quality and sustainability in our hostels, firstly through our internationally agreed upon Assured Standards, and secondly through HI-Q and HI-Q&S, HI’s Quality & Sustainability Management Systems.

HI-Q(&S) is a unique framework allowing hostels and associations to advance their quality and sustainability practices. Implementing HI-Q&S increases the hostels’ transparency and accountability of why and how they are sustainable. Why is this so important? Because it helps you make informed decisions and helps us constantly improve our hostels. We assure operations efficiency and risk management as well as customer satisfaction.

HI-Q&S is based on the 10 Areas we defined for sustainable hostelling and is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

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Our quality and sustainability management system starts with… YOU! Yes, you read that right, it starts with your entire hostelling journey and experience. By identifying your needs and wishes, and turning them into your ideal network of hostels with an excellent service delivery throughout. Starting with the planning stage – helping you to find the perfect trip and ensuring the reservation process is clear and simple – following through to the stay; your experience of welcome at reception, hostel facilities, cleanliness and maintenance of kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and how you enjoy taking part in activities and meeting people.

Within HI-Q(&S) certified Hostels and Associations, everyone in our team has a part to play in your happiness as a hosteller. Success for us equals an amazing experience for you.

The systems implement the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) method for improvement, with the aim of constantly monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of the processes and actions necessary for certification.

HI-Q(&S) is a long-term programme of continuous improvement which is now used in nearly 40 Associations and in more than 500 Hostels worldwide, with many more working towards achieving the certification. Only those hostels which successfully complete and meet the HI-Q(&S) requirements will be certified every 3 years by an external auditor, and are able to display the distinctive logos:


SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) related to this area:



What can YOU do:

  • Look out for the HI-Q&S symbols when you’re searching for and staying in our hostels.
  • Start a conversation about sustainability; increased demand leads to increased availability.
  • Actively contribute to the sustainable development of your hostel (reduce, reuse, recycle, and encourage others to do the same!).
  • Conserve resources and take part in DIY workshops in the hostel or local community. Not only will you learn how to make exciting new things but often you will re-purpose otherwise wasted materials.
  • Buy locally. You will both contribute to the local economy and also help to reduce carbon emissions that result from transporting produce.
  • Be water-wise by contributing to the reduction of water usage – especially in dry areas with water shortages.
  • Make sure to pay attention to those hostels that are doing well in addressing sustainability and praise them in your reviews. Everything adds up – from a delicious local organic buffet, to a top-notch inspiring recycling system and beehives on their rooftops. Likewise, if you spot a leaking pipe or something wasteful, talk to the staff – they will thank you later!
  • Take a look at the previous 9 Areas of Sustainable Hostelling, we covered many tips that can help you become a more responsible traveller.
  • However, we also know there is so much more that can be done and we are constantly seeking ways to improve. Share with us your advice for responsible travel! Your ideas are very much welcome.

What can HI Associations and Hostels do:

From embracing HI-Q&S (or similar quality and sustainability management systems), to creating meaningful programmes for you, we never cease to be inspired and amazed by the great projects happening at the HI Hostels. They are all key players in our sustainable tourism through hostelling journey. 

The UN Year of Sustainable Tourism gave many in the tourism industry the chance to share their solutions and bring their contributions to solving some of the world’s pressing issues. Our Sustainable Tourism through Hostelling campaign was one of them and we won’t stop here. HI Hostels around the world are facing their own challenges, as well as opportunities, and we commit to advancing our mission beyond 2017, in the years and decades to come.


Have you been inspired to contribute to a better world after taking part in any of our hostels events and projects? Let us know in the comments below! 

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