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dc.contributor.advisorDuncan, Tara
dc.contributor.advisorCarr, Neil
dc.contributor.authorNagy, Gabriella
dc.identifier.citationNagy, G. (2016). Changing conceptualisations of domestic comfort in the tourist accommodation sector A case study of youth hostels in Germany (1909-2013) (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractYouth hostels can look back on more than a hundred years of history and play a significant role in tourist accommodation today. Hostelling International, the youth hostels’ parenting organisation, is the sixth largest provider of travel accommodation around the world ("About Hostelling International", 2015). However, despite their long history, popularity and importance, studies on youth hostels have largely been absent from academic tourism literature. Little is also known about the dramatic changes these hostels have undergone since they were first established. While the first youth hostels offered very simple, inexpensive accommodation in two big gender-segregated dormitories with shared facilities, today youth hostels are not far behind hotels in terms of their facilities. The improvement of youth hostel facilities is not only an interesting phenomenon in its own right but might have implications also for understanding the evolution of other types of tourist accommodations. Since these changes happened over a century, this thesis, although focussing on a topic in tourism, builds more strongly on the examination of historical events and social changes than tourism studies generally do. This thesis provides a longitudinal analysis that discovers some of the reasons for these changes and it also adds to the dearth of literature on youth hostels more generally. The youth hostel movement originated in Germany and, from there, this type of accommodation spread all over the world. This thesis takes a qualitative approach to examine the evolution of youth hostel facilities, using German youth hostels as a case study. It looks at their history from 1909, when they were first established, up until 2013. The thesis follows an emergent design that allows for a theoretical account to be developed whilst simultaneously grounding it in the data, collected by means of archival research and semi-structured interviews and followed by thematic analysis. The overarching finding that emerged from the data was that the guests’ increasing need for domestic comfort was responsible for the changes that happened in the hostel facilities. Comfort is a word used extensively in the tourism industry, suggesting that it is part of what is sold to us when on holiday. However, to date the concept of comfort, particularly domestic comfort, and its implications for tourist accommodation providers has been an under-researched area. For this reason, the thesis set out to explore the evolution of youth hostel facilities in the light of the changing conceptualisations of domestic comfort over time. More specifically, the research produced a comprehensive understanding of domestic comfort by evaluating the role of its different attributes – privacy, intimacy, convenience and food and catering in particular. It revealed that the idea of domestic comfort entered youth hostels through improvements in housing conditions and, as it changed over the years, it made youth hostels become similar to hotels. In other words, when more privacy, convenience and better food became available for the majority of people at home, they soon came to be taken for granted and youth hostels had to provide them. Consequently, today guests expect to have the comforts of home at youth hostels. Since this increasing demand for domestic comfort is expected to affect all kinds of tourist accommodation in the future, further research should put this thesis into a broader context and, by verification of its findings, contribute to the development of a theory of comfort that could be transferred to the whole tourism industry.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleChanging conceptualisations of domestic comfort in the tourist accommodation sector A case study of youth hostels in Germany (1909-2013)
dc.language.rfc3066en of Tourism of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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