HOSCARs Awards 2021

Like everything this year, our annual awards will be a little different. HOSCARs 2021 will be extraordinary!

2021 Awards 🏆

We stand united in the challenges the travel industry faces, and yet we’ve seen so many of you do incredible things. For this year’s HOSCARs we want to celebrate the outstanding hostels that have made their mark on the world in extraordinary ways, despite of, and in some cases because of the difficulties the world is in.

We know that you’re out there, adapting and evolving, making travellers’ stays as safe as can be. You’re introducing new ways to ensure backpackers can stay social (even from a distance!), and so many of you have gone above and beyond to support your local communities. Throughout all the chaos, you’ve been making changes to help build a better world, and we want to celebrate YOU.

Click Here To Submit Your Hostel

We know that social experiences are at the heart of all great hostels. It’s where travellers make meaningful connections and form life-long friends. 2020 has made these experiences challenging to host, with distancing guidelines, masks, and rules that vary from country to country.

The EXTRAORDINARY Sociable Experience award will recognise the hostel that has given everything to ensure that their guests are still able to safely interact. We want to hear the creative ways in which you’ve adapted social events and made them work in this new world - be it through new activities, social events, entertainment, use of technology, or anything we haven’t thought of.

The EXTRAORDINARY Community & Social Impact award will reward a hostel that has made a significantly positive impact in its local community or wider society. We want to hear from hostels that have launched volunteering projects, charitable work, fundraising events, and anything that’s helping to make our world a better place.

We want to hear as much detail as possible about how you’re making a difference. This award is open to all hostels that have made a clear and constructive effort to drive local or global change, and anything in between. We want to recognise the work of hostel staff all around the world who are committed to making a positive difference.

The EXTRAORDINARY Sustainable Hostel award not only recognises the importance of protecting the environment but also participates in eco-friendly projects and practices. This award acknowledges hostels that promote, inspire, and encourage their customers and staff to adopt a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

Examples could include, but are not limited to, community-based eco-tours, carbon-neutral activities, eco-friendly lodging/facilities, and new sustainable initiatives. Your entry will be judged on the information you share in your submission, so please include a clear explanation of your hostels sustainable practices and the impact/results they’ve had so far. This award recognises commitment, inspiration and exemplary measures that help to protect our planet.

The EXTRAORDINARY Inclusive Hostel award will recognise a hostel that has gone to incredible lengths to create an environment where everyone feels included and accepted. Hostels are known to be welcoming places, but we want to find one that has truly celebrated individuality and diversity. The world isn’t yet equal and the travel sector has a long way to go to make sure we’re encouraging and supporting all kinds of travellers on their journeys. We want to hear about the policies, structural changes, events, hiring processes and initiatives that make your hostel a truly inclusive place to be.

This award is open to hostels that have enabled a more equal and accepting world, across dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. These changes must have taken place within 2020 and although the hostel’s focus may be on a specific sector of society, the hostel must be inclusive to all.

Simply making it through 2020 is worthy of an award, but if you’ve had the added complexity of building a new business, we feel you deserve a special shout out. The EXTRAORDINARY New Hostel award will celebrate the inspiring stories from the newest properties to join our global hostel family at a time when the backpacking world pretty much came to a standstill.

We want to hear from hostels that opened any time from September 2019, six months before the world went into a global shutdown due to Covid-19. Tell us what it took to get through 2020 as a new business, how you overcame this challenge and any learnings that would help others in the same position.

If there’s one thing that 2020’s made us all realise, it’s that nothing is guaranteed, and survival often involves quick and creative thinking. The EXTRAORDINARY Innovation award, is for hostels that have pivoted their business models, launched brand new services, or have innovated in ways we haven’t even thought of. So, if you got those creative juices flowing and have turned your hand to something new to ensure your hostel thrives in these uncertain times, we want to hear what you’ve been up to.

You’re all hostel heroes in our eyes, and this award is extra special. Instead of nominating yourself for the 2021 EXTRAORDINARY Hostel Hero award, our panel of judges will sift through all the other award submissions and select the best. We know this one is going to be tricky to decide, as we’re already aware of some incredible activities from 2020, and we’re sure there’s so much more to discover. So, pick the award that best suits what you’ve been up to and you’ll automatically be summited as an entrant for this award.

How you enter
and win

We’re asking you to nominate your hostel, for the award/s you deserve to win. A panel of judges will shortlist the finalists and we’ll promote them across the Hostelworld marketing channels, asking our audience to vote. The winners will be awarded, using a combined score from the judges and the public vote.

All relevant initiatives, openings and activities that have taken place between January 2020 to December 2020 are eligible for these EXTRAORDINARY 2021 HOSCARs.

Click Here To Submit Your Hostel

Entry Guidelines 📜

What have you done in 2020 that sets you apart from other hostels? Your submission should tell us how and why you feel you deserve to win the specific award you have selected.

You can enter for more than one award, but each award must have its own submission. We are looking for authenticity and originality. Decisions can only be based on what you supply and here are some tips to guide you:

Each award is completely unique, so decide which one suits your business’s 2020 achievements. Your hostel may suit more than one, which is great, but ensure that each submission has been given the time and energy that it deserves.
Each submission needs supporting evidence, so provide this alongside achievements you share. This includes but is not limited to case studies, links to resources, reviews, quotes/testimonials, photos, or video links. We need the evidence to consider your submission.
Write in short clear sentences and make it as easy as possible for the judges to understand. Avoid talking about anything that isn’t specifically relevant to the criteria and if you can have a friend or colleague proof-read your submission even better.
There is a strict word limit of 1,000 words per award submission, which must be written in English. This is to help the judging panel assess submissions.
You may wish to submit a video (maximum 3 minutes long) explaining why you are nominating your hostel for the specific award. Videos do not need to have a high level of production; smartphone videos are acceptable. We will explain this process in more detail soon.

Judging Process 🔮

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges from within our industry or who have an in-depth understanding of the areas our awards focus on.

  1. All submissions will be reviewed to ensure compliance with Hostelworld best practice guidelines – they will also need to have maintained a minimum Hostelworld rating for relevant period of time.
  2. The judges will then shortlist 5 hostels for each award, so 35 finalists in total.
  3. The finalists will then be promoted on Hostelworld’s marketing channels for the public to vote.
  4. The finalists are also encouraged to share links (and reshare Hostelworld posts) to promote their award entry and The EXTRAORDINARY HOSCARs.
  5. The public can read through all the submissions before casting their vote.
  6. The winners will be based on a combination of the judges’ votes, the publics’ vote and their Hostelworld rating for a relevant time period.
These awards are inclusive to all and we expect entrants to have the same values. To help ensure that our backpacking community feel safe, happy, and included within your hostel, your review score will be a factor when selecting the finalists. Any hostels that are under investigation will not be considered, unless the case is closed within the submission timeframe, and the hostel is cleared of any wrongdoing. We hope you understand why this is important for the integrity of our industry. All winners announced will be final.

The HOSCARS Awards 2021 Terms and Conditions

We’re happy you’re here and planning to join us for the EXTRAORDINARY HOSCARs! So much has changed (thanks 2020), but we couldn’t let the incredible things you’ve achieved go unrewarded. Please take some time out to read this whole document as we explain the new awards, the submission process, and the very important terms & conditions. Please don’t submit your hostel for an award until you’ve read and agreed to the Ts&Cs.

How do I nominate my hostel?

First check that you’ve been a Hostelworld hostel partner since January 1st 2020, and will still be a partner in April 2021, when the awards are announced. The only exception is the ‘EXTRAORDINARY New Hostel’ award, where the hostels must have been a Hostelworld partner since (at least) 30th September 2020 to April 2021.

Choose the award you feel best suits your 2020 activity and nominate your hostel here (https://www.hostelworld.com/hoscars/). You can enter for as many awards as you like, just make sure you complete individual submissions. However, we (Hostelworld) reserve the right to re-allocate nominations to alternative categories if deemed necessary.

We’ll need a minimum 300 word, maximum 1,000 word, submission document along with any supporting images and evidence. The final winner in each category will be decided via the combination of an independent judging committee together with a public vote.

If you represent a hostel chain, you can either choose to submit an individual hostel, or the entire chain, depending on the nature of the initiative.

Phase 1 – Hostelworld Checks

In the first phase, all we ask for is a written submission document and supporting content. We (Hostelworld) will review each submission to confirm it meets the entry criteria. At this stage we will also check that each entrant has an acceptable customer rating on our Hostelworld site (current and historical) as well as a clean customer service record.

So, just to clarify, before we move onto Phase 2, all entrants must:

The closing date for self-nomination entries is 23:59pm GMT on Thursday, 1st March 2021.

Phase 2 – Independent Selection of Finalists

Following Hostelworld’s review of all entries, each submission will be shared with an independent panel of expert judges from the travel/hospitality industry. They will shortlist 5 hostels for each award. Each judge will consider the following criteria:

The ‘Why?’ stage will account for 20% of the overall score, the ‘What/How?’ stage 50%, and the ‘Results’ stage 30%.

The judges will use a five-point scale where 1 = Poor (the lowest score), 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Very Good, 5 = Excellent, (the highest score).

The judges’ scores will be averaged together to determine each entry’s overall score. The entry with the highest score per category is the Category Winner. Some judges may abstain from a category if they believe there is a conflict of interest or for any other necessary reason, in which case, some categories may have more scores than others.

Like Phase 1, this phase will be based solely on information provided in the submission document and supporting Content. No additional documentation will be accepted for this adjudication round.

Phase 3 – Public Vote on Finalists

Once our independent panel of experts have chosen their finalists, we then open the voting to the public (for Hostelworld and non-Hostelworld customers) through our social channels and our subscriber base between Monday, 29th March and Sunday, 11th April 2021. Hostelworld and our panel of experts will share the shortlist of finalists across social media and other promotional channels. Shortlisted hostels are also invited to share across their own subscriber bases and social channels.

During the public voting phase, we may request an optional supporting video showcasing your initiatives (but only if you have been selected as a finalist, as we are unable to review video content before this phase).

Phase 4 – Section of Winners

Once public voting closes, the independent judges score will be added to the public vote to decide the overall winner in each category. The weighting criteria is outlined below.

Winners will be announced the week commencing Monday,19th April 2021.

If the outcome of the vote cannot be reasonably determined because of a technical failure or other circumstance beyond Hostelworld’s reasonable control (which affects the vote, or any other decision by which the vote would have determined), then the decision on the winner would be at the sole discretion of Hostelworld’s HOSCARs Committee.


• The EXTRAORDINARY HOSCARs Awards 2021 is open to all properties list as “hostels” on the Hostelworld platform and who were partners of Hostelworld between 1st January 2020 & 31st December 2020 and who have accommodation inventory loaded on the Hostelworld platform to at least end of 2021. An exception will be made for those submitting in the “New Hostel” category where entrants must have been operating on the Hostelworld platform since on or before 30th September 2020.

• Hostelworld reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all entrants. Hostelworld may require such information as it considers reasonably necessary for the purpose of verifying the eligibility of an entry.

• Only properties listed as “hostels” on the Hostelworld platform are eligible for entry. For the avoidance of doubt, no property listed as a “hotel”, “guesthouse”, “B&B”, “apartment” or “campsite” shall be eligible for entry.

• Entries not complying with these terms and conditions will be invalid. All entrants must be aged eighteen (18) years or older.

• The closing date and time for Phase 1 self-nomination entries is 23:59pm GMT on Monday, 1st March 2021. Entries received after the closing date and time will not be considered. The Phase 2 selection of finalists by the independent panel of judges takes place between Monday 8th March 2021 – Friday, 12th March 2021. The Phase 3 public vote takes place between Monday, 29th March – Sunday, 11th April 2021.

• The weighted criteria according to which each winner shall be chosen is as follows:

Weighting Hostel 1
(Rank based on number of votes)
Hostel 2
(Rank based on number of votes)
Judges Vote 75% 3 1
Public Vote 25% 1 3
Weighted Rank 2.5 1.5
Calculation (3x75%+1x25%) (1x75%+3x25%)

• The winners in each HOSCAR category shall be announced during week commencing Monday, 19th April 2021.

• Any instructions provided at the point of entry form part of these terms and conditions and in the event of a conflict, these terms and conditions take precedence.

• The overall winners for each category will be selected from all eligible entries received as set out above. Each winner will be notified within a reasonable time by both phone and email. Each HOSCAR is awarded conditionally upon acceptance and if a winner is unable to be contacted after a reasonable period or if any HOSCAR is unclaimed or declined within a reasonable period (in all cases determined by Hostelworld at its absolute discretion), the HOSCAR shall be deemed as unclaimed or unaccepted and another entrant may be awarded the HOSCAR at Hostelworld's discretion. Hostelworld will not be responsible for any inability of a HOSCAR winner to take up or claim their HOSCAR.]

• Hostelworld accepts no responsibility for incorrectly completed, incomplete, lost or delayed entry submissions, notices, acceptances or any other documents related to a HOSCAR.

• In respect of a HOSCAR, all conditions, terms, warranties and representations whether express or implied by law in relation to the provision of a HOSCAR are excluded to the fullest extent permitted by law.

• In the event of fraud, abuse, and/or an error affecting the proper operation of the HOSCAR Awards 2021, Hostelworld reserves the right to: end or suspend the HOSCAR Awards 2021; amend these terms and conditions and declare void the notification of winner(s).

• If any part of these terms and conditions are held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be illegal or unenforceable, the validity or enforceability of the remainder of these provisions shall not be affected and such provision shall be deemed modified to the minimum extent necessary to make such provision consistent with applicable law and, in its modified form, such provision shall then be enforceable and enforced.

• By entering the HOSCAR Awards 2021, you agree that, in the event that you are chosen as a winner, you will participate in such promotional activity as is reasonably requested by Hostelworld, such as providing the Hostelworld with further content for our website, blog, e-newsletters, and social media channels for further marketing purposes following the HOSCAR Awards 2021.

• HOSCAR winners may be required to participate in publicity connected with the HOSCARS Awards 2021 and it is a condition of entry that each winner agree to their name, the name of their hostel and their country of residence being made publicly available.

• Entrants’ personal data will be collected, stored and processed for the purposes of administering and assessing the HOSCAR Awards 2021 and strictly in accordance with our Data Protection Notice which is incorporated into, and forms part of, these terms and conditions. The personal data we process as part of the HOSCAR Awards 2021 includes your name, social media username, physical address (if available), email address (if available), IP address and geo location (if available).

• All decisions on winners are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

• Hostelworld shall not be liable for any breach of its obligations resulting from causes beyond its reasonable control and Hostelworld reserves the right to suspend, cancel or amend HOSCAR Awards 2021 and/or review and revise these terms and conditions at any time without giving prior notice without liability. By continuing to take part in HOSCAR Awards 2021 subsequent to any revision of these terms and conditions, entrants shall be deemed to have agreed to any such new or amended terms.

• By submitting Content directly to us via our website/submission tool, you confirm that:

- you grant Hostelworld.com Limited and each member of its group of companies (referred to together as Hostelworld) a non-exclusive, royalty free, worldwide perpetual licence to copy, edit, publish, sub-licence and otherwise exploit the Content in any media in connection with any promotional or other activities that they undertake, including but not limited to use on our websites, blogs, mobile applications and social channels;

- you understand there is no obligation for Hostelworld to utilise or distribute any submitted Content;

- you agree not to take any legal action against, and release and discharge Hostelworld, and its directors, officers, employees, agents and affiliates, or any other person or entity acting on its behalf, for all claims in connection with the use of any submitted Content;

- you took the photo/video or wrote the content which you are submitting and that you have the right to grant us a licence to use it;

- you warrant that all submitted Content does not contain any third party trademark or copyrighted material, or material that is subject to other third party proprietary rights; and

- in the case of any photo/video, all the people who are personally identifiable therein have provided their consent for Hostelworld to use the photo/video for the purposes set out above. If a child appears in the photo/video you confirm that the child’s parent or guardian has given such consent.

• These terms and conditions will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Ireland and each entrant hereby agrees that for the benefit of Hostelworld and without prejudice to the right of Hostelworld to take proceedings before any other court of competent jurisdiction, that the courts of Ireland shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any suit, action or proceedings that might arise out of or in connection with these terms and conditions and for such purposes the entrant irrevocably submits to the jurisdiction of such courts.

* In order to ensure the fairness of our ratings system across all hostel partners, we made changes to the system in light of COVID-19. Any hostel partner that was forced to close at any point in 2020 will have this factored into their review score by extending the lifetime of the reviews used to calculate their overall score.