Web Reservations International, owner of HostelWorld, is set to buy Hostelbookers, reports tnooz.com, but the deal needs regulatory approval before completion.

Already, Hostel members of the Backpacker Operators Association (BOA) have opposed the plans, stating concerns that it would be a big reduction in competition. Many in the industry have also objected to the terms of the new contract which would have far-reaching effects on how hostels are run.

Darren Overby, posing on hotelsmanagement.com said: “Hostels are not like hotels in that we are not simply offering cheap accommodation. We are creating a community of travelers. Having a contract that does not allow us to hold back inventory for guests who may want to extend is entirely against the basic ethos of a hostel.

“Most true hostels never want to be forced (because of a contract) to kick out an existing guest who they know and love in order to fit in a reservation for someone they haven’t meet yet. Hostels still have the ability to change the world, but not if we operate in the uncaring way hotels do. (i.e. “Sorry we are booked for tomorrow, good luck finding something else out there”)/

However, WRI CEO Feargal Mooney said the move is necessary to enable the company to go head-to-head with what he calls the “big beasts” in online accommodation: Expedia and Booking.com.

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