Zostel – India’s First Backpackers Hostel Chain


Zostel is India’s first backpackers’ hostel. It marks its presence in tourist locations such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Delhi and Goa.


The Beginning

The idea for Zostel strike to the creators who felt that a very basic problem every student and budget traveler like them faces while travelling is finding a clean and safe place to stay at a price that suits the pocket of common people and is affordable. So to overcome this problem, these management and tech students came up with the idea of launching India’s first backpackers’ hostel. This hostel provides all the amenities at Rs.499.

Zostel started in 2013 and has managed to take hospitality industry in India to new heights. It was started by four students of IIM-Calcutta, two students from IIT and one from Gurgaon’s Management Development Institute (MDI). According to Paavan Nanda, an MDI alumnus and co-founder of Zostel they have a single motto to ‘Change the way India travels’. Zostel aims to provide travelers a holistic experience.

Inside Out

The environment at Zostel is designed to be fun. People are encouraged to mingle with each other in common rooms that are well equipped with play stations, board games, card games and other sources of recreation. It also conducts bonfires and music sessions during evening hours. The staff at Zostel helps travelers with booking their tickets, helping them join guided tours and planning their itinerary for excursions in nearby regions.

At Rs.499 the traveler gets a bed in an AC dormitory. The luggage is stored in a private locker. They also get Wi-Fi and can avail the services of community kitchen, library and common room. There are three-bed to twelve-bed dorms. Private rooms too are available for Rs.999. A special facility of an all-girls dorm is provided for women travelers.

Zostel Hostel

Market Conditions

In the beginning the idea of backpackers’ was new to India. So 90 percent of the boarders were foreigners. But now the breakup of foreign and domestic boarders is fifty-fifty. There are forty new Zostels coming up in key tourist locations in next 4 months.

The Struggle

The journey for its founders was not easy. They had education loans which they needed to pay back. They entered business plan competitions. There they represented their ideas and could also meet potential investors. They took part in fourteen such competitions. They won a few of them and were able to gather 40-50 lakhs and invested it all in business. Malaysia based investor Presha Paragash also invested Rs.500 crores.

The team has also introduced a new initiative called Zo Rooms, which overcomes the problem of good reliable budget hotels. Zostel has been getting rave reviews from the travelers and is ranked number 1 on Trip Advisor, Hostel World and other booking portal. The tram of these youngsters does face problem with their work but with them being confident and full of new ideas, sky is the only limit for them.

Also check out our article on “Ways for saving your Money“.

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