Hostels come in from the dark ages - online check-in has arrivedNewsBy Kevin May | August 23, 2013Share This article was originally published on "Industry first" is a term bounded about by many a travel brand and their eager PR teams - "innovative" this or that, new app which many others also happen to have.But perhaps here is a genuine one: online check-in for hostels.Many hotels and their mothership chains, as well as countless airlines, have offered web check-in for many years, either via desktop or mobile services.But those at the cheaper end of accommodation sector - in other words: hostels - have been far slower to push such a concept to budget-conscious leisure travellers and backpackers.At least until now, with news coming this week that European hostel chain St Christopher's Inn will allow customers to check-in to property before arrival.The chain of hostels (20 dotted around 11 cities in eight countries, including London, Paris, Prague and Berlin) will now offer a facility to manage a booking and check-in online (desktop or mobile) from within the customer's booking registration.Ancillary services are also kicking in as well, with guests able to book breakfast and other refreshments.On arrival at the hostel, guests will no longer have to queue at the reception desk but will instead pick up their key and other materials from a kiosk.Relatively commonplace in the world of hotels, but far less in hostels? A real "first"?Hostelbookers (recently bought by Hostelworld and combined becoming the single biggest hostel booking service in the world) says it us unaware of any other hostel group or property having such a service.Digital and comms director at Beds and Bars (operator of the St Christopher's Inn brand) says: "This new system is the final piece of that jigsaw. The 100% mobile friendly online check-in is very much in line with the behaviour of our customers. "They use mobile technology to interact with us online - more than they use a desktop computer."Share this quote The move coincides with what many believe to significant evolution in the wider budget accommodation sector as property owners up their game to provide more tech-led services for guests.Diego Saez-Gil of mobile booking service WeHostels says: "The main hostels today are modern accommodations that equate to the level of a state-of-the-art hotel. Many people are talking about a segment of "luxury hostels" but this is actually raising the level of the whole industry, because otherwise you can't compete. "This phenomenon started in Europe but we are seeing it expand to North America, Latin America and Asia. "We expect to see more technology being adopted by the industry even in the emerging markets. It's great for the travelers and for the industry in general."Share this quote NB:Hostel door image via Shtterstock.