Saturday 24 February 2018

Hostelworld looks to volume for growth, rather than acquisitions

Hostelworld: shares down almost 30pc
Hostelworld: shares down almost 30pc
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Newly floated Hostelworld is betting on volume for growth rather than acquisitions.

The company has been implementing an edgier market strategy in recent times, and has recently appointed high-profile names associated with Paddy Power and Ryanair - companies noted for their edgy marketing style - to its board.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent on the fringes of the 2016 Hostelworld conference, chief executive Feargal Mooney said the company's opportunity is "really to raise awareness of the hostel product and the hostel offering, and from that perspective that's where our marketing is going."

"Historically our marketing was primarily around paid search marketing ... I think in terms of acquisitions, we acquired Hostelbookers (a rival website bought in 2013), which was very significant for us, there aren't any other significant players out there in the hostel space. And we're very focused on hostels, that's what we do."

The company aims to persuade potential customers of the merit of the "hostel experience". It wants to promote a hostel holiday as more social than other types of trip, while also providing comfort and privacy.

In London on Friday, Hostelworld shares closed at 202.5p, up from the October IPO price of 185p but down from a high of 232.5p seen in December.

"In some ways, I think particularly after you go through some months of preparation for an IPO, and you go through all the legal and accounting network that you have to do for an IPO, to be able to now focus back on the business again in terms of how we drive it forward is good," Mooney said.

"A lot of people, probably including me a few years ago, would shy away from bringing a company public because it does involve responsibility and compliance and all that stuff. But I think having been through a number of years of private equity ownership you go through a lot of that anyway.

"We've done some good stuff even in the last few months. We announced the launch of our Apple TV product...[and] we had the launch of the new Hostelbookers site."

Sunday Indo Business

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