ONLINE BOOKING PLATFORM Hostelworld experienced double-digit growth in booking numbers last year, helped in part by a marketing campaign featuring actor Charlie Sheen.
The Dublin-based company saw group bookings increase by 6% to 7.5 million, while bookings at its primary brand, Hostelworld, which represents 93% of the business, had a 13% increase in bookings compared to the previous year.
Group revenues increased by 8% to €86.7 million, while adjusted earnings rose 10% to €26.4 million, according to the company’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2017.
In particular, the group says that its ‘Unexpected Guest’ campaign with Charlie Sheen, which it describes as “highly provocative” and “perception-busting”, provided a boost to its business last year, contributing to the growth in booking numbers.
This is not the first time that the company has used a famous face to promote its business. In 2016, Hostelworld’s promotional activity featured rapper 50 Cent, while this year’s campaign is set to include Mariah Carey.
In addition to its work with Sheen, Hostelworld created the world’s first-ever Sand Hostel on Australia’s Gold Coast last September, which the company says was its most successful PR campaign to date.
Speaking about the results, Hostelworld Group’s chief executive Feargal Mooney said the company is “pleased with the continued progress” but warned that uncertain market conditions in Europe and weaker exchange rates for the US dollar remain a challenge.
He added that 2017 was a “transformational year” for Hostelworld technology, with the opening of a new software development office in Porto.
Additionally, the group’s new free cancellation booking option, which was launched on a pilot basis in February 2018, has resulted in “a noticeable increase in conversion and booking levels.”
Looking ahead, the board expects these increased investments in technology to further boost bookings growth in 2018 and beyond.
Hostelworld Group has its headquarters in Dublin, as well as offices in London, Porto, Seoul, Shanghai and Sydney, with approximately 250 employees worldwide.