March 06, 2009
Hostelworld's Annual Conference Suggests Travellers Not Likely To Drastically Alter Plans
Only 12 percent of budget travellers will reduce travel budget
Pricing & Savvy Marketing Are Key To Success of Hostel Owners
Not surprisingly, the 2009 Annual Hostelword.com Conference was filled with discussion, debate and analysis about how the current economic downturn will affect the hostelling industry. Contrary to what most industries are experiencing, the hostelling and budget travel industries have remained strong, with positive short and long term future outlooks.
In a keynote presentation by David Jones, Director General of the WYSE (World Youth Student & Educational) Travel Confederation, worldwide research was presented that revealed that only 12 percent of budget travelers will reduce their travel budgets in light of the economy. While the same research showed some economic concern among hostel owners, the industry certainly appears to be less susceptible to the worldwide economic crisis.
"Of course the economy is on the minds of hostel owners throughout the world," said Feargal Mooney, CEO, Hostelworld.com. "However, the research presented at this conference-along with the many lively discussions that took place-confirm that the hostel industry is well suited to thrive in this kind of climate. We collectively offer value at a time when it is needed most".
The Hostelworld.com conference also featured research from budget travelers. Highlights included:
- 70% had finalized travel plans for 2009
- Only 16% said the economic climate would change their plans
- User ratings and reviews were the most important factor when choosing accommodation
Pricing and marketing strategies are seen as the two most crucial areas for hostel owners to focus on in the coming year:
- In a "Pricing With Confidence" presentation by Reed Holden of Holden Advisors, hostel owners were encouraged to remain price competitive but focus more on promoting the value and amenities they offer. While certainly budget conscious, hostel customers are savvy-even discerning-and are willing to pay slightly higher prices for better amenities, location and service.
- Ciaran Norris of Altogether Digital advised attendees to implement social media strategies when attracting travelers. From YouTube to Twitter to Facebook, the budget traveler is one of the most web savvy group of travelers and are likely to react well to social media strategies. Norris pointed to the overwhelming audience that social media can reach. For example, MySpace would represent that 5th largest nation in the world, more than 133 million blogs have been created since 2002, and 800 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every month. Hostel owners are realizing the real power social media resources can have, and how it can revolutionize the way in which they communicate with potential customers.
"The entire marketing landscape has changed across all industries, and this is perhaps even more true in the budget travel industry," said Mooney. "Successful hostel owners have already tapped into affordable and highly effective online marketing channels. Hostel customers are intelligent, educated and savvy consumers, and Hostelworld.com consistently keeps up to date with the latest technology to allow them to make even more informed decisions. With more than 2 million user reviews, consumers now have access to reliable information before booking a hostel."
Hostelworld.com is the leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. It offers confirmed online reservations for over 20,000 hostels and budget hotels in 170 countries worldwide. The site also offers budget travelers over 2 million user reviews, free podcasts, customized city guides, a travel social network and more. Hostelworld.com is headquartered in Dublin and is fully owned and operated by Web Reservations International Ltd (WRI).