Issuu on Google+

Questions & Answers – Hostelworld Conference 2014

March 2014

How do you know that 12% is enough, when will it increase again? This was a decision that was not easily taken. While we cannot predict how the industry will change in the future it is our intention to remain the most competitivly priced of all the major OTA’s who deliver substantial bookings into hostels. We feel that these new rates are necessary to allow us to successfully compete in the market, continue to invest in branding, marketing and technology and most importantly to deliver booking growth to you. Why did you not increase the price when you issued the new contracts? The issuing of the new contract was a very necessary step to bring our terms and conditions in line with current industry standards and practices. The new T&C’s were put in place not only to allow us to respond to changes in the marketplace but also to provide more protection to the online customer and to you our property partners. The issuing of the new contract was a completely separate project to that of the recently implemented price increase. How do non-Hostels feel about the differentiation of commission rates between them and Hostels? 15% is typically the standard rate charged by other OTA’s to hotels and other property types. This is not viewed as an issue as such non- hostel properties are already paying this rate and sometimes higher on the other OTAs. Aren't you afraid that hostels start promoting (offering better price, etc) to other channels that might in turn reduce their commission? We believe that hostel owners and operators will make their commercial decisions based on the level of business each channel is delivering to them. Hostelworld are committed to delivering strong booking growth into hostels in 2014. This can only be done through substantail investment in brand, marketing and technology. How concerned is HW about OUR (hostel properties) increasing costs of customer acquisition? As a long-term supporter of the sector, we are very aware of the increasing costs of customer acquisitions and believe that it is in the properties interests to continue to work with us as a strong and specialised partner in the industry. Together we can deliver more bookings into your properties and in turn gradually grow our customer base. What projects does HW have to encourage NEW people to travel in hostels? (to increase customer base in hostels) We are increasing our advertising and marketing spend to 25m euro in 2014 and have hired a specialized Asian online advertising agency to focus on the major outbound Asian market. We are also investing heavily in mobile and in our technology that supports both of our major hostel brands Hostelworld and Hostelbookers.

1|P age


Questions & Answers – Hostelworld Conference 2014

March 2014

In addition we are very excited about the potential of our joint industry marketing fund “Think Hostels”. A Hostelworld investment of €500,000 will be made with our industry partners in multiple destinations around the world. Price increase is fair but can we now do away with Elevate? Elevate allows properties to increase their visibility and bookings to give themselves a boost during quieter periods. It was introduced through demand from our hostel partners. Properties indicated that this was something they wanted to have access to in order to compete better during quite seasonal times, midweek, etc. We will continue to provide access to this programme, which of course remains optional to participate in. Where do you recommend someone get revenue training specifically? This would be dependent on the courses offered in your own country. Many revenue management courses, whilst interesting and informative, are focused on the hotel industry. If you are taking part in a course check in advance about the possibility of looking at hostelling a little more in-depth. Can you advise us of revenue management software that is available? There are very few PMS companies that offer revenue management specific to hostels and many hostel chains create their own reporting as a result. There are plenty of yield management tools available specific to the hotel industry. Please contact your property support person to get details of any known local supplier in your area. Is it realistic to think that there will be a single back office for Hostelworld and Hostelbookers? Yes it is on our roadmap to be able to combine the back offices and provide a single database to update availability on both sites. As the hospitality sector is a 24/7 business, when will HW be available to us on a 24/7 basis. We are delighted to have increased our service levels to be currently offering 20 hours support 7 days a week. We are planning to move to 24/7 over the coming months and will annouce this closer to the time. How, when and to whom can we put our proposal forward to about the strategic fund (Think Hostels)? You can contact your account executive at WRI and you will be provided with the appropriate information regarding the “Think Hostels” marketing fund. More information and an application form is available in the Hostelworld Inbox. Please note that we consider all submissions but will only be able to support those projects we feel will be of most benefit to our industry

2|P age


Questions & Answers – Hostelworld Conference 2014

March 2014

Would you invest in helping national hostels association development? Yes we interested in hearing from destination hostel associations where we see the opportunity to help grow the hostelling industry within your destination. Working together in a co-operative manner is the best way to achieve our goal. If you're all about hostels, why do you publish other accommodation types besides HOSTELS? We recognize that in some destinations there is not sufficient hostel supply to meet the demand so in order to retain and grow our customer base we need to provide choice. While this is in operation it is important to note that in the majority of our top destinations hostels receive 90% plus of all booker buisness. Listing other property types is also a great way of highlighting the great quality, location & value provided by hostels today. Do videos help to attract bookings? Videos are certainly one way of providing unique content to your property and of allowing guests to get a sense of your hostel experience. We have found that potential guests prefer brief videos and want to see the hostel experience rather than a tour of the hostel. Without videos we can see that properties with excellent quality images continue to perform equally as well. How are you planning on competing with other booking companies which don't charge initial fee which guests seem to prefer? We have removed the booking fee from customers from 1st of December Does just translating an English site into another language work or do you need to change messaging? We would advise that the translation be of high quality and to provide relevant content for the language users that you are targeting. When using PayPal and in the case of a no show, how can a hostel charge the guest? As PayPal is secure alternative payment system, where credit card details are not provided, it is not currently possible to charge the guest for a no show. How do you take PayPal through hostelworld? You can choose to accept PayPal bookings via the hostel inbox and microsite content details. Contact your WRI representative for more information and to walk you through the easy set up steps. You talk about investment in BPO, exactly what are you planning? We have compiled the results from our BPO survey in February and based on this have begun working on a strategy for BPO in 2014. Enhancements will include increased functionality, channel connectivity and assessing the most popular interface requests (accounts, key cards, Epos, etc.) More informtion will be announced during Q2 2014. 3|P age


Questions & Answers – Hostelworld Conference 2014

March 2014

In emerging markets there is an ongoing issue with the rating system. Some operators use hacking to boost their ratings and therefore visibility. What is hostel world going to do to create a level playing field. We monitor reviews very carefully on the site and are able to run test for fraudulent reviews. If there is a problem in a particular destination with fake reviews then we would take this very seriously and until all hostels discontinue with fraudulent reviews we would be unable to offer Hostelworld awards in those destinations. How are you monitoring and managing poor quality hostels. Why do you continue to promote hostels with ratings less than 60%? Contractually all properties need to maintain a 60% rating. Where a hostel falls below this we would issue a warning to the property and set out an agreed plan of works to be completed within a specified period of time. If works are not completed within the this short agreed timeline we would remove the property from our sites. If you have specific concerns you can contact your WRI representative. On Hostelworld it states reviews are from the last 12 months while it seems on many hostel pages they are actually from the last 6 months. Please confirm which is true. Reviews are based on the last 6 months. Where a property has no reviews in the last 6 months it will show reviews for the last 12 months. How do you learn what is considered normal for booking times. Average lead time differs per destination; you can contact your WRI representative for information specific to your city. What strategy will you be using to improve your brand We are increasing our investment into our brands and have appointed a leading London brand agency to focus on both our individual and group brands. Even within hostels there are many differences from one and another. Are there any plans to classify hostels by size or atmosphere? Currently we don’t categorise hostels but will continue to look for ways to better support and promote our hostel properties Is there any strategy planned for increasing North Americans awareness of hostels as an accommodation choice in North America?. It's a huge potential market that is virtually untapped. We have a lot of plans for North America in 2014 including our first North American conference. Along with this we have a number of marketing initiatives and ideas that we hope to put in place over the coming year. The outbound North American market has shown impressive growth year to date and we have no doubt that the “Think Hostels” programme will help to continue this upward curve. 4|P age


Conference q&a answers pdf