Experiences for passionate travellers.

Hostelworld transforms the hostel experience with digital marketing from Adobe Experience Cloud.

Schneider Electric

Established

1999

Employees: 250
Dublin, Ireland
www.hostelworldgroup.com

20%

reduction in cost per booking

Objectives

Engage a niche audience across global markets.

Build a brand that delivers personalised customer journeys to next-generation travellers.

Develop a social experience and community for travellers.

Results

500% higher engagement across websites and social.

20% reduction in cost per booking.

1 billion emails every year with high click-through rates.

Increased marketing productivity with automation.


“The numbers speak for themselves. Adobe has had a tremendous impact on our digital marketing strategy.”

 

Otto Rosenberger
CMO, Hostelworld Group


Fuelling a passion for travel

Everyone loves going on holiday, but for some, travel is not just a brief diversion—it’s a passion and a lifestyle. These travellers aren’t always looking for beautiful hotels and memorable souvenirs. They want to have adventures, visit new locations, touch foreign cultures, create memories through amazing experiences, learn more about the world and just as importantly, learn about themselves.

Hostels typically cater to young travellers looking for safe, comfortable and affordable accommodations as they explore the world. With its solid understanding of what these travellers want, Hostelworld Group has grown into a market-leading booking platform focusing on worldwide hostel offerings through its website and apps in 19 languages.

Unlike hotels, hostels generally appeal to a younger, mobile generation. About 90% of hostel customers are under 35 years old and while traditional hotels receive about 30% to 40% of their bookings online, approximately 70% of hostel bookings are made online. Hostel customers are also less likely to be influenced by traditional print, radio or television advertising. They consume information differently, so marketers need to approach them differently.

“Hostels may have an image of being very basic and low-tech, but many now offer amenities rivaling any hotel. We developed our Hostelworld app to help connect people to hostels in the digital age,” says Otto Rosenberger, CMO at Hostelworld Group. “Through the app, we can be part of our customers’ journeys every step of the way, whether they are looking to book accommodations, find fun activities or connect with fellow travellers.”

To optimise each customer’s digital journey with personalised experiences, Hostelworld needed two things: insight into customer behaviour through in-depth data and tools to efficiently act on that intelligence. Needing to balance high functionality and automation with agile and easy-to-understand tools, Hostelworld turned to integrated Adobe Experience Cloud solutions. After starting with Adobe Analytics in Adobe Analytics Cloud, the company expanded into Adobe Advertising Cloud for search optimisation and Adobe Marketing Cloud with Adobe Campaign for cross-channel campaign management.

“Adobe is a market leader known for innovation, quality and stability, but it’s also incredibly agile and helped us to quickly implement solutions,” says Rosenberger. “Adobe’s excellent service was one of the key differentiators that made us feel comfortable standardising our digital marketing on Adobe Experience Cloud.”

A digital launch pad

Hostelworld’s young, tech savvy audience expects digital experiences that are convenient, fast and provide a personal touch. Using Adobe Analytics, the company gains detailed insight into how customers use its websites and apps. Through real-time metrics, Hostelworld’s marketing team can learn where customers are coming from and where they’re travelling to, what types of information they’re looking at and how they’re moving through the marketing funnel.

Looking at sources of traffic helps Hostelworld’s marketers determine which advertising campaigns are proving most effective or even suggest new areas where advertising could reach a hostel-friendly audience. Marketers can also test variations of ads, copy or booking funnels across apps and mobile and desktop sites to discover how they can optimise travellers’ digital journeys.

“Adobe Analytics is the foundation of our digital marketing strategy,” says Rosenberger. “It helps us learn more about our customers so that we can build more personalisation to encourage greater community interaction. In the past two years, we’ve seen a 500% increase in engagement across our digital channels, including social media.”

The analytics data from Adobe Analytics also allows marketers to increase the efficiency of Adobe Advertising Cloud Search. Using advanced algorithms, Advertising Cloud Search automatically places bids on search terms to achieve better returns on investment. While Advertising Cloud Search algorithms have helped to reduce the bookings costs by 20%, the use of automation also dramatically improves productivity for marketers, who can now spend more time optimising the search strategy and creating more exciting content for customers.


“Adobe’s excellent service was one of the key differentiators that made us feel comfortable standardising our digital marketing on Adobe Experience Cloud.”

 

Otto Rosenberger
CMO, Hostelworld Group


Personalising customer journeys

Data from Adobe Analytics also integrates smoothly with Adobe Campaign to help Hostelworld reach its young audience across a variety of digital channels. Using customer behaviour data in Analytics, Campaign builds out detailed audience segments, which Hostelworld uses to tailor communications and reach people through the website, email or the mobile app with the right message at the right time.

If a traveller decides to book a hostel in Barcelona for instance, Campaign can deliver banners, on the website or through the mobile app, featuring recommendations for exciting activities in the area. When the traveller reaches Barcelona, the mobile app uses push notifications to highlight points of interest such as nearby restaurants or hikes. Such personalisation helps the traveller enjoy a richer holiday.

One of the biggest changes marketers have seen is through email campaigns. Before Campaign, Hostelworld struggled to send out 300 emails. Now, its marketers deliver more than 1 billion emails every year to customers worldwide at different points in their journeys.

“Even though we’re sending out so many more emails, we’re seeing lower unsubscribe rates and higher click-through rates,” says Rosenberger. “The difference is that we’re using segmentation to target customers with only the deals and information that they’ll find interesting. By improving the customer journey through personalisation and remarketing in real time, we’re helping to retain customers with 61% of bookings coming from repeat Hostelworld customers.”

Hostelworld plans to continue expanding its use of Adobe Experience Cloud to improve insight and personalisation through integrated Adobe tools. “The numbers speak for themselves. Adobe has had a tremendous impact on our digital marketing strategy,” says Rosenberger. “We’ll never stop improving the customer journey and Adobe will continue to help us to find our way.”

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