Who is winning the Hostel Booking Website marketing war?

Today I had to book a hostel for a few nights in Ecuador, so as always I fired up Hostel World, the “World’s #1 Hostel Booking Website” to check out what was on offer.

While doing this a friend mentioned that I should also check out Hostel Bookers and when I did I noticed a marketing attack on the home page directed straight at Hostel World customers like me.

Hostel Bookers Home Page

Hostel Bookers Home Page

When you click-through on the link, it takes you to this page that further explains the study that proves that “HostelBookers are, on average, 8.7% cheaper than HostelWorld”.

Hostel Bookers Vs Hostel World Price Comparison

Hostel Bookers Vs Hostel World Price Comparison
Hostel Bookers Research

Hostel Bookers Research

Price Comparison Table

Price Comparison Table

For the budget conscious backpacker (of which most are) this is a pretty convincing argument, and for Hostel Bookers it makes sense to try to take market share from Hostel World with a price play.

So what is Hostel World doing about this attack?


Well not exactly, they are not responding to the price attack or mentioning Hostel Bookers at all.

Instead they are doing exactly what I would do in this situation.

Reminding their customers why they are #1

Hostel World Why We are #1

Hostel World Why We are #1

So who is winning the war?

Without knowing the market share stats it is hard to really tell, but in my opinion while Hostel Bookers will steal a few “price sensitive” customers from Hostel World with this approach, in the end Hostel World has the scale advantage and that is critical in a category that relies heavily on customer reviews and ratings of hostels.

Really smart customers will do their research on Hostel World to take advantage of more customer reviews and ratings, then book through Hostel Bookers to take advantage of cheaper prices.

But to be honest, in my experience travelling and working in hostels that group will be a small minority.

But what do you think?

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Categories: Advertising, Digital Marketing, International Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Travel Marketing


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3 Comments on “Who is winning the Hostel Booking Website marketing war?”

  1. Mário Amorim Lopes
    September 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    In the end, it’s all about the small details. I stopped using Hostelbookers.com because I can’t copy (go figure) the CC number to the input box. I generate my virtual CC with a plafond on a need basis and that way I have to input the numbers one by one instead of just copying them from my bank’s website.

    Oh, and it’s actually true that sometimes you get some bargains at Hostelbookers.com and the reason being that, paradoxically to what you’d expect on such a website (as in, a free market), the offer is smaller. Also, being part of the first results on Hostelbookers.com has more prominence, visually speaking. But I get so upset for not being able to copy the numbers that I don’t even care to double check on Hostelbookers.com.

    Punch line: it’s all about the UX.

  2. September 13, 2010 at 8:43 am #

    You are right Mario, user experience is a big advantage Hostel World has, particularly in the ease of booking. The fact that you can create a profile, including your credit card details, means that it is only a few things you have to enter before you are booked into the hostel. I’m sure Hostel Bookers are working on something similar.

  3. September 14, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    This post is very nice, Because your post is giving very nice information. So we are very thankful to you.

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