The audience in the UK this week were surprised to see some nudity during the weekly Game of Thrones airing, because this nudity wasn’t the usual; it was Hostelworld‘s first television advert. See for yourself:
Hostelworld is increasingly upping its game to protect its turf against the impeding giants. It has only been little than more of a week since they launched their website and logo overhaul, so they are picking their game up big time.
Hostelworld has been in a tight spot lately, and this is the first major move of it offering some much needed resistance to hold onto its users. Booking.com has been steadily encroaching on its space for years now. Booking.com has always included all forms of accommodation. That is how they gained such a strong foothold in Europe, but Hostelworld was not worried. Hostelworld had a strong grip on the hostel market. It was made even stronger when it purchased Hostelbookers in 2011. However, Booking.com has still increased its hostels at a steady pace. Currently Booking.com has over 12,000 hostels compared to Hostelworld’s 30,000. So the competition is getting fierce.
Hostelworld’s growth has plateaued, whereas Booking’s is still on the rise. Of course there are new markets, but new hostel owners are quite savvy, signing up for all the popular channels, that is both Hostelworld and Booking.com. So the true battle is for Hostelworld to retain its users, more than anything.
And a battle it is. If you look at capital, they are extremely outnumbered. Booking.com, a Priceline company, is worth billions in USD. In fact, they spend over 3 billion on Digital ad campaigns alone (across all forms of accommodation). Expedia is also entering the space, and also spends billions in advertising. If fact, Booking.com has released an all-encompassing accommodation advertising campaign for the television for just about a year now. Perhaps these will remind you.
So, as you can see, Booking.com likes to mention hostels in its ads. They understand a user can grow in age, and in wealth, and expect a different product along the way, and ever since these ads were out, Booking.com was the only television advertising for hostels. That is what Hostelworld is changing, taking an raunchier approach that they are hoping they users will like.
Television advertising and accommodation go hand in hand. Expedia, who is new to the hostels space, runs ads in the US all the time under its various brands (Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc). TripAdvisor is very strategic with its ads, where you can find them mostly on the Travel Channel, and Trivago is super aggressive, and you can find them everywhere now that Expedia backs them. So much in fact, people are hating them, especially that weird guy who Germans think we like but we do not know. If only they chose David Hasselhoff instead.
In these times, expect to see these ads rise, and it is great to see Hostelworld get in the game. However, they will need to make a new ad, if they want to get into the US market.