Celebrity campaign boosts Dublin based Hostelworld bookings

A star-studded advertising campaign featuring celebrities including Charlie Sheen and Mariah Carey is helping boost bookings at online site Hostelworld as it posted record annual earnings.

The London-listed group said Hostelworld brand bookings jumped 13% higher in 2017 thanks largely to its ongoing "unexpected guest" campaign, which last year featured Sheen, following successful appearances by former boxer Chris Eubank and US rapper 50 Cent.

Overall group bookings rose by 6%, or €7.5m.

It has just unveiled its latest commercial starring pop diva Carey as it continues to invest heavily in marketing.

Full-year results for the Dublin-based group showed underlying earnings rose 10% to a record €26.4m in 2017 on net revenues 8% higher at €86.7m.

But it remained cautious over trading conditions in Europe and said it continues to face cost headwinds from weak foreign exchange rates.

Chief executive Feargal Mooney said: "Market conditions, particularly in Europe, remain uncertain and, while volume bookings are in line with expectations, weaker exchange rates, particularly for the US dollar, remain a significant headwind."

Mr Mooney said he plans to roll out a free-cancellation booking option following a successful pilot, which he hailed as a "key strategic move" for the business.

The group is also expanding a new IT centre in Portugal focusing on software development.

Hostelworld's site features 36,000 properties in major cities in 170 countries.

It has offices around the world in London, Porto, Seoul, Shanghai and Sydney and employs around 250 staff.

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