EXCLUSIVE: Hostelbookers signs deal with TNT

Budget accommodation specialist Hostelbookers has struck an exclusive deal with TNT, the media brand for the Antipodean and South African community in the UK.

David Smith, COO, told Travoluton that hostelbokers was “big on partnerships with like-minded businesses” and that the TNT tie-up follows a recent deal with gapyear.com. Earlier in the year it also linked up with InterRail.

TNT Online attracts 100,000 unique users a month, and matches hostelbookers demographic and pricing profile. “Some 84% of hostelbookers users are 18-35 year olds, and this is the age bracket that looks at TNT.” TNT readers use the UK as a base for exploring Europe in particular, with TNT saying that many of its  readers take five or six breaks a year.

Smith said that this group was not severely affected by the credit crunch, ‘as they probably didn’t have a lot of money in the first place.” He said that the business is holding up quite strongly’ in the current environment, helped by an improvement in the quality of budget accommodation generally.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen the quality of hostels improve so there’s not much difference between them and a three-star hotel, apart from the price. Budget accommodation is offering great value at the moment.”

Hostelbookers has over 12,000 properties on its books in 2,500 locations. “We’re quite selective in which properties we take on,” he said, “and we use our own customer reviews and ratings to help maintain quality.” It uses findings from the half million or so customers reviews it hosts to keep an eye on properties, with Smith also saying that “TripAdvisor is a great resource too.” He said that hostelbookers “is looking to work with TripAdvisor,” but declined to give details.

The business is also in the process of relaunching its web site, with social media tools a key part of the revamp. “We’re already working quite hard at social,” he said, “and it’s developing as a useful extension of our customer service. We want the web site to be part of the social media community rather than one step removed.”

He added that Facebook was hostelbookers’ “top referrer, other than search engines.”

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