Dublin-based Web Reservations International has bolstered its presence in the online budget accommodation arena with the acquisition of HostelBookers.com.
The deal creates a group valued at more than $500 million and brings London firm HostelBookers, which employes more than 120 staff, into the same stable as Hostelworld.com and Hostels.com.
The all-paper deal will require regulatory clearance before it can complete.
WRI chief executive Feargal Mooney said: “WRI’s mission is to be the fastest-growing online provider of great value accommodation, using innovative technology to inspire independent-minded travellers everywhere.
“The accommodation services sector is fiercely competitive. Indeed, the pace of change is such that the market today is unrecognisable from that which prevailed just 18 months ago.
“To compete head-to-head with the ‘big beasts’, like Expedia and Booking.com, we need to invest. The capacity to inject more resources into online marketing and technology is absolutely key to this sector, and our increase in scale will enable us to ramp that activity up in the face of some very large and dominant competitors.
“We want to provide a service that both competes head to-head with the large online travel agents, and retains the personal service and sector knowledge that comes from being a smaller, budget-focused player – meeting the needs of hostels, B&Bs and smaller hotels, and providing enhanced service to our customers and partners.”