Travel booking site Hostelworld reported slowing bookings growth as the firm implements a plan to return to profit.
Gross bookings grew four per cent, the company said in its annual report this morning, however overall group bookings were flat due to the managed decline on the group’s supporting brands offsetting the growth in the Hostelworld brand.
Revenue was €82.1m, a decrease of five per cent, and adjusted earnings were €21.4m, down from €26.4m the previous year and operating profit fell from €11.9m in 2017 to €6.7m, as reported in the company's preliminary results earlier this month.
The company blamed the slump on a deferral of revenue recognition due to the introduction of a free cancellation option last month, and the European heatwave and timing of the World Cup last summer.
The annual report follows the appointment of new chief executive Gary Morrison at the beginning of 2018, and is the first report following the introduction of his “Roadmap to Growth” strategic review programme.
“My strategic review, announced in November, also identified a number of areas where there has been a lack of investment, most notably in our core platform that need to be addressed to ensure that we remain competitive in the coming year,” Morrison said.
The annual report outlined plans for the firm to continue to improve its app technology, as 40 per cent of all bookings were made using the app last year, and use of customer data.
Hostelworld will move away from celebrity advertising campaigns to adapt marketing campaigns that target the brand's core customer base.