A double digit increase in Hostelworld brand bookings helped deliver record adjusted earnings [EBITDA] of €26.4 million in 2017.

Mobile, including tablet devices, represented 54% of Hostelworld group bookings for the year, up from 47% in 2016.

The company saw 2017 net revenue rise by 8% year-on-year to €86.7 million but average booking value was flat at 2016 levels at €11.6.

Adjusted after tax profit grew by 12% to €21.7 million.

The pilot launch of a new free cancellation booking option two months ago resulted in a “noticeable increase” in conversion and booking levels, according to CEO Feargal Mooney.

Releasing annual financial results today, he said: “We therefore plan to introduce this model more widely, which we see as a key strategic move for the business.

“We anticipate this product to be earnings enhancing in the medium term but will result in a deferral of revenue recognition which will affect reported earnings in 2018, its first year, but will not impact on cash receipts.

“This new product together with increased technology investment will substantially improve our offering to customers and our competitive position and underpin the Board’s confidence that we will see bookings growth in 2018 and beyond.”

The Irish company opened a new software development centre in Porto in Portugal last year and plans to “substantially expand” it this year “in order to increase the pace and volume of new product features and functionality for our customers and hostel partners”.

Mooney added: “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.

“We continued our program of pricing initiatives in Q1 2018, with changes to base rate commissions making a positive contribution to average booking value.”