Hostelworld saw annual earnings drop by 19% to €21.4 million as overall booking levels remained flat.

The 2018 figures issued this morning show 4% growth in bookings for the Hostelworld brand with a 22% rise in bookings from the firm’s mobile app to 40% of the total.

Revenue fell from €86.7 million in 2017 to €82.1 million last year.

However, the average gross booking value was up by 3% to €11.9.

Chief executive Gary Morrison said: “We are pleased to have reported continued growth in our core Hostelworld brand gross bookings of 4% during the year.”

The firm also successfully developed a ‘roadmap for growth’ following the completion of a strategic review in the final three months of 2018.

The key area of focus in 2019 is strengthening the capability of the company’s core platform to improve its flexibility and the customer experience.

Plans are in place “to utilise and leverage our rich data sources to target and grow the most profitable customer segments,” Hostelword added.

Marketing activity and investment is now focussed on driving core customer acquisition, a move away from category advertising.

Morrison added: “Hostelworld is operating in a highly competitive market, which is growing.

“We have a very relevant brand which is trusted by a loyal and engaged customer base.

“Following the completion of our strategic review, we identified and developed a ‘roadmap for growth’ programme to allow the group to capitalise on these significant opportunities available and to return the business to growth.

“We started work on a number of initiatives during the second half of 2018 and we look to 2019 as a year of investment to fund the growth drivers for 2020 and beyond.

“We anticipate that organic growth will be self-funded from our existing cash resources and cash generated from the business.

“Trading in the first quarter of 2019 is in line with the board’s expectations.

“We remain committed to delivering value to shareholders and continue to assess our capital allocation approach in line with investment choices and priorities.”

MoreHostelworld earnings boosted as mobile bookings rise April 18