HostelWorld has grown to become one of the leading hostel booking sites, linking travellers with over 33,000 properties in 170 countries.

By ‘tuning into what makes millennial travellers tick’, its digital marketing strategy is all about connecting with those under the age of 35. 

While the brand’s eager use of the ‘M’ word might put off some, it’s certainly succeeded in engaging an adventure-seeking generation. 

Using humour and creativity to great effect, it’s a fine example of a business using video to promote its brand position and strengthen loyalty. Here’s why.

Breaking down stereotypes

Most travel brands, and hostel sites in particular, focus on the low price and convenient locations of budget properties. 

With the likes of Airbnb promoting an affordable yet still somewhat luxurious offering, HostelWorld has decided to take a different tack, instead choosing to highlight how far modern hostels have come.

The brand uses its ad campaigns to show that hostels are no longer the ultimate way to slum it. 

In its latest video campaign, ‘In Da Hostel with 50 Cent’, HostelWorld parodies MTV Cribs to show that even famous rappers don’t have to sacrifice luxury to enjoy beautiful locations around the world.

Cleverly promoting the ‘community vibes’ and ‘mad tight security’ of hostels, it uses tongue-in-cheek humour to break down the stereotypes of old and communicate the appeal of modern hostels. 

Tapping into pop culture

With such a distinct target audience, it's no surprise that HostelWorld uses pop culture to connect with consumers.

One of its most innovative (and irreverent) campaigns to date is the ‘Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank’ video, which saw the dreams of many an Alan Partridge fan come true.

Based on an episode from nearly 20 years ago, it depicts former boxer Eubank checking into a hostel in all his grandiose glory.

With such a niche reference, the video could have tanked, but having garnered nearly 300,000 views to date on YouTube, it seems to have connected with its audience.

  

Storytelling & travel culture

HostelWorld’s digital content isn't only made up of viral ads. 

Filmed by the very same people it aims to target, the brand’s ‘Meet the World’ video series highlights how travel can be a fulfilling and transformative experience.

From the world’s biggest tomato fight to London’s hidden gems, it documents its own team’s travel adventures as well as those from the online travel blog and vlog community. 

Reflecting the notion that young people want to bring back memories rather than souvenirs, it uses personal storytelling to inspire its audience.  

Travel & Tourism is just one of the sectors covered at Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing 2016, which takes place in London on October 5-6.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 18 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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