HostelBookers will now become part of the Web Reservations International (WRI) portfolio, much to the delight of Hellman & Friedman – known for a focus of ‘investing in management buyouts in media, telecommunications, financial services, technology and marketing’.
HostelBookers and Hostelworld now have five working days to complete the merge. Under the WRI folio will be Hostelworld.com, HostelBookers.com, Hostels.com, BedandBreakfastworld.com and Backpackonline.com. With the basket seemingly complete, many are wondering who will make the eventual purchase of WRI – with whispers of Priceline being the obvious choice.
Either way, the focus is now on what the immediate outcome will be of the approved merger and how it will affect the hostelling industry. Combined, the companies have proposed that they can jointly tackle the big booking sites such as Booking.com, who are viewed as trying to infiltrate the backpacker market.
Properties who list themselves on Booking.com are already paying a higher commission – which is an area of major concern for many budget properties currently paying 10% commission on the HostelBookers and Hostelworld deposit models. Will the merge see commissions jump up, to cover the costs of the additional marketing requirements needed to take on the larger OTA’s? Time will tell.