Dublin-based accommodation platform Hostelworld has published a trading update for the period from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021.
In the update, Hostelworld stated that while last year was challenging, it recorded a consistent recovery in bookings and revenue compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic 2019 levels throughout the year, except for the latter part of 2021 due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The company said that 2021 commenced with strong recovery in Central America and domestic demand in the US and Australia, and the opening of borders by a number of southern Europeans destinations in May-June resulted in strong growth during the summer months.
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Central America bookings surpassed 2019 levels during the second of last year, while bookings for southern European destinations rose to 60%-80% before the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 caused travel restrictions to be reintroduced in many destinations.
Hostelworld's overall FY 2021 net bookings amounted to 1.5 million, which is 21% of the levels recorded for 2019, and the company's cash position stood at €25.3 million as of December 31, 2021, after standing at €33.7 million on June 30, 2021, with monthly operating cash outflow decreasing throughout the year compared to the levels recorded for 2020.
Hostelworld said that trading economics recovered throughout last year, with average net booking values exceeding the levels recorded for FY 2019 by October of 2021 (cumulative) due to a favourable geographic mix and a longer length of stay bookings. The company added that this was partially offset by underlying bed price deflation, higher cancellation rates and a decrease in blended commission rates (driven by the removal of Elevate in 2020).
Hostelworld Chief Executive Statement
Hostelworld chief executive Gary Morrison stated in the company's trading update, "While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on the travel industry, I was pleased to see our consistent bookings recovery versus 2019 levels throughout the year, save for the last 6 weeks of the year which have been impacted by the Omicron variant. I am also pleased to report that we made solid progress on all elements of our strategy during the year, while reducing our operating expenses still further versus 2020 levels.
"Finally, our liquidity position remains strong, driven by our relentless focus on cost control coupled with the successful term loan facility transaction in February 2021."
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