When Johnny Quach began his current role as Hostelworld CPO in February 2020, he was met with a unique set of challenges.
On top of the usual balancing act between customer requirements and internal demands, he was tasked with restructuring a host of processes and software systems.
As far as travel agencies go, Hostelworld is the biggest brand that specializes in hostel stays, with more than 36,000 properties worldwide.
But they needed to find a way to reduce inefficiencies that stemmed mainly from their customer credit system, and ready the business for a more promotions-oriented strategy.
They previously relied on a number of overlapping in-house solutions that had been implemented over the years. But going forward they decided to run all their promotions using Talon.One.
In this blog post we’ll look at the factors that influenced this decision, and explore how things have changed at Hostelworld since integrating our Promotion Engine.
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Like all businesses operating in the hotel/hospitality industry, Hostelworld was hit hard by the pandemic.
Hostelworld assessed their setup in the light of changing user behavior, and quickly realized that their software stack was inflexible and ill equipped to deal with more complex promotions they wanted to run.
The in-house customer credit solution caused major issues for the finance team when it came to reconciling cash, users and credits in reporting. Hostelworld had to allocate a lot of time and resources to stay on top of this system, various internal teams were wasting time on additional processes, and the current setup was not at all scalable.
To remain competitive, the business needed to streamline processes and offload the dead weight in its software stack.
As a specialist promotions platform, our Promotion Engine was ready built to cover all possible bases with regards to promotional campaigns.
Once the integration was complete, Hostelworld iteratively rerouted its credit system and reporting from the in-house solution to Talon.One. This transition immediately freed up a chunk of developer hours that were previously dedicated to maintaining the in-house solution.
The credit system has now been upgraded with new features, allowing customers to ‘cash out’ their credits with a simple coupon code
In Johnny’s own words, “One of the biggest benefits has been the time savings and reduction of work needed in the back office.”
Another key factor that influenced Hostelworld’s decision was its plan to develop promotions as a core business strategy going forward.
Part of this strategy involves partnerships with third party sites who will display promotions and deals on Hostelworld’s rooms. To be featured on these sites, and to catch the eye of customers, Hostelworld needs to be able to run time limited promotions.
This wasn’t possible with the old system, but now it’s as simple as setting up a campaign in Talon.One and passing the promotion data to the partner sites.
“We’re on the verge of being able to launch promotional partnerships across many different platforms”
This is just one of many new channels that Hostelworld hopes to open up with the help of Talon.One as its promotional strategy matures. Hostelworld hadn’t actually been able to run any promotions for four or five years before Talon.One.
In the highly competitive hotel/hospitality industry promotions are one of the most effective ways to stand out. They help combine value and convenience, whether that’s in the form of discounts, cashback, credits or loyalty points.
Now that they have the Promotion Engine to power their campaigns, Hostelworld plans to experiment with new promotional strategies.
One of the main drawbacks of in-house software systems is the need for constant maintenance to keep things running smoothly. And that's without taking into account what’s needed to improve them with new features.
This is another way Talon.One has added real value to Hostelworld’s operation.
“We don’t need to innovate on the campaign manager, because Talon.One will continue to make that better. That saves us a huge amount of time, and frees up resources that we can use to make our product better for the customer.”
Johnny and his team are now equipped to be competitive in their space for the foreseeable future. They can roll out new promotional campaigns that make use of the latest promotional techniques as their strategy evolves.
Hostelworld’s decision to buy rather than build is being mirrored by businesses in all industries and sectors. SaaS and business microservices have now reached full maturity. And with the emergence of the MACH architecture as an industry standard, many separate systems can be integrated together within the same stack.
While Talon.One sits in the promotions niche, there are specialist platforms and microservices for virtually every core backend and frontend business function imaginable.
To find out more about the specifics of Hostelworld's Talon.One integration, download our customer case study. Or, if you want to learn more about headless commerce and microservices in general, download our ebook – Headless Commerce and Microservices Explained.
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