September 29, 2017

Generator Hostels

The Brief

Generator Hostels provide unique, cultural, experience and design led accommodation options located in the most central locations across Europe including London, Dublin, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, Venice, Barcelona, Madrid, and Paris, with Amsterdam, Stockholm and Rome all having opened last year. Hailed as the fastest growing hostel brand currently with 12 locations totalling over 7,600 beds, set to rise to 14 locations with 8,563 beds this year with new openings in Madrid and South Beach Miami.

Taking control of direct bookings has become a huge challenge for hospitality brands, large or small. Online Travel Agents (OTAs) continue to monopolise online traffic and divert direct bookings away from brands. Is this a battle that hotels and hostels simply have no hope of winning? Or is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Crafted were appointed as Generator Hostel’s digital partner agency in 2013, working closely with the brand to grow the business through digital marketing strategy. Following a disappointing year in online bookings, Crafted were tasked with driving the effectiveness of search marketing for the brand whilst maintaining seamless traffic and visibility across paid search.

The Strategy

The Crafted team began by analysing over 3 years of booking data as well as the last 12 months’ data in Google Analytics. Using engagement and behaviour data Crafted approached the targeting from several different angles enabling us to establish and define key booking trends at property level.

Devising a bidding strategy specifically designed to combat the commissions being taken by OTAs like and, Crafted rewired the entire PPC strategy from a ‘blanket-across all’ to a ‘property unique’ set up and targeting approach, implementing this data driven strategy across the global property portfolio.

Crafted introduced more granular domestic bidding with the introduction of city-level and ‘near me’ mobile campaigns targeting local area around property alongside demographic profiling. Properties seeing more bookings for 35-44 were given demographic specific bidding with optimised messaging for the different age groups (promoting dorms to the younger audience and private stays to the over 35 audience).

The Results

Outranking every OTA, on every search engine, in every language, Crafted delivered outstanding results, contributing towards Generator Hostel’s revenue increasing 23.5 percent to £61 million in 2016/17 compared with the previous year.

In addition to this Crafted proved the return that can be generated through strategic PPC implementation greatly outweighs the return demonstrated by Online Travel Agents.

Results have been exemplary, with traffic and leads from paid advertising forming an ever-larger proportion of the network’s success. So much so that Generator Hostels often consult with Crafted on strategic decisions concerning the wider business.


“Crafted has been working alongside Generator on its digital marketing strategy and implementation for several years now, consistently delivering results. Crafted’s creative approach works perfectly when aligned with Generator’s target demographic. By interrogating our online data, the Insights and Design Team have created a stunning website that beautifully reflects our brand and is facilitating our rapid growth by driving bookings and ensuring search engine visibility.

Crafted’s account management, technical, marketing, research and design/creative teams work closely with Generator. The relationship we have with Crafted continues to go from strength to strength, they have very much established themselves as a trusted digital advisor, ensuring our digital success, driving enquiries and providing exceptional ROI.”


Anwen Parry, Chief Marketing Officer, Generator Hostels