WeHostels launched its first mobile app last September, allowing users to find low-cost accommodations nearly anywhere in the world from their iPhones. Now the company is expanding its portfolio of mobile apps to make its service available on Android devices, as well.
Since we last covered WeHostels at SXSW, the company has seen pretty tremendous growth: Downloads have increased 230 percent since then and bookings are up 480 percent, to more than 200 bookings a day. A lot of that growth has come as a result of WeHostels being translated into new languages, including German, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
Getting the app on Android phones should accelerate its growth, particularly as the company expects the app to appeal to its target demographic. There have been more than 900 million Android devices activated around the world, according to Google, and that number continues to grow. Android also has strong market share in Europe and Australia, which are big markets for WeHostels.
More than that, though, WeHostels believes that many of its potential users — young, increasingly international travelers — use Android devices instead of iPhones. “We definitely know that Android has a higher penetration in our segment of young people,” WeHostels CEO Diego Saez-Gil told me by phone. “We think we can more than double our users with Android.”
For that reason, WeHostels will begin developing new features for Android first, and then updating the iPhone in the future, according to Saez-Gil. Until now, the company has been working to refine the app before moving it to Android. That includes simplifying the booking process, which now takes just three clicks to complete.
It also includes adding hostels in places where major events are happening. That’s something that WeHostels first did during SXSW, and it continues to use events as a way to promote usage. WeHostels now has more than 40,000 properties in about 800 cities around the world.