‘I’ve found it’s good to pick a niche and really go for it’

The real world: Colm Hanratty editor of Hostelworld.com

Colm Hanratty, 30, is editor of the backpacker travel site Hostelworld.com. His job has seen him travel through 29 countries and stay in over 50 youth hostels. Hanratty has a degree in journalism and media communications from Griffith College, Dublin.

How useful was your degree?



In college, we learnt basic writing skills, investigative journalism and web design. I also did photography for a while, and radio, but what got me this job was the journalism degree.

After I graduated I went travelling for a year in Australia. When I came back, I set up a travel website as a hobby. I am a great one for keepsakes, I hold on to things such as flyers. I just thought I’d pass my knowledge on.



What do you do now?



I travel for maybe four to five days a month for Hostelworld. From my travels we make three-page downloadable guides on the homepage. I also create podcasts and update the online guides, sample itineraries and lot of marketing. I write the customer newsletter and update the content on the site, competitions, news, and promote new sections of the site. It is the first job I have had in journalism.



How did you get into it?



I graduated in June 1999, worked for the summer and left for Australia in October. I was away for a year to the day. I did all sorts of things, but I got sick of it. Eventually, I sent a letter to Hostelworld to say, “Hi, I’m doing this site as a hobby, any chance that you have a job?” It was a fluke. Coincidentally, they were advertising for an editor. My website was shortlisted for an award called the Golden Spider – a big internet award in Ireland. Hostelworld was also shortlisted for an award and that’s how I found out about them.



What was your worst job?



I didn’t detest any of them too much. I worked as a debt collector in Australia. I would be looking at the account, see how much they owed, have the phone number and before you even pick up the phone you just think, I am about to have a fight. Then you would pick up the phone and have that fight. That makes you stressed. I used to always have horrible phone calls last thing on a Friday evening. It took a bit of the fun out of finishing on a Friday.



What advice would you give to new graduates?



People should send in a letter if they like the look of a company. Nepotism can be a great thing, but for the rest of us it’s just a matter of posting in work that you’ve done and hounding people. If there is a particular field or company that you want to work for, find out the HR e-mail address and just post in your CV and a covering letter. You never know what might be out there. It totally worked in my favour.



The thing that helped me make the transition from college to full-time work was that, although I was flapping around for a year, I have found something that I love. I love my job, even when I am in the office doing nine to five. Tomorrow I am going to Granada in Spain, in June I go to Seville and July, Dubrovnik. I have found that it’s good to pick a niche and really go for it.



  • Hostelworld.com has reviews and online hostel bookings for more than 17,000 hostels in 168 countries worldwide
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project