Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Trade Me buys holidayhouses.co.nz

Interesting news that Trade Me is to increase its exposure to short term accommodation on-line reselling by purchasing holidayhouses.co.nz.

This strategic purchase will strengthen its fledgling motel and hotel reselling site, travelbug.co.nz that appears not to have performed as well as some industry commentators had predicted. Trade Me would have also been encouraged by the success of AA's bookabatch.co.nz.

Click to enlargeSource: www.aatravel.co.nz

On 9 September 2007, Travelbug launched with more than 1500 hoteliers and moteliers listing their properties, assisted by a labour intensive campaign of reps visiting operators throughout the country.

It is unclear how many of Travelbug's claimed 2,600 listings currently on their website are active and "live" as there still appears to be many operators only choosing to advertise "on request".

At the time of travelbug's launch, Sam Morgan was quoted as having a long-term target of 5000 to 10,000 operators. This may have been a lofty goal at the time, however with the instant gratification of 5,000+ holiday home listings that will be aquired with the holidayhouses.co.nz purchase, this would appear to have been largely achieved.

After the initial uptake of accommodation operators, further growth is planned from expansion into other areas such as tourist activities, rental cars and flights.

It was predicted that Travelbug would quickly establish itself and emulate the success of its big brother TradeMe. It was assumed that the two-thirds of all Internet users in New Zealand that use Trade Me would simply start using Travelbug.

This clearly hasn't happened, but it is still early days!

Online auction site Trade Me is acquiring online holiday accommodation booking business holidayhouses.co.nz for an undisclosed sum.

Trade Me is buying 100 percent of Red Rock Ltd, which owns all the business interests of holidayhouses.co.nz.

Set up nine years ago, holidayhouses.co.nz has about 5300 holiday home, bach and accommodation listings.

The site focuses on privately owned houses and features customised searches, interactive maps and the option for guests to submit feedback on their stays. Trade Me will, at least initially, keep holidayhouses.co.nz separate from its existing Travelbug website which focuses on motels and hotels.

"Holidayhouses.co.nz has a great brand, a strong following and the widest selection of holiday home and bach accommodation in New Zealand," said Trade Me CEO Jon Macdonald.

"Holidayhouses.co.nz is a proven product and we don't want to mess it up. We'll stay true to its consumer focus, which is entirely consistent with our approach to Trade Me," Macdonald added.

Co-founder of holidayhouses.co.nz Bill Stalker will continue to be involved in its daily management. He said Trade Me was the right group to further grow the business.

Trade Me is a sister company of Stuff.co.nz, with both owned by Fairfax Media.

Source: Click HERE

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