Fairfax-owned New Zealand e-commerce giant Trade Me
today announced that it has bought Holiday Houses, an online accommodation booking site.
Trade Me CEO Jon Macdonald would not disclose how much was paid
for Holiday Houses, which was set up in 2000 by Bill and Julie
Stalker and has now over 5,300 listings for holiday homes, beach
houses and other types of accommodation.
The transaction was done with Trade Me acquiring all of Red Rock
Ltd, the company that owns the business interests of the Holiday
Houses site. Macdonald said Holiday Houses would be kept separate from its
existing Travelbug site that focuses on motels and hotel. Founder
Bill Stalker will stay with Holiday Houses and continue being
involved in the daily management of the site.
There will, however, be some work on enhancing the user interface
of Holiday Houses, Macdonald said, without revealing specifics, and
new functionality added to the site. "Holiday Houses reminds me of
Trade Me in many ways," Macdonald says, referring to what he calls
the "grassroots person-to-person" mode of operation for the
While Trade Me has become very dominant in New Zealand's general classifieds, property, cars and jobs sectors, according
to Macdonald, it's not in a similar position in the accommodation
"Our competitors are very competent," Macdonald said, and adds
that barriers to entry in the accommodation booking market are low,
meaning Trade Me has to do as good a job as it can to make headway
in the market.
For those reasons, Macdonald believes that Trade Me isn't
running the risk of tickling the New Zealand competition regulator,
the Commerce Commission's interest as it might be deemed as being
too dominant in too many market sectors.