Trade Me Travel Press Release

Media Release

Sunday 9 September 2007

Trade Me Launches Travel
Trade Me today launches its new travel website “Travelbug” with an initial focus on accommodation.

Aimed at everyday New Zealanders, Travelbug launches with over 1500 accommodation providers and over 10,000 rooms from Ahipara to Stewart Island.

“We’re delighted by the take-up we’ve enjoyed from the industry,” said Trade Me founder and CEO Sam Morgan.

“We have a great spread of coverage with a selection of places to stay in nearly every town in New Zealand. However we expect to double our operator numbers within a year.”

Travelbug shares a navigation bar with Trade Me, and also draws on the principles of community feedback and trading histories. Prospective customers are able to check out other travelers’ experiences and provide their own ratings of accommodation providers.

Overnight accommodation ranges from $25 to $1500 night, but the main focus is family accommodation between $80 and $160 a night. The service allows you to check availability and then book online up to a year ahead.

“Just as Trade Me Jobs has grown the number of people looking for jobs online, we believe Travelbug will significantly grow the number of people who find and book holidays online in New Zealand.”

The website provides Kiwis with a comprehensive marketplace of local accommodation providers with online booking facilities. There are no additional charges for consumers and suppliers are only charged if bookings are made.

Trade Me has built Travelbug in partnership with Vianet International, a Kerikeri based travel software and development company. Once the accommodation service beds down, Trade Me and Vianet plan to expand Travelbug into other areas including holiday homes and tourism activities.

Published by Lance Wiggs


One reply on “Trade Me Travel Press Release”

  1. yup, it’s a good start.

    didn’t like the fact that i had to register again though – would have preferred that my TM account also worked on TravelBug. there was no info in the TB register screens that TM didn’t already have.

    most of what they are doing and proposing – no, make that all – has been considered a possibility by pretty much all of the key players in the NZ travel distribution market for some time, and discarded by one and all while the focus has gone to other priorities. there are also of course others already doing what travelbug does. anyone still considering having a crack at the market will probably give up now that TM have done it! – I would!

    the only real difference that TM brings is their own flavour of distribution – i.e. sheer weight of people who use TradeMe, and also the customer experience benefits you describe in your later blog on the difference between TM and e-bay. They stand a much better chance of succeeding than any other players on this basis alone. Next step should be partnerships with Air NZ and Tourism NZ to sell NZ content to international visitors. THomas Cook, Flight Centre, etc. – distributors who all sell NZ packages in offshore markets will also be interested if TB can offer a content feed into their packaging systems.

    i’m booked up for holidays til Easter next year, so didn’t make a booking yet – but really keen to try, and see how it actually goes. accurate, timely, and true fulfilment (i.e. a real booking) is absolutely critical. one of the biggest issues I saw when looking at the business opportunity that Travebug represents some time ago was the sheer number of operators out there who run their bookings on a sheet of paper next to the phone. Travelbug (or vianet) will have to have “interet-ised” most of them to make this business viable.

    the other biggie was the cash nature of the business for a lot of operators – looks like vianet will process C/card, and that that system is different from TM’s PayNow – so, presumably, Vianet offer back-end reconciliation for operators… which means a paper trail for what used to be cash business…

    Anyway, great effort! (oh yeah – how many NZ readers actually book this kind of travel online, rather than through mates-of-mates…)


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