Trade Me acquires BookIt, expects online tourism to grow

Trade Me is set to foray more into the online tourism and travel sector with a deal to acquire online booking marketplace, BookIt.

Fairfax-owned Trade Me will buy Dunedin-based BookIt for an undisclosed sum. Trade Me’s head of travel Alex Fala said the amount was commercially sensitive.

Five year-old BookIt, a booking and payment software provider for New Zealand tourism operators and resellers, last year made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for the Asia Pacific region after experiencing 150% growth over three years.

Co-founder Ian Taylor said the company had been looking for a strategic partner for some time and the sale to Trade Me would allow BookIt to realise its full potential.

Mr Fala said it was hard to put a figure on BookIt's expected continued growth, but the online tourism space in New Zealand was dynamic and growing.

Trade Me was a strong player and saw the potential for growth ahead of the mark.

BookIt had a solid piece of software and although Trade Me intended to add its own expertise and make improvements the software would fundamentally remain the same, he said.

The deal would benefit both Trade Me users and BookIt customers, he said.

“Users of Travelbug and our reseller network will be able to choose from a deeper selection of accommodation and a broader range of products, including activities like skiing and sightseeing tours. Suppliers to BookIt and Trade Me will be from a larger audience.”

BookIt has an existing network of more than 40 reselling websites and 1700 tourism suppliers.

Mr Fala said Trade Me’s primary focus was the domestic market.

BookIt’s three staff members would become part of the broader Trade Me travel team. He said while the number of employees was not expected to expand overnight, as a growing business he expected more staff to come onboard in time.

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