Trade Me in tourism tie-up

Vianet of Kerikeri provides technology for accommodation section

Trade Me is moving into the tourism market after successful forays into classifieds, cars and job advertising, through a technology tie up with Vianet of Kerikeri. Sam Morgan, general manager of Trade Me, says the diversified online commerce site discovered that the the tourism sector wasn't making good use of the internet, and started building a site for that purpose.

With fifteen years of experience of the tourism industry, Vianet of Kerikeri was picked to supply the engine for Trade Me, says managing director Wayne Campbell. Initially focusing on accommodation, Trade Me will provide the front-end to Vianet's solution, and take care of the distribution.

There are roughly 7,000 tourism accommodation providers in New Zealand, says Campbell, and the service is expected to go live in the middle of this year. A second stage stage involving other tourism sectors such as transport and activities is scheduled for development later this year.

Campbell expects the service to achive "complete coverage" nationwide, with providers signing up to take advantage of Trade Me's large audience and high profile on the internet. The terms for the providers advertising on Trade Me are not yet known, however.

Asked what the the dollar value of the agreement with Trade Me was, Campbell would only say that there is no equity stake taken in Vianet and didn't want to reveal the terms of the deal.

Commenting on the deal, G2 New Zealand strategist Michael Carney says accommodation shares the same sort of characteristics that other classifieds on Trade Me have. The deal is about sharing information to large customer numbers in a meaningful way, Carney says.

Carney also expects Trade Me to undercut existing competition in the tourism market so as to pick up a criticial mass of providers as customers for itself. After that, Trade Me may well inch up the fees, he says.

Computerworld and Trade Me are both owned by Fairfax.

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