Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Trade Me vs Wotif

Nice little battle (maybe) about to emerge in New Zealand between online auction giant (by NZ standards) and Fairfax subsidiary Trade Me and regional online accommodation super star Trade Me have announced (according to a tie up with travel tech firm Vianet to
to build a tourism website where people can book rooms in New Zealand's hotels, motels, campgrounds and other accommodation.
There is some blahblah in the press release about how this will be different to Wotif because it will target "ordinary kiwis" while Wotif is focused on businessmen. Don't believe it. Assuming the site is launched this will be an old fashioned battle between an established brand leader (Wotif) and a new entrant that hopes to push traffic from one form of ecommerce to another. At this stage it is clearly - advantage Wotif.

UPDATE - have an update on this story. Including:
1. 1,000 hotels already signed up
2. Trade Me parent Fairfax Media has acquired a 12.5% stake in Vianet International the company building the software behind the product (hey...Vianet are one of the few using a .travel domain)
My general warning for Trade Me is do not assume that ecommerce traffic from one style of business (in this case auctions) will always translate into sales in another category (travel). For example eBay have never been able to achieve the results in travel that their brand would indicate. On a more local level, has never been able to shift the demand it generates in hotels into air sales despite efforts to incorporate Expedia's dynamic packaging technology.

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