Blink and you would of missed it (especially in the $10.5billion online advertising acquisition bonanza) but mainstay of the wholesale travel business in Australia - AOT ("hey the O is for Online not Outback, OK!") - gobbled up the little known NeedtoEscape and rolled it into its small but plucky stable of online travel assets including Travelmate (content and destination information) and needitnow (hotels). Here is the TravelWeekly pdf with the story.
Not quite sure what it adds to their offering as they already have supplier strength from their offline business, some online demand from needitnow and its partnership deals (like Sensis' GoStay - which as I said before is a white label of needitnow) and content traffic in Travelmate. I do not see that much in the NeedtoEscape offering that adds value but maybe it was so cheap a price that it was worth it.
From his quote in the TravelWeekly article Russel Farr (MD of NeedtoEscape) is joining our understatements of the year competition when he declared that the online [travel] market is "going gangbusters". With global online sales at $139billion a year, I wasn't sure. But now that AOT has bought NeedtoEscape "for an undisclosed sum" I am.