NZ online auction giant Trade Me announced in March this year that it was going to enter the online travel market in NZ. The site - Travelbug - has just been launched, focuses only on New Zealand accommodation and claims 1,500 accommodation providers.
As I mentioned in my post on their announcement, there is a challenge for any ecommerce company from a specific category to shift traffic to another market sector. Pricegrabber in the US famously tried to add travel to their online shopping meta-search model in 2005 only to shut it without a word sometime in early 2007. As I discussed in a post covering that closure there is a history of retailers trying to move from selling electronic, clothing, music, books and toys to travel and failing.
Trade Me has such a traffic lead in ecommerce in New Zealand that it might prove the (short) online history books wrong.
I picked up the launch story in the nzherald blog section.