Sites in the combined group will include Stayz, Rentahome and Takeabreak. Early news is that it will be combined with the NZ businesses for Fairfax holidayhomes.co.nz and Bookit.co.nz. Not sure what it means for Travelbug.
This is a big move.The Combined Stayz and Occupancy likely have 60-66% of the market for online vacation rental and short lets in Australia. With Yahoo7's TotalTravel second and Realholidays (subsidiary of Real Estate.com.au) a very distant third.
I will do more analysis later - hopefully including an interview with someone at Occupancy. For background:
- 1999 Rentahome launched by founder Justin Butterworth (now co-CEO of Occupancy - new role to be confirmed);
- 2001 Stayz launched by Chris Sharkey and others;
- 2003 Takeabreak founded by Paul Young and Craig Davis (now co-CEO of Occupancy - new role to be confirmed);
- Dec 2005 Fairfax bought Stayz for $12.7mm;
- 2006 Stayz attempts to expand the business by launching Hotelz. It did not succeed given the crowded market and Hotelz was dropped;
- Aug 2008 - Fairfax claim Stayz doing more than $100mm in year in transactions values . They value Stayz at $36mm;
- Jan 2010 Fairfax subsidiary Trademe buys online booking software provider Bookit. They have software that makes it easier for independent properties to get online;
- 2010 Rentahome and Takeabreak merge to become Occupancy.com;
- 2010 - the BOOT estimates the vacation rental/short let online market in Australia to $455mm per year; and
- March 2011 - Fairfax announces the merger of Occupancy and Stayz.com
- Who will do what in the new company? Note Kirsty Shaw used to be the GM of Stayz. Now her Linkedin profile says Director Strategy and operations - Transactions Division at Fairfax Digital (though the linkedin dates say this change has been in place for more than a year);
- What will happen to each of the three brands?;
- Where does this fit with other travel assets like Travelbug in Nz; and
- Will the 10% ownership by founders of Occupany and the restructure at Fairfax itself mean anything in terms of the massive cross promotion that Stayz gets from Fairfax sites?