One of the announcements of interest made at the eTourism conference in Auckland this week was by the Trade Me Travel team. Travelbug has been their main retail vehicle for the past 3 years, however they are now bringing accommodation booking opportunities into their main Trade Me auction site with a Travel section. This is expected to launch on Monday 6 September.
Accommodation providers using the Bookit system and on Travelbug will be able to login to Bookit to set up their auction for any of their room products and the commission will be 10% (including credit card fees).
For the winner of the auction they will provided with a link to a normal Travelbug booking page to complete the booking details and make payment online within 24 hours of winning the auction, so the booking confirmation and payments will be handled as normal via Bookit.
As with any type of auction you can set a reserve price and a buy now price. The key requirement to place an auction on Trade Me for an accommodation booking is that the room availability must be guaranteed by the operator – so be careful about the date range you set for the date of travel and note that the availability is manually allocated, it is not linked with your Bookit availability.
Given operators have to be certain about the room availability to ensure the success of the auction I’d expect only operators with large inventory levels to be confident with using this and can imagine some awkward situations if the room auction dates get sold out through other booking channels prior to the end of an auction, hmmmm.
The set up looks easy enough though so it will be interesting to see how this gets adopted by accommodation providers, they can also develop packages to auction. Trade Me Travel also intends to add flights, event tickets and activities to this auction section on Trade Me.