Wotif tapping into new markets

Wotif tapping into new markets
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Wotif chief executive Robbie Cooke has spoken of his hope for the retailer’s holiday rental accommodation business as it looks to tap into a new market.

The online retailer introduced rental properties to its site in May with 700 listings in Australia and New Zealand. Cooke said expansion into Asia Pacific is likely in around 12 months.

“We think it’s an interesting space,” he told Travel Today. “We’ve looked at it for a couple of years and think it’s an opportunity to provide an offering which is a little different to what is out there at the moment.

“It’s a decent sized market and we’ll have a crack at it. We’ll learn as we go.”

Cooke said it was targeting properties that offer instant booking confirmation.

Payment is structured differently from the traditional Wotif hotel bookings with deposits paid ahead of a final settlement.

“It’s a little different because generally with holiday rentals, bookings are made much further in advance,” Cooke said.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that Wotif still plans to move to a 12-month booking window although it is not top of its priority list.

“We’ve always said we’ll eventually get to it but it’s not something we are pushing for in this financial year,” he said.

Cooke denied such a move would erode its reputation as a cheap last minute site, arguing that its extension to a six month window did nothing to alter its booking pattern.

“People still absolutely see us as a last minute site and they use us that way. Lead booking time is 17 days on average and the six month window did very little to change that,” he said.

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