Australia’s largest online auction house, GraysOnline, today launched its new “game-changing” accommodation site, GraysEscape.com, five weeks after it was originally scheduled to go live. The site allows consumers to haggle for room rates at around 1000 properties in Australia and NZ. GM Travel at GraysOnline, Gary Berman, said the launch was delayed to make some “extra changes” to the site. “It was frustrating but it was important we got it right,” Mr Berman said.

Grays Online CEO Cameron Poolman said GraysEscape.com offers consumers ‘buy now’ or ‘haggle’ options, and the ability to make an offer to three hotels at once, with the first property to accept gaining the business.

The site also offered hotels flexible ranking and display options and the ability to switch off the haggling in peak periods.

Mr Poolman said minimum bid are built into the bargaining system, adding that said, but up to 70 per cent of offers made by consumers under the former Ubid4rooms model* were accepted by hoteliers keen for the business.

*GraysEscape.com is essentially an updated version of the Ubid4rooms.com website and business, which GraysOnline bought earlier this year.

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