Cameron Poolman

Cameron Poolman

Australia’s largest online auction house, GraysOnline, has bought the Ubid4rooms.com website and will use it as the platform for a new, branded hotel booking site to be launched in June.

GraysOnline.com is a top 10 Australian retail website, especially strong in wine, which attracts 1.1m unique visitors each month. Ubid4rooms, which has been seeking a buyer for a long time, auctions hotel rooms.

CEO Cameron Poolman said the company “had been interested in expanding into the accommodation market for some time. Ubid’s business model is fully scalable and would suit most tourism product, both domestically and internationally.”

Ubid4rooms.com Founder Gary Berman, who launched the site in 2008, will manage GraysOnline’s new travel division. Ubid4rooms.com site currently features 1200 hotels, motels, apartments, holiday parks and B&Bs in Australia and NZ, including major hotel groups such as Rydges, Toga, Oaks, 8 Hotels, Best Western, Golden Chain, Chifley Hotels, Country Comfort, Choice Hotels and Leisure Inns.

Grays’ new accommodation site will differ from GraysOnline’s auction model as it will allow customers to make offers directly to hotels, with no competitive bidding.

The controlled discounting Grays will facilitate allows hotels to offer guests lower-than-advertised rates on a confidential, one-on-one basis without the agreed rates going public or affecting brand integrity.

GraysOnline.com sells more than 200,000 consumer, industrial and commercial goods online every month, including TVs, cars, wine and furniture.

The site has 1.2 million members and more than 500,000 email subscribers.

Staffed nationally by 400 people, GraysOnline is Australia Post’s fourth biggest customer, with more than two million items delivered a year.

Ubid4rooms will continue operating until the new site is launched. Accommodation providers keen to list with GraysOnline can call Gary Berman on 1300 723661 or 0410 458 166 or email Gary.Berman@grays.com.au

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