Today, Toronto-based iStopOver Inc., Canada’s leading provider of short term accommodation rentals announced it has acquired Vacapedia Inc., a one-stop-shop site for on-line travelers seeking vacation rentals and short-tem accommodations. iStopOver has acquired the assets and massive global vacation rental inventory of Vacapedia and its impressive distribution network for an undisclosed amount. Ashwin Kedia, CEO of Vacapedia will remain as an advisor to the company.
The vacation rental market is growing rapidly, and 87% of travelers who looked into a vacation rental in the past say they plan to stay in a vacation rental in the future. Despite the tough economy, Canadians spent roughly $9 billion on vacations in the US last year, and this number is likely to grow to $11 billion in 2011. Therefore, acquiring Vacapedia gives iStopOver access to an increased number of vacation rental properties at top US destinations where Canadians like to visit, such as New York, Nevada, California, Florida and Texas.
iStopOver’s global audience of Hosts earn cash by renting out their extra space and offering unique local experiences, affordability and flexibility that travelers cannot get at a hotel.
“Our acquisition of Vacapedia enables us to immediately increase the quantity and diversity of the more than 80,000 properties we’re now able to offer travelers,” said Anthony Lipschitz, Co-founder and CEO of iStopOver. “Bookings have increased some 65% over the past few months and with a focus on the rapidly growing alternative travel market, we’re well poised to capitalize on the industry’s strong growth.”
Launched in 2009, iStopOver now has properties in 16,023 cities in 92 countries worldwide. Incubated by Brightspark Ventures, the company has also attracted funding from GrowthWorks Capital, Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund and JLA Ventures.
Ensuring safety and authenticity for iStopOver guests
Are you worried about showing up to your vacation rental destination – only to find out that it wasn’t what you expected? Don’t worry. iStopOver’s free social media tools help Hosts and Guests to chat online before travelling without exchanging any personal information. Also, iStopOver acts as a payment broker, making sure that the Guest has checked-in and is happy before delivering payment to the Host. Guests and Hosts can also post reviews about on one another. So, everyone benefits from this shared information.
In addition, iStopOver provides authentic pictures of its properties as well as trust-worthy user-written profiles. That way, the place you stay in is exactly what you saw and is backed by real facts and reviews from real people.
“Pioneering sites like Vacapedia have paved the way for the home stay and vacation rental market’s rapid acceptance and growth,” said Ashwin Kedia. “Last year home stays in North America generated some $90 billion in revenues with an almost 20% increase in the numbers of property owners financing their vacation homes by renting them to travelers. This bodes well for iStopOver and its focus on providing global travelers with outstanding options at all price points.”