The Berlin-based Airbnb clone 9flats today announced the acquisition of iStopOver, which is based in Toronto (Canada). This purchase will probably enable 9flats to double its total offering of apartments/homes to about 100,000 after completion of the transaction. The concrete terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Serial entrepreneur Stephan Uhrenbacher, founder of 9flats, Qype and other companies, stated: “North America, one of the world’s largest travel markets, is the most important market for 9flats outside of Europe,” He continued: “The integration of iStopOver will strongly contribute to our growth in this region and will both open a completely new geographic target audience for us and double our offerings at the same time.”
If everything works out well, the customers of both companies will also benefit from this deal: Due to 9flats’s company policies StopOver’s existing customers will no longer have to pay booking fees. Regarding the overall customer service, 9flats stated on its blog: “With the iStopOver customer services team joining us, we’ve doubled our support team. This means iStopOver guests and hosts can still count on the same excellent support they’re used to from the iStopOver team, while 9flats customers can now enjoy longer opening hours.”
It will be interesting to watch what impact this acquisition is going to have in relation to the competitive environment of “community marketplaces for people to list, discover, and book unique spaces”. Last month we compared the originator Airbnb with its European clones 9flats and Wimdu and came to the conclusion that the search volume and estimated traffic puts Airbnb in the first place, Wimdu in the second place and 9flats in the third place. We’ll keep you updated.