IStopOver Acquires Vacation Rental Site Vacapedia

iStopOver Inc. said last week it is acquiring Vacapedia Inc., a site for finding vacation rentals and short-tem accommodations. IStopOver, a Canadian site for short-term rentals, did not disclose the size of the cash and stock deal. It said it is acquiring Vacapedia’s assets, massive global inventory and its distribution network.

PRESS RELEASE

iStopOver Inc. Acquires Vacapedia Inc.

Company Seizes Canadian Leadership Position as Vacation Rental Market Continues Growth

TORONTO, ON, June 28, 2011 – iStopOver Inc. (www.istopover.com), Canada’s leading provider of short term accommodation rentals today announced it has acquired Vacapedia Inc., a one-stop-shop site for on-line travelers seeking vacation rentals and short-tem accommodations. In the cash and stock deal at an undisclosed amount, iStopOver is acquiring the assets and massive global inventory of Vacapedia and its impressive distribution network. Ashwin Kedia, CEO of Vacapedia will serve as an advisor to the company.

Established in 2009, iStopOver has properties in 16,023 cities in 92 countries worldwide. Incubated by Brightspark Ventures, one of Canada’s most well known and respected venture capitalist firms, the company has also attracted funding from GrowthWorks Capital, Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund and JLA Ventures.

iStopOver’s global audience of Hosts earns cash by renting out their extra space and offers local experiences, affordability and flexibility that hotels cannot provide. The company has one of the industry’s widest selections of accommodations to suit any traveler’s need at any budget wherever they travel. Hosts list their properties for free. After completing a simple profile and uploading pictures of their property, it’s listed on iStopOver and available to the company’s audience of families, business travelers, vacationers and event attendees globally.

“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. “An apartment in Paris, a villa in Florida for the family, or a houseboat in the Boston Harbour offer unique experiences not available from traditional hotels – and are the diversity fueling the vacation rental market. 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.”

Rapid industry growth
– 87% of travelers who looked into a vacation rental in the past say they plan to stay in a vacation rental in the future.
– More than 6 million vacation properties in North America and Europe are rented out to travelers for a fee at least two weeks of every year.
– Last year Canadians spent over $9 billion on vacations in the U.S. with an expected growth to $11 billion this year.
– Top destinations in the U.S. for Canadian travelers are New York, Nevada, California, Florida and Texas.
IStopOver delivers significant safety and authenticity benefits to its hosts and guests
iStopOver’s free social media tools enable Hosts and Guests to dialog online prior to travel without exchanging personal information. iStopOver serves as a payment clearinghouse, ensuring the Guest has checked in and is satisfied before issuing payment to the Host. Guests and Hosts post reviews on one another and each benefits from this shared information.

Unlike many other vacation rental sites, iStopOver features authentic pictures of its properties as well as authentic user-written profiles. The result – the place you stay in is just what you saw and is supported by real facts from real people.

“Pioneering sites like Vacapedia have paved the way for the homestay and vacation rental market’s rapid acceptance and growth,” said Ashwin Kedia. “Last year homestays 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.”
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About iStopOver Established in 2009, iStopOver connects global travelers with people who have space to share – for a night, a week, a month or even longer. IStopOver makes showcasing your space effortless – and with the company’s global audience, accommodating the ideal guest is fun and easy. Guests simply search their city of choice, select the accommodation they want, and interact with the Host to make the booking. Hosts list their spaces for free, making money by renting out their extra space. With free social media tools, travelers stay with Hosts, enjoying all the amenities offered. Acting as the clearinghouse between Hosts and Guests, iStopOver transfers the payment to the Host’s account once the Guest has arrived and is satisfied with the accommodation.