TripAdvisor acquires vacation rental site Holiday Lettings from Rightmove

Travel website operator TripAdvisor, an Expedia company, this morning announced it has acquired Holiday Lettings, credited as being the UK’s largest independent vacation rental website.

The seller is Rightmove, a UK-based property website operator, having sold its majority interest in the holding company of Holiday Lettings to TripAdvisor for an undisclosed sum.

Rightmove acquired a 66.67% stake in Holiday Lettings in March 2007, and recently said it intended to report the property as a discontinued operation in its half yearly report, with the gross assets disposed of totalling £1 million.

Holiday Lettings currently advertises more than 40,000 vacation rental properties on behalf of private owners, property managers and letting agents. The homes are said to stretch across 116 countries and range from villas, apartments and farmhouses to windmills, yurts and houseboats. According to the press release, 25 million visitors use the site every year.

The other major rental brand in the UK is Villarenters, owned by Teletext Holidays.

The acquisition follows the launch of vacation rentals on TripAdvisor in 2009, and the purchase of a majority stake in United States-based in 2008. Clearly, the company is keen on competing with vacation rental giant HomeAway head-to-head.

TripAdvisor says will continue to be operated as an independent site. The company, which was founded back in 1999, will remain lead as an independent brand from its offices in Oxford by the original co-founders and current management.

According to the press release, TripAdvisor Media Group now includes 17 travel brands after the acquisition of Holiday Lettings, which collectively attract close to 46 million unique monthly visitors globally (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide, May 2010).