iStopover and 9flats employees lounging on the grass in front of the Berlin Wall

iStopOver meets 9flats and the Berlin wall (Credit: 9flats)

Europe’s Airbnb competitor, 9flats, acquires Canadian cousin to begin North American expansion.

With the short term rentals service wars heating up, it is not just Airbnb looking to expand beyond their home ground. 9flats has also taken the move to base itself in North America, with the fresh announcement of it’s acquisition of Canadian service, iStopOver. The acquisition will open up thousands more rental places for users of both services but more importantly, give 9flats an existing North American office in Toronto to launch their assault into the market.

While both website will continue to run separately, the combined 9flats-iStopOver team will handle the merger of both platforms and will do a formal announcement in the next few weeks. Also, with the expansion of the support team, and also  having teams based in different time zones, 9flats users can count on longer customer service hours.

The short term rentals space has been growing more competitive with both Western and Eastern grown companies looking to cover the international market of globetrotters. Echelon 2012 saw representatives from 9flats, Roomorama and Airizu present, which shows the importance of the growing Asian market to short term rental services. With the different legal restrictions to short term rentals in respective countries, would a home-grown service have the upper hand?