Despegar for an instantaneous Latino vacation

Latin America’s leading online travel firm
2022-09-23
/
/ New Delhi
Despegar for an instantaneous Latino vacation

Despegar offers online hotels, car, flights, vacation rentals, packages, and ticket booking services

Throughout Latin America more than 10 million users trust despegar.com. Despegar, or “take off” in Spanish, is a Latin American online travel company that has come to dominate the market in the continent.
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In 1999, Roberto Souviron was in the United States, waiting eagerly to get his MBA degree from Duke University. While on his way back home, at the airport, he saw that there was a long queue in front of the ticket counter. But he also noticed something strange. People were not purchasing tickets, instead, they were showing a printed receipt they had brought with them, which simply verified their profiles on the counter and let them board the flight!

‘The Dot Com Bubble’ was an astonishing growth in the use of the internet between 1995 and 2000. This was the period when many Silicon Valley start-ups began blooming in America. People were using their computers to do all kinds of jobs and the young Argentine, Roberto Souviron was taken aback by the scene!

While America was using the internet to race into the 21st century, Latin America was completely untouched by this revolution. Therefore, six Argentine entrepreneurs, Roberto Souviron, Ernesto Cadeiras, Mariano Fiori, Martin Rastellino, Alejandro Tamer and Christian Vilate put out USD 15000 each, from their wallets.

They received the first round of funding from a friend who worked in a boutique fund, Alejandro Tamer. He chose to register the startup’s trademark in his name, and not in the original name of the company. None of the enthusiastic team members realised this blunder until a foreign investor demanded the name to be changed during the first round of investment. Meanwhile, Souvrin’s girlfriend Corina helped him to come up with a name and thus “Tamer” was transformed into “Despegar”!

Its initial goal was to get travellers away from airline booking windows and onto its website. So, the Silicon start-up rapidly came up with nine offices in leading Latin American cities.

In 2017, Despegar became the newly born “unicorn” of Latin America when the company made its Wall Street debut. It reached a valuation of USD 2 billion with this launch! The investment fund, Tiger Global Management currently manages Despegar.

With the Despegar app and website, one can search for the country you want to travel to and get to know about its situation such as whether it currently allows tourist entry, or not. The app is smart enough to tell the users the border situation of the place. For instance, many countries are in the middle of the process of reopening their borders, such as Ukraine. Tourist restrictions change frequently, so one must not forget to check the situation in their native country.

Travel at one’s fingertips

One can easily search for a destination on the website and then compare from the plethora of options. Simply, select a destination and proceed to the payment section. The travellers can not only choose their accommodation preferences but also use the “baggage kit” feature, which lets them use the currency converter and even some useful tips for packing their luggage! The Despegar App is available both for iOS and Android.

Despegar platform offers the “My Trips” section, where one can manage all the purchases and personal data, reservations, change in info, dates and destinations.

Blazing through numbers

Managing trips has become easier with Despegar as changes in information, dates and destinations, cancellations and even downloading an invoice of the trip have become more accessible. Despegar’s platform receives about 2.9 million site visits a month, from both desktop and mobile users.

The number of completed transactions on despegar.com currently stands at 2.1 million for Brazil, 1.85 million for Mexico and 0.75 million for Argentina and 2.1 million for other Latin American countries. Currently, the travel-tech business operates in 24 countries of Latin America and also has a presence in Spain. The company, with headquarters in Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, employs more than 3000 people as of 2022, according to the research platform, Macrotrends. It also has offices including Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis and Fortaleza.

The company’s turnover stood at USD 450 million, with year-on-year quarterly growth at 112 pc as of June, 2022.

With the aim of establishing itself as a consolidated brand in the travel-tech industry, in 2002 Despegar acquired viajo.com and many others in the travel-tech industry. Viajo.com is a Latin American travel-tech venture funded by 11 investors.

As of 2022, viajo.com generated annual revenue of USD 88 million, substantially low compared to Despegar. Thus in 2002, the company decided to merge with Despegar’s platform. In the same year, Viajo and Despegar stated that together they will together generate sales of more than USD 150 million, and also declared that their user registration will cross the 2 million mark in 2022. Some of the popular competitor apps include Air Europa, Omio, Cavitatis and Destina.

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