Contxto – Despite the challenging economic outlook in one of Despegar’s largest market, Mexico, the company is not letting others determine its fate. In fact, the famous online travel agency (OTA) is releasing a series of interesting new features worthy of our attention.
Short trips are the new long vacation
There’s a noticeable rising trend among younger generations of professionals and students. Instead of going on long vacations, people are increasingly taking advantage of their weekends to plan and travel abroad for short periods of time. Quick getaways over longer vacations are a rising trend among both Mexican and Argentine consumers.
Under the slogan “It is unacceptable that a short trip takes more time to plan than enjoy,” Despegar created the “Escapadas” feature targeted to nomadic Mexican millennials. In this tab, users can seamlessly book flights and travel experiences for as short as two to four days.
“We are very happy with the launch of Escapadas, a product that inspires to live traveling and, undoubtedly, will be valued by Mexicans, who make an average of five short trips a year,” said Ezequiel Rubin, Country Manager of Despegar Mexico.
“With a wide variety of experiences, Escapadas offers different types of trips, ready to enjoy, which can be cultural, gastronomic and entertainment, among many others, according to the tastes and interests of each traveler,” added the manager.
Steps as easy as 1-2-3
The menu includes a four-step process to book these experiences:
- Departure point: What city are you traveling from?
- Date: Book from one to four nights.
- People: How many people are traveling together?
- Distance: How much you’re willing to spend traveling (from 2 hours by car to 6 hours by plane)
- Type: Choose a type of experience ranging from cultural, entertainment, nature, foodie, cities, beaches, etc.
With the purpose of trying out the product for the sake of the article, I actually just planned a weekend getaway to Querétaro, Mexico. The platform makes it really easy to just plan and buy these sporadic trips. In fact, loosening all complications is part of what will make this new product successful, I believe.
Disclaimer, this was not sponsored by Despegar.
In hopes of reaching a wider audience, the company is also venturing into new payment models. Users will now be able to instantly pay through the app and liquidate the purchase at OXXO. For non-Mexican readers, OXXO is the national convenience store monopoly.
Navigating rough waters
While Despegar.com is undeniably king of the south, it is facing a formidable northern adversary in Mexico. We’re not talking about another tech giant or sprouting startup but the federal Mexican government.
Since the Mexican economy expects to decelerate in terms of GDP growth due to current administration policies, Despegar intends to remain in control of its own growth.
As a matter of fact, Rubín believes that as long as Mexico doesn’t enter a recession, there is still room for improvement and thus growth for the Argentine company. Nevertheless, he still considers the landscape to be “challenging,” as reported in Dinero en Imagen.
Originally from Argentina, Ezequiel Rubín was named Country Manager for Mexico not too long ago. Now, he’s in charge of leading Despegar, Argentina’s (and perhaps Latin America’s) largest OTA through the economically rough waters.
Despite many economists and analysts find the future outlook not very promising, he’s not particularly worried. After all, he’s been through similar or worse situations back in his native country of Argentina.