Despegar acquires stake in Brazilian channel manager Stays.net
Argentina / Brazil: Argentinean online travel agency Despegar [‘take off’ in Spanish and Portuguese] has announced that it has agreed to purchase a 51 per cent stake in Brazilian SaaS business Stays.net for approximately $3.1 million [R$15.65 million].
The acquisition of Stays.net, which helps short-term rental owners and managers professionalise and increase bookings, was announced as part of Despegar’s Q4 2021 earnings statement.
Despegar CEO Damián Scokin said: “Given the relevance of Brazil’s travel market and consistent with our M&A strategy to acquire new core competencies and broaden our product portfolio, we have agreed to acquire 51 per cent of Stays, the leading channel manager in the vacation rental segment in that country.”
Q4 delivered encouraging results for Despegar to coincide with the easing of some pandemic restrictions.
Gross bookings increased 46 per cent on the previous quarter to $958.8 million [achieving 75 per cent of pre-pandemic Q4 2019 levels], room nights rose 32 per cent to 71 per cent of Q4 2019 nights, and revenues surged 49 per cent to $124.6 million, 86 per cent of Q4 2019 levels.
Although sales and marketing expenses shot up 163 per cent year-on-year to $34.6 million, the agency’s loyalty programme grew its membership to 2.8 million customers, capitalising on the pent-up demand for travel across Latin America.
Scokin continued: “Despegar’s encouraging fourth quarter results reflect the efforts we have made over the last two years to reduce our cost structure, capture synergies from acquisitions, diversify our revenue streams and increase profitability. These initiatives have significantly boosted our company’s earnings power, which is growing with improving demand conditions that we benefited from this quarter.
“While Omicron is still dampening travel trends in the current quarter, we anticipate seeing a recovery in travel purchases next quarter and expect to benefit from substantial pent-up demand during the remainder of the year,” he added.
Founded in 2016, Stays.net offers a complete property management system for vacation rentals [channel manager, property management system, ERP and integrated e-commerce booking system] and has an inventory of 17,000 properties primarily located in Brazil.
Marcelo Grether, head of M&A, integrations and new business at Despegar, told La Nacion: “Stays.net reinforces our inorganic growth strategy with a focus on Brazil, in addition to promoting the temporary accommodation vertical. In turn, with Stays.net we offer a complete solution to property managers and improve our value proposition by adding new options.
“With only ten per cent of short-term rental owners in Latin America using digital channel management, compared to 90 per cent in Europe, there is ample room for our new partnership with Stays.net to grow and prosper,” he added.
Stays.net CEO Sven dos Santos said: “At Stays.net, we look forward to working with the Despegar team. This partnership allows us to expand our geographic reach in Latin America and offer temporary accommodation owners and managers the benefit of joining the leading travel company in Latin America.
“In addition to increasing bookings, Stays.net’s digital management channel helps hosts achieve professional standards, grow their temporary accommodation business and improve guest experiences,” he added.
The purchase of Stays.net consolidates Despegar’s merger and acquisitions strategy, which began with the acquisitions of agencies Viajes Falabella [Chile] and Best Day Travel Group [Mexico], and fintech Koin [Brazil].