[Credit: Despegar]

Despegar boosts supply in Brazil and Mexico to compete with OTAs

LatAm: Online travel agency Despegar is looking to compete with the likes of Airbnb, Vrbo and by rapidly adding vacation rentals in Brazil and Mexico.

In its latest earnings report for Q2 that was released last week, it was revealed that Despegar had recorded a 42 per cent year-over-year increase in the number of direct listings on its platform, now standing at 20,000.

Despegar has boosted its supply of properties for rent – ranging from apartments to houses, cabins, condominiums, country houses, campsites and houseboats – t0 almost 420,000 worldwide, including 68,000 in Latin America. In Brazil, the most popular destinations are Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, while Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Córdoba, Ushuaia and Iguazú are seeing the highest spurt in demand in Argentina.

The company expanded its vacation rental supply in seven markets in Brazil and Mexico in Q2, following the acquisition of a 51 per cent majority stake in Brazilian channel manager in March and fellow OTA ViajaNet for $15 million, which was announced in May.

Despegar said that, while citing a number of private sector studies, the online vacation rental market is estimated to experience a 40 per cent growth up to 2024, compared to 2019 figures, and accounting for 17 per cent of all accommodation rentals.

The growth of the market has been fuelled in large parts, the company says, by the rollout of hybrid working models by more companies across the region and worldwide, with many firms no longer requiring their employees to work in an office full time.

In its latest earnings report, Despegar reported a promising quarter, in which its gross bookings [$1.1 billion] were up 129 per cent on the same period a year ago and were in line with pre-pandemic levels three years ago.

Revenue rose 113 per cent to $134.4 million compared to the second quarter in 2021, while transactions saw a 65 per cent year-over-year increase to 2.2 million.

Meanwhile, Despegar achieved a third positive quarter in adjusted EBITDA, coming in at $10.6 million after reporting a $22.3 million loss 12 months prior.

International bookings remain far below 2019 levels, with domestic bookings holding steady during the quarter.

Despegar CEO Damián Scokin said: “Our winning business model and expanding travel ecosystem are enabling us to continue effectively capturing rising travel demand, particularly in Brazil, our largest market.”

Ivan Marenco, VP vacation rentals at Despegar, will join a ShortTermRentalz RockSTRz webinar on Tuesday 8 November, entitled “Analysing the hottest vacation rental growth markets”. Sign up for the free session at this link to gain more insights on Despegar’s vacation rental strategy.


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