AS COLOMBIA OPENS UP

Colombia 2019 | TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ezequiel Rubín, Country Manager of Despegar.

Ezequiel Rubín
BIOGRAPHY
Ezequiel Rubín holds degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Florida and Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires. He served as Innovation Project Manager for Unlivelier HPC before joining Despegar in 2012.

Could you brief us on Despegar's operations in the country?
Despegar is a company that started in Argentina in 1999. At present, it is in 20 countries in Latin America and is the largest OTA in Latin America. The company has been listed on the US stock market since 2017 and sells different products for airlines, hotels, packages, transfer activities, and amusement parks. Colombia is one of our largest markets, and we have been here since 2000; we have been growing exponentially year after year. We also have a call center in Colombia with around 500 employees.

How would you describe the role of Colombia in Despegar's portfolio?
As Colombia opens up, we believe that technology and companies like Despegar will be the tools that facilitate how Colombians travel inside and outside the country. Along with technology comes other innovations such as smartphones and mobile applications, and Despegar is a key player when it comes to mobile and app transactions. The company's app recorded over 46 million downloads as of September 2018, representing 30% growth YoY. The app is not only a sales platform, but also a customer satisfaction and customer service platform.

What can we expect from Despegar in 2019 and beyond?
We believe 2019 is going to be a great year for Despegar. We are betting big and hard on no-interest installments, since we believe they hold great benefit for our clients. We are also betting on our mobile app to offer more development and benefits. As well, we are working to get to as many Colombians as we can through our call center and different channels. We are putting efforts throughout the country because our main goal is to make it to the point where all Colombians can travel through Despegar.