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Online tourism, the most dynamic industry of Argentinian e-commerce

Online tourism, the most dynamic industry of Argentinian e-commerce

Posted by Clarisa Herrera on June 21, 2014

It is true that technology has fully modified the concept and the way of traveling. From its multiple connections (PCs, mobile phones and tablets) users count with the tools, services and comments from its peers, which sometimes makes useless the figure of a touristic intermediary or of a touristic agency. This phenomenon is consolidating itself in Latin America and specifically in Argentina.

According to the official records of the Chamber of Electronic Commerce, in 2013 the Electronic Commerce in Argentina had a yearly growth of 48.5% which implies that more than 12 million users did online shopping. The most significative fact is that the 28.7% of the transactions correspond to sales in airplane tickets and in touristic services, which gives a total value of 6.600 million pesos (USD 850M).

At the top of the market is a company that has already reached world wide visibility. Towards the 90s when the bubble of the "dot com"s exploded. Despegar, present in 21 countries of the region, with 4500 employees and a data base with more than 150 thousand hotels throughout the world, became successful among the few others from the many Argentinian online companies that started during that period. Today it is a giant of the industry, and has managed to change since 1999 the way of commercializing tourism in the area. However, nowadays the model of online tourism is diversified in different business and services models that compete for the attention of online users.

Among the new online agencies, not in vain the competitive market of tourism agencies felt threatened by the arrival of the virtual world and because of the new possibilities of grouping searches, compare prices and look for the best offers. Avantrip, co founded by Tomás González Ruiz, Francisco Vigo and Constanza De la Cruz, is among the first Argentinian travel agencies that are 100% online. The portal allows the user to look for different tariffs, buy tickets and packages to put together a whole trip from the website. Founded in 2009 and acquired by the Biblos group in 201, the company is today among the biggest touristic operators of Argentina. According to Avantrip, the market of travels is of about 4500 million dollars from which a little less than 20% is from online, with a strong growth in the last years. The company counts with more than 120 people and bills almost USD 100M a year.

The online proposals that renew the market

As for the touristic guides, the format of a traditional guide gave space for new formats to be created. Visiting Argentina is an option of an online guide that is based on the fact that more than 80% of the people search for touristic information related to the internet. What happens when the amount of information exceeds the expected? The excess of information can saturate. The portal developed personalized guides so that the user gets everything he/she is looking for on the selected destination (videos, photos, maps, contents, sales, field trips and more), for free and on the customer's email, all this for more than 36 countries.

What happens with the boom of temporary rents? For those that want that their touristic stay has a little more adventure and less of a standard touristic package, more of traveler and less of a tourist, the expansive wave generated by the success of Airbnb gives space for platforms designed for those that prefer temporary rents. An ideal option for those that want to feel like home, but in summer or vacation places. This allows people to enjoy the lack of schedules and routines for living. and Zukbox -founded by Patrick Summers- are among the options that have managed to extend their offer of temporary rents to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

How to travel at lower costs? How can hotels take advantage of their leisurely capacity?

Options such as Vontrip are the solution. The platform presents itself as an option of "getaways"  and of small premium trips for the final consumer and it is at the same time a solution for hotels (chains, big, and small) by giving them a commercializations channel focused exclusively in increasing their occupation and on generating additional profits with the goal of having a constant level of visitors all year long, this is already happening in Argentina and Mexico. is a web platform with hotel sales that offers nights of leisure with almost 70% off, and it is available in Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru.

Lastly, and following the line of options such as Kayak or Skyscanner, a meta searcher of Argentinian tourism like Turismocity - from the founders of Descuentocity Andrés Malenky, Julian Garfunkel, and Martin Levy- they want to organize a little bit the diverse online touristic offer in Latin America in virtue of offering a centralized space with all the different offers and with that taking the decisions with the biggest range of options available. A fact that makes the area different? If in other markets tourism players are less and more concentrated, the concept of meta searchers makes a lot of sense in the area due to the huge offers of players and of online touristic services available.



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