Live to travel


Despegar is Latin America’s leading Online Travel Agency (OTA), with bookings worth around $3.5 billion per year. One of the most recognised travel brands in LATAM, they offer customers a digital booking platform for flights, hotels and travel-related experiences.

They approached Saffron to reinvent their brand in order to become more relevant and differentiated in their new reality.

As technology has reduced barriers to travel, the OTA industry has become increasingly competitive, with major players like Google offering new ways to book. To remain relevant to travellers, Despegar wanted a brand that would differentiate them and ensure they remained the platform of choice for bookings.

In touch with travellers’ emotions

Conversations centred around price were out of step with travellers who increasingly focus on the travel experience and want to build an emotional connection with the brands they travel with.

Despegar’s team was committed to creating memorable travel experiences, as well as great user experiences, but the brand needed a holistic review to transform their customer experience from transactional to inspirational.

Why do people travel?

The key to repositioning Despegar was to understand the relationship customers have with travel. We undertook consumer research to make sure the brand’s foundations were based on customers’ needs. Leveraging this research, the new brand could build a connection with them, and – over time – a community of users that felt Despegar was a partner in their search for memorable travel experiences.

Travel fanatics

We set about getting to know Despegar, with an audit of the business, their industry and the brand identity. To allow us to pinpoint where they could differentiate their offering in a competitive landscape we built a full picture of the OTA industry. We immersed ourselves in Despegar’s world to define the attributes that could become the ingredients of the brand.

The brand idea – ‘Binge Travelling’ – conveys the idea of travel as a compulsion. Conjuring up the restlessness of the travelling soul and the constant search for exploration, it reflects the fact that travel is an essential part of life. Despegar is your partner on the journey. The app travels with you in your pocket as a travel companion.

An identity to inspire

The design challenge was to translate the brand into a visual idea and user experience that could drive the transformation from transactional to inspirational. The digital design would impel exploration, galvanising the user to book experiences.

The dynamic line is the heart of the system, emblematic of the path of the user’s trip, from research to experience. The line traces your path and reflects Despegar app’s ability to track your journey, acting as a companion.

The front edge of the line is the curve of the D, representing Despegar, imbued with the adventurous spirit of the travellers they serve. The movement of the line marks the moments in the traveller’s trip, tracking the formation of new memories, and representing the smooth function of the platforms.

The colours of your journey

The bright sunshine colours of the visual identity tap into our memories of summer holidays. A broad but consistent range of brand colours was defined to reflect the myriad colours of travel experiences. The result is a bold, confident and inspiring brand that also has the versatility to adapt to the myriad requirements of the e-commerce giant.

A brand that means business

Insights from ethnographic research allowed us to unite Despegar’s strengths in product development with an in-depth human understanding of the customer’s journey. We worked together to design a user experience that worked hard to overcome barriers in the booking process. This meant the brand remained tightly aligned with the digital customer experience, showing the value Despegar can add to the booking process; ultimately with the purpose of driving key business metrics and conversions.

Inspiring conversion rates

As part of their transformation, Despegar planned to develop a series of innovative products focused on adding value through travel experiences. We audited the product offer to ensure that new product collections were imbued with the brand, facilitating escape and fuelling a lust for travel. They had to not only inspire and build brand equity, but drive sales too.

Through a combination of ethnographic insights and industry benchmarking, we assessed how nomenclature could be put to work to drive sales. This was then translated into recommendations for the product hierarchy within the user experience, that could reinforce Despegar’s brand whilst driving performance and conversions.

The Results

Despegar’s new brand was launched in March 2019 across their digital platforms, worldwide. With a new brand, Despegar has repositioned themselves beyond price, differentiating themselves amidst the noise.

The company is demonstrating their commitment to experience, whilst offering a product and customer journey firmly rooted in real customer needs. The identity offers a consistent new look that reinforces the brand idea, communicates their personality and clarifies communications.