Wego buys Singapore’s Travelstop to expand into business travel

The move will allow the two companies to combine their resources and expertise

Ross Veitch, chief executive and co-founder of Wego (left) and Prashant Kirtane, chief executive and co-founder of Travelstop. Photo: Wego
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Wego, the Dubai and Singapore online travel company, has acquired business travel and expense management platform Travelstop, as it plans to capitalise on the business travel sector.

Under the deal, the two companies will combine their resources and expertise. Singapore-based Travelstop will tap into Wego’s regional network, while Wego will expand its reach into business travel and expense management.

The link up of the two companies will contribute to the growth and development of the travel industry in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions, Wego said on Tuesday, without disclosing the value of the acquisition.

“This strategic move is in line with our vision of offering comprehensive travel solutions to businesses in the region. Together, Travelstop and Wego will empower businesses to streamline their travel and expense management processes, introducing new levels of convenience and cost-efficiency,” Ross Veitch, chief executive and co-founder of Wego, said.

Business travel spending globally is rebounding at a faster-than-expected rate and is forecast to exceed its pre-Covid levels of $1.4 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027 amid stable economic conditions, according to the Global Business Travel Association’s latest annual outlook report.

The recovery is taking place faster than the previously projected timeline of mid-2026, the travel body said last month. Global business travel spending in 2022 rose 47 per cent year-on-year to $1.03 trillion and is expected to grow 32 per cent in 2023 to $1.36 trillion, it said.

This year, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions are set to contribute to 46 per cent of the total global business travel expenditure, according to GBTA estimates, standing as the largest and most rapidly expanding markets in business travel.

The Middle East's tourism sector has recorded the strongest post-pandemic rebound in the world, despite persistent global economic headwinds, HSBC said in a report last month.

The region is recording a “total recovery” in terms of tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2023, the report said, adding that the number of tourist arrivals in the first three months of this year climbed 15 per cent on the levels recorded in 2019.

Founded in 2005, Wego is backed by investors such as Tiger Global Management, Crescent Point, Square Peg Capital, Middle East Venture Partners and the MBC Group.

The company acquired Cleartrip’s Middle East unit and Flyin.com from Indian e-commerce business Flipkart in February 2022 as it seeks to expand across the region.

Through its latest acquisition, Wego aims to address the challenges faced by businesses operating in emerging markets, such as fragmented travel options and manual expense reporting, it said.

The combined platform will provide businesses with a “one-stop solution”, enabling them to seamlessly manage their corporate travel needs while gaining greater visibility and control over expenses, it added.

Founded in 2016 by ex-Yahoo executives, Travelstop empowers businesses with tools that help them reduce costs and improve productivity, thereby helping them to manage their business travel and expenses more efficiently.

The partnership with Wego will bring “immense potential”, said Prashant Kirtane, chief executive and co-founder of Travelstop.

“Our focus on product innovation and on customer satisfaction will enable us to set new industry standards and redefine the future of business travel,” he said.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 6:42 AM