The .PASSAGENS new gTLD

Travel Reservations SRL, known as Despegar Online SRL (“Despegar”) is a leading multinational tourism organization and a branch of the largest online travel agency in Latin America. Despegar enables its customers to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages, and other travel-related services. Despegar also powers travel bookings for various airlines, hotels, rental car agencies, and other tourism-related organizations internationally. Despegar serves more than five million clients annually and has a presence in 21 countries. Its services and online content are accessible in the .COM gTLD and various ccTLDs.

Despegar is applying for five gTLDs: .VUELOS and .HOTELES, which target its Spanish-speaking audiences; .PASSAGENS and .HOTEIS, which target its Portuguese-speaking audiences; and .HOTEL, which targets its English, Spanish, and Portuguese-speaking audiences.

The intended future mission and purpose of .PASSAGENS is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace provided by Despegar for a Portuguese-speaking audience. Despegar is committed to filing a .PASSAGENS application; however at the time of filing this application, there has not been enough time, and there is not enough market information available, to fully analyze and evaluate all potential use case options.

Despegar will be analyzing and evaluating other gTLD applications as well as general market adoption to determine potential best use case options to most effectively serve and enhance its online strategy as a leading provider of travel services. As a multinational travel organization, Despegar helps customers book various travel reservations and aims to protect its customers and other Internet users from fraudulent information. .PASSAGENS will accord with the company’s focus by providing a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace.

Despegar will always be in the business of offering the best prices and service to individuals booking travel arrangements in Latin America. One of Despegar’s key business segments is booking airline tickets, and Portuguese-speaking individuals comprise one of its most important customer demographics. .PASSAGENS will become one of Despegar’s core assets and it is intended to enhance Despegar’s online presence and identity; expand its marketing and promotion efforts; provide a secure channel for those booking airline tickets; and offer a platform through which to consolidate many of the intellectual property activities of Despegar.

Despegar intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within .PASSAGENS to Despegar and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. This initial limited use will allow Despegar to establish its operations and achieve full sustainability. This limited distribution, coupled with the other requirements set forth in Specification 9 of the template Registry Agreement, is intended to exempt Despegar from its annual Code of Conduct Compliance requirements.

After Stage 3 (see below), Despegar will evaluate whether opportunities exist to carry out the business strategy for .PASSAGENS through expansion that continues the sustainable operations of the registry through fee-based registrations to parties other than Despegar and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates.

Despegar currently plans a four-stage rollout for .PASSAGENS:
  1. Stage 1
    The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve Despegar registering a limited number of .PASSAGENS second-level domains.
    This initial use will provide Despegar’s IT and security personnel the time to run a number of tests to ensure seamless and secure access using .PASSAGENS domain names, interoperability with various software and Web-based applications, and unbroken and secure use of all names. This initial allocation will also allow the appropriate Despegar staff to coordinate with the internal and external staff responsible for the delegation and setup phases of .PASSAGENS to ensure a proper transition from delegation to full operation.
  2. Stage 2
    Once all testing has been successfully completed, Despegar will begin allocating domain names in .PASSAGENS for more widespread internal corporate use. During this same period of time, Despegar will begin evaluating strategies to potentially migrate traffic away from its current patchwork network of second-level domains, which are registered in a variety of TLDs, to Despegar’s new gTLDs.
    It is in Stage 2 that Despegar will evaluate expanding the operations of the gTLD to permit registration by other registrants such as licensees and⁄or strategic partners. Should an assessment of its expansion strategy lead to a decision to extend registration rights to other parties, this expansion is currently planned to take place during Stage 3. However, any expansion would be conditioned upon a review of Specification 9 (Registry Code of Conduct) set forth in the template Registry Agreement to ensure compliance with Despegar’s business model.
  3. Stage 3
    Depending on the analysis of the evaluations undertaken in Stage 2, Despegar may implement its decision to extend registration rights to licensees or strategic partners, including, but not limited to, travel companies, hotels, airlines, and other tourism organizations, depending upon compliance with Specification 9 as noted above. The dates of such expansion are subject to change depending upon business, strategic, and industry factors at the time.
    After consideration of the following factors: analysis of Despegar’s existing domain name portfolio; internal analysis of marketing initiatives; and the fact that Despegar will have full control over the number of registrations in .PASSAGENS, Despegar is confident that the number of domain name registrations will be less than 10,000 in the first five years of operation.
  4. Stage 4
    Based on its experience with any expansion implemented in Stage 3, Despegar will assess whether its business plan and expansion strategy should be augmented by extending registration rights to a broader class of licensees, potentially including customers of Despegar. It is anticipated by Despegar that changes to the domain name industry will take at least five years to be realized and assessed. Any decision to expand the gTLD beyond corporate, partner, and licensee use will take into account this experience as well as the technical analysis of potential expansion.
    Notwithstanding this potential future expanded use of .PASSAGENS beginning in the sixth year of operation, Despegar currently anticipates implementing a throttle mechanism to ensure that any proposed expansion is controlled and responsible.
    Specifically, under the anticipated throttle mechanism Despegar would cease registration of domain names to this potential expanded universe of registrants if and when Despegar reaches 90 percent of the annual 50,000-domain name transaction threshold currently provided for in the template Registry Agreement. Despegar believes that is prudent to incorporate this “time-out” into the business plan in order to reevaluate potential future growth and the necessary resources to ensure that this growth does not negatively impact the secure and stable operation of .PASSAGENS when approaching the 50,000-domain name transaction threshold. This proposed “time-out” mechanism is described in greater detail in the responses to the financial questions (Questions 45 through 50) of this application.
    The potential use of .PASSAGENS will also be driven by Despegar’s future business strategies. Utilizing current projections based upon Despegar’s existing business, future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, Despegar estimates second-level domain name registrations to be in line with the projections set forth in the financial template provided in response to Question 46 of this application.
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Jovenet Consulting,
Aug 3, 2016, 10:23 AM