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Status: Delegated
Type: Generic
Category: Industry
Priority #: 1265 - Despegar Online SRL

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.hoteles is a new gTLD in ICANN's New gTLD Program. It was delegated to the Root Zone on 26 June 2015.[1] Despegar Online SRL manages the registry with back-end registry services provided by Neustar.[2]

The Hotel Consumer Protection Coalition, which is made up of over 25,000 hotels in over 100 countries, including many major brands, has filed complaints against .hoteles, as well as six of the seven .hotel applications, and the applications for .hoteis and .hotels. They support the .hotel application submitted by HOTEL Top-Level-Domain S.a.r.l, and urge the Independent Objector to object to the other applications on community grounds. If this does not occur, they plan to file their own Community Objections.[3]

Community Objection

The Hotel Consumer Protection Coalition filed a community objection against the application, as did HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe).[4] HOTREC later withdrew their objection.[5]

GAC Early Warning

The application was issued a GAC Early Warning from the representative of Australia and GAC Chair, Heather Dryden. The warning system is noted as a strong recommendation on behalf of national governments to the ICANN Board that a given TLD application should be denied as it stands. Applicants are encouraged to work with objecting GAC members.[6]

The warning states that the applicant is "seeking exclusive access to a common generic string .. that relates to a broad market sector," which Ms. Dryden notes could have unintended consequences and a negative impact on competition.[7]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"Despegar Online SRL (“Despegar”) is a leading multinational tourism organization that is a branch of the largest online travel agency in Latin America. Despegar enables customers to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages, and other travel-related services, and 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 generic-term 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 .HOTELES is to serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace provided by Despegar for a Spanish-speaking audience. At present, a dedicated, secure namespace does not exist; Despegar believes that consumers and travel companies will benefit from the presence of a secure portal dedicated to serving Spanish-speaking markets. Despegar is applying for .HOTELES, but 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 other gTLD applications and general market adoption to determine potential use case options to most effectively serve and enhance its online strategy as a leading provider of travel services. Despegar helps customers in many parts of the world make various travel arrangements and reservations and aims to protect its customers and other Internet users from fraudulent information. .HOTELES will accord with the company’s targeted focus by providing a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for Internet users searching for relevant content.

One of Despegar’s most important business segments is powering hotel reservations, and Spanish-speaking individuals comprise one of its key customer demographics. .HOTELES will become one of Despegar’s core assets as it is intended to enhance Despegar’s online presence and identity; expand its marketing and promotion efforts; provide a secure channel for hotel bookings and reservations; and create a marketplace dedicated to Spanish-speaking audiences and markets.

Despegar intends to initially limit registration and use of domain names within .HOTELES 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 .HOTELES 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."[8]