CWT Buys WorldMate To Control 'Mobile Destiny' - Business Travel News

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CWT Buys WorldMate To Control 'Mobile Destiny'

November 01, 2012 - 10:00 AM ET

By David Jonas

Carlson Wagonlit Travel on Wednesday announced the acquisition of mobile travel technology provider WorldMate, which will operate as a subsidiary. According to CWT, more than 10 million travelers use WorldMate apps for itinerary management, real-time local information and mobile hotel and car bookings.

The travel management company claimed the acquisition would enable it to offer more "on-the-go" services to business travelers—including "airport parking, restaurant bookings, hotel reservations, ground transportation and such airline offers as inflight Internet"—and improved travel spending visibility and security features for employers. WorldMate "will work with CWT teams to enhance existing tools" including the TMC's mobile app, developed by Rearden Commerce. CWT noted that it would continue working with Rearden on travel content distribution and "merchant solutions."

The acquisition not only seems to affect CWT-Rearden cooperation on mobile solutions but also reverses the status of the CWT-WorldMate relationship. In January, WorldMate CEO Jean Tripier told The Beat that the partnership was "not active," as CWT instead was focusing on its Rearden-powered app.

But now, CWT's work "with the expert in mobile technology puts us in control of our own mobile destiny," according to a Wednesday statement from CWT president and CEO Douglas Anderson.

The comment corroborated recent statements by Johnny Thorsen, co-founder and chief strategy officer of mobile messaging and traveler assistance tech provider conTgo. The larger travel management companies, he said, are less interested in partnering for mobile technology and more interested in owning because "they want to control it."

Recent WorldMate developments included a revamped hotel booking experience and the availability of an application programming interface used by FlightStats, ExpenseCloud, Short's Travel Management and others.

WorldMate also has had an arrangement with CWT rival American Express Business Travel. It also powers the native BlackBerry Travel app.

Citing sources, TechCrunch reported that CWT paid about $20 million for WorldMate, which on its blog wrote that "we remain steadfast in our mission and will continue evolving the WorldMate product line at an even faster pace across all the popular mobile platforms. If you are also a Carlson Wagonlit client, you can expect a dramatic upshift in your mobile travel services very soon."

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