CWT to shut Worldmate travel concierge mobile app

Carlson Wagonlit Travel will close its Worldmate mobile itinerary management service, four years after acquiring the company in a $20 million deal.

The app stopped taking bookings for hotels and running its loyalty membership programme on January 1 this year and it will be taken off the Google and Apple stores on March 31.

Despite being bought by the travel management company in October 2012, Worldmate remained neutral and was freely available as a standalone app for corporate travellers.

A CWT official says it remains “focused on its core business of providing the best end-to-end customer experience for business travellers” but a review of the service and decision to prioritise resources has led to discontinuing the Worldmate and other services “that do not provide strong value for our clients”.

“We are making strategic investments in products and technologies that will help us meet the needs and demands of our clients.”

Business travellers will not suddenly be lacking in a mobile itinerary management as the company says it has the CWT To Go mobile app, essentially the same service but only for its own customers.

Worldmate was considered one of the early pioneers of the mobile travel world, being formed in very early days of the technology in 2000 under the Mobimate name (Worldmate eventually became the primary product and brand).

It raised $8 million in 2008 and a further $2.8 million in January 2012 – capturing the backing of Relay Ventures, Motorola Ventures and the Blackberry Partners Fund along the way.

Jean Tripier, who led the company as CEO through the sale to CWT, left the business in early-2013 and has since gone on to co-found and run the Flyr airfare and seat availability service.

Later that year, Worldmate was on an apparent hiring spree, claiming it would be increasing the headcount tyo almost 40 from its 25 (split between its headquarters in the US city of San Francisco and development centre in Tel Aviv, Israel).

Rival services to Worldmate were TripIt (sold to Concur) and Sabre‘s Tripcase.

Those behind the scenes at Worldmate will still have work to do, a forum post says:

“For the past decade, WorldMate has been privileged to support professionals like you with your ever-evolving needs for business travel. Now our parent company CWT is giving us the opportunity to try something different.

“Beginning in January, we will dedicate all of our resources to developing travel solutions for CWT’s global corporate clients.”

But for those in the ten million strong user-base (according to its site) who are not CWT customers, Worldmate as a service will end.

The site says:

“Thank you for sharing this journey with us. We wish you successful travels ahead.”

It is unclear as yet what will happen to Worldmate’s role as the mobile trip planning platform for the CWT-JTB joint venture in Japan.

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