Wakanow’s Dominance, Konga’s Aspirations and the Unhealthy Competition Between Them

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The road may be wide enough for all to travel but it seems Konga Travel and Wakanow are determined to leave each other behind.

Competition-wise, this might not be a very bad thing because, what’s the essence of competition if anybody can’t win, right? However, the beef between Konga Travel and Wakanow appears more deep-rooted than just competition.

The quarrel

Recently, Konga accused Wakanow of several ‘mal-practices’. Two to be exact. The first is an encroachment into Konga’s digital space. Describing this malady, Konga, in a release, claims that:

“Wakanow had deployed an online ad which clearly has Konga Travel stated but which, when clicked, re-directs to the Wakanow website.”

Konga

This digital hoodwinking, according to the company, has succeeded in luring many unsuspecting Konga Travel customers to its competitor’s website. The hoodwinked customers are so angry, they have urged Konga to drag Wakanow to court for deception.

As if that wasn’t enough, Konga further accused Wakanow of the offence of ‘passing off’.

“A cursory Google search of the name – Konga Travel – brings up a number of search results,” the Konga statement reads. “However, the first one reads as follows: Konga Travel | Wakanow has the best deals | wakanow.com.”

According to Konga, this contravenes the law of passing off which prevents one trader from misrepresenting goods or services as being the goods and services of another.

More importantly, the law prevents a trader or service provider from holding out his or her goods or services as having some association or connection with another when this is not true.

All efforts I made to get a reaction to these accusations proved abortive. And to the best of my knowledge, Wakanow hasn’t denied the allegations on any media, neither has it taken any action to penalize Konga for defamation.

Wakanow and online travel business in Nigeria

Konga Travel and Wakanow aren’t the only two online Travel agencies in Nigeria. There are several others including Hotels.NG, TravelBeta, Ajala.NG etc.

However, Wakanow, established in 2008, has the distinct advantage of being the first online travel agency in Nigeria.

Wakanow Dominance, Konga’s Aspirations and Unhealthy Competition Between
Adebayo Adedeji, Wakanow CEO

And the company is generally well-regarded in Nigeria as one of the best in the business. Wakanow featured prominently in a LegitNG listing of the top 10 travel agencies in Nigeria. Within the industry itself, HotelsNG curated a list of the best travel companies in Nigeria. While Wakanow tops that list, Konga Travel was nowhere to be found.

Noteworthy is the fact that Konga Travel didn’t make that list.

So why does a company so revered inside and outside its industry need to stoop to such disreputable activities? Competition? Maybe. Konga appears to be growing pretty fast and one of its foremost businesses spurring this growth seems to be Konga Travel.

Konga co-CEO, Nnamdi Ekeh admitted as much while announcing over 800% growth for Konga last year.

“We are ambitiously scaling Konga and that is why we launched a successful Konga Travel and Tours that is currently making huge waves in the travel booking industry,” he said.

Did that development rattle Wakanow? Is the competition suddenly becoming too stiff? Could Konga Travel topple Wakanow from the top?

Konga Travel in the Nigerian Online travel space

To many, especially within the industry, Wakanow is arguably the biggest online travel agency in Nigeria. Founded by former NBA star, Obinna Okezie, the company boasts a workforce of at least 600. That is pretty impressive when compared to its competition like, Konga Travel which has about 200.

Late in 2018, it secured $40 million funding from The Carlyle Group’s sub-Saharan fund. Because these companies hardly ever declare their revenues like they do their funding rounds, it is hard to say for certain its average revenue.

But an estimate puts it at about $100m. This easily makes it the highest-earning online travel company in Nigeria. This easily makes it a target.

Konga travel
Nnamdi Ekeh, co-CEO of Konga

Recently, Konga projected that by 2022, the company would be raking in daily revenue of $5 million. 2022 is the same year Konga Travel is expected to become profitable. It would be interesting to know how much of that $5 million Konga Travel would be expected to be contributing

I mean, if Wakanow could be making so much, why not Konga Travels?

Sitting comfortably somewhere at the top of that food chain, Wakanow’s impressive revenue also makes it one to go after. And Konga, with its ambitious projections, is obviously aiming for that spot.

Not considered anywhere close to the top, that hasn’t stopped it from reaching. And reaching obviously includes latching on to every malpractice its top rival(s) make and milking it for all its worth.


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