Cambodia’s own travel booking platform targets jet-setting families and locals

By: Janelle Retka - Posted on: October 16, 2018 | Business

Domestic holiday travel for Cambodians is often group-orientated – but that comes with the struggle of finding a car park and space for the whole crew to sleep. The new hotel booking service Bayonia.com, with 5,000 subscribers and a goal of 10,000 by the end of the year, wants to make travel seamless. A year and 85 featured hotels since its launch, founder Meas Sinal speaks with Southeast Asia Globe about what sets his booking service apart

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Bayonia.com founder Meas Sinal provides a travel booking platform tailored for Cambodians

Tell us about what Bayonia.com does…
Bayonia is the leading Cambodian hotel booking platform for local travellers who love to travel with families, kids and groups of friends. This could be a weekend getaway to the beach, festivals in Angkor Wat or trips on public holidays to see nature. Bayonia provides exclusive access to boutique hotels, luxury hotels and resorts… [for an] experience tailor-made for Cambodians.

What sets your company apart from established booking platforms like Booking.com?
Bayonia is a smaller, curated collection of accommodations approved by our team and specifically selected to appeal to the Cambodian market. We provide hotel rooms for local travellers who have different requirements. At Bayonia, they can easily find rooms for more than three people (like for families), hotels with parking space (because people here mostly travel by car), hotels with activities for children (because that’s a luxury that Cambodian middle-class families desire). In the future, we will also provide locals with tours and programmes nearby the hotels. Also, the price range is special for locals, and we negotiate special deals for our clients.

Since launching your platform in late 2017, your company has listed hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kep and Kampot. What are your future expansion plans, both in Cambodia and beyond?
We will soon add Battambang and other provincial capitals as well as popular weekend destinations around Phnom Penh. We are already talking to potential partners in Myanmar and Laos, since the markets and customer needs there are similar… [But for] now, we are focusing on leading the market in Cambodia and then exploring other countries. Our main competitors are of course the big platforms like Booking.com and the hotels themselves. In Cambodia, Booking.com has partnered up with Agoda [of Singapore]. But the main reason why we chose the niche market for families and local travellers is because there is no competition yet.

This article was published in the October 2018 edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.