The tourism and hospitality sector are taking over the Kingdom and a good example of a startup leveraging on the popularity of tourism recently is Bayonia, the brand new Cambodia-specific hotel booking platform!
According to the latest Career Report by everjobs, the focus on the hospitality sector is becoming more prevalent with more than 1.5 million tourists visiting the country during the first quarter of 2017; showing how tourism is an avenue of fast and sustainable growth for Cambodia. Divotsna Jangir, Business Development Manager at everjobs, goes on to mention that, “Together with textile, the tourism industry has been one of the key pillars of the Kingdom’s economy since the late 1990s, early 2000.”.
With that, the Siem Reap-based platform, Bayonia, aims to be part of Cambodia’s sustainable economical growth by providing the ultimate online travel experience inside Cambodia through the provision of accommodation options all over the Kingdom, all while promoting a good cause.
Founder of Bayonia, Sinal Meas, came up with the bright idea through his own travelling experiences back in 2015. During his travels and visits to his family in Siem Reap then, he realised that there were a lot more people travelling to very popular destinations; especially during public holidays, occasions and festivals like the Khmer New Year. Thus, he faced the constant problem of finding a good and nice place to stay because many hotels had the tendency of increasing their prices twofold or even threefold during these peak periods.
Furthermore, he also realised that though there were already big international players in the accommodations market, there were no reliable platforms offering the same services just locally. Hence, Sinal decided to combat this problem by coming up with a platform that gives great value to the Cambodian people especially; so by early 2016, he started doing more in-depth research to make his dreams a reality.
Using his experience in software development, Sinal formed a small team of 3 by mid-2016. He even made the decision to quit his full time job, so as to focus all his energy into leading this project. Ultimately, a lot of hardwork and effort was put into the platform so that people could trust and use the platform as a way to save their time and money.
Creating Bayonia was never an easy journey, but the team used the building of Angkor Wat as a way to get inspired and be motivated to push on. “Our ancestors built such greatly remarkable temples, (so why can’t the younger generation build something that we are proud of too)? Having this kind of thought kept motivating us along the journey,” Sinal says.
Alas, their hard work paid off because by mid-2017, Bayonia BETA was launched. However, being a new player in the marketplace, the team was bound to face a lot of challenges, such as getting accommodations listed on the website. Slowly but surely, Bayonia managed to get a few supporters to put up their listings on the website and this eventually encouraged more to do the same.
So far, there are about 40 properties listed on the platform for locations in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and room prices start from $10, which is an extremely affordable price for local travellers.
Apart from the low room prices, Bayonia is actually on a greater mission to help and support society, in particular improving the lives of Cambodian children. Sinal was actually inspired to do something more because of his own experience again which impacted him greatly– when he and his family members were admitted to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in the past, free-of-charge.
To fulfil his mission, every time someone books a hotel via the Bayonia platform, 2000 Riel (USD$0.50) per room per night will be donated to help support children hospitals in Siem Reap. This helps to give them access to free healthcare and give them hope for a better future.
Though the official website will only be released in early 2018, you can start booking rooms on the running platform already. So if you are heading to somewhere in Cambodia soon and want to help a good cause at the same time, book a room now at Bayonia’s website here or follow their Facebook Page for more updates!