Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s answer to Booking.com?

Cambodia’s answer to Booking.com?

A screenshot of the Bayonia.com website showing available hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap.
A screenshot of the Bayonia.com website showing available hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap.

Cambodia’s answer to Booking.com?

A Siem Reap-based startup has created a booking website for Cambodian hotels and guesthouses that it hopes will provide a local alternative to international heavyweights Agoda and Booking.com

At the recent travel-focused Startup Weekend, there was a consensus among the participants that Siem Reap has nothing resembling a “startup scene” for its tourism sector, despite being located next to the biggest tourist draw in the Kingdom, Angkor Wat.

But Meas Sinal, co-founder of Siem Reap-based startup Bayonia, is hoping to change that. The 32-year-old and his three team members are attempting to create a Cambodian alternative to international hotel-booking sites Agoda and Booking.com.

Sinal said what he hopes will set Bayonia apart from these giants is a smaller, curated range of accommodation approved by his team or trusted users, and specifically selected to appeal to the Cambodian market.

“We understand the specific needs of local Cambodian customers,” Sinal said. “For example, they need parking space, because many travel by car. They often need big family rooms and additional beds. There is also a special price range for locals, and we try to find the most suitable hotels for them.”

Having been developing the software since 2016 and launching late in 2017, the website currently only has a few listings in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kampot, but Sinal plans to expand nationwide. While he acknowledges that it will be a time-consuming process to vet the accommodation, he believes this is what will make the business stand out. Right now the team is focused on product improvement and operations.

Meanwhile Sinal has one eye firmly on the long-term future and is looking beyond the Kingdom.

“At the moment we are focusing on the local market, but we are already in talks with other partners in Southeast Asia about expanding the concept of a local booking service,” he said. “We would need to make sure that we have the same level of customer understanding as we have in Cambodia already.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • US told to refrain from interfering in Sokha case

    Senior Cambodian officials said on Thursday that the US can monitor Kem Sokha’s trial as it wishes but would not be allowed to interfere in court procedures. The point was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday

  • Europe expected to consider EBA efforts, impact

    The government said it expects the European Commission to consider its efforts to comply with the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) regulations and the impact on one million workers should access to the agreement be suspended in February. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara