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

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports