Skift Take

Bookaway Group has acquired one of the most widely used transport management systems in Latin America, which will offer customers a whole new level of ease when arranging travel plans.

Bookaway Group, the well-established ground transportation booking platform, is acquiring Sisorg, a Buenos Aires-based management software company, to help accelerate migrating ground transportation bookings to digital. Eighty to 90 percent of bus, train, and ferry tickets are sold offline, so Bookaway’s mission is to digitize the industry, allowing travelers to arrange transportation services with the click of a button.

“One of the biggest problems in the industry is that the operators are not online. They are either using pen and paper or they’re using some backwards system that doesn’t connect to anything which makes it difficult for travelers to book tickets conveniently,” said Noam Toister, Bookaway’s founder and CEO.

The terms of the deal, announced this week, were not disclosed.

Sisorg will get thousands of Bookaway’s operators online, allowing them to “manage all business starting from the ticketing, seating arrangements, driver allocation, fuel, cargo, and so on,” Toister continued.

Bookaway also introduces seatOS, which was built internally and is “the same thing but for the Asian market.” According to Toister, “these markets are quite different, so we decided to acquire a very strong product in Latin America and develop our own in Asia.”

The group is already working with these products and has seen great results. With any new product there is an element of uncertainty, but feedback is being taken from customers and the team is “answering more and more of operators’ demands and requirements.”

With that being said, there are other companies in this realm of booking transportation. In an article earlier this year, “These Startups Want to Digitize the World’s Intercity Buses,” Skift writes that “new players are helping operators either sell tickets to international travelers, run their businesses more efficiently with software, or both,” Main competitors are companies such as Omio, Busbud, Reservamos, and Drivezy. 

“Omio is doing similar things,” said Toister, “but they are more focused on the US and Western Europe markets. We are the biggest aggregator in the world in terms of companies that we work with.”

With travel recovering from the pandemic, Bookaway has been tracking above global recovery rates. As specified by the UNWTO Tourism Recovery Tracker for domestic seat capacity, the global recovery rate is 82 percent, with Europe at 84 percent, Africa at 94 percent, and Asia and the Pacific at 69 percent. 

“While the market itself is at a certain recovery, our sales are way above that which shows we have taken a much more significant part of the booking experience online. We are tracking way above 2019 numbers so we feel very positive about how this is evolving.”

In 2022, 2,004 new operators and 26,434 routes were added to Bookaway Group. The acquisition of new software solutions is going to further assist the company’s goal — making it easy for everyone to travel with local ground and sea transportation services — while the world continues to lean on virtual platforms to organize and plan.

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Tags: bookaway, buses, online travel, online travel newsletter, software, travel booking

Photo credit: Buses in NYC Patricio Espigares / Flickr