Busbud: Time to Catch the OTA Bus


July 4, 2019

4 min read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Finding a Bus Ride Can Be Complicated!

If you have attempted to backpack through South America you may know how ‘Muy Complicado’ (‘Very Complicated’) it can be to book a bus ride.

Busbud CEO and Co-Founder, LP Maurice saw this first hand in 2011 and decided he was going to fix it.

Busbud started as a way to aggregate all the schedules of Bus Companies making it easier for travellers/passengers to find their ride. In 2014, it evolved into a platform where passengers could book bus tickets in their own language, currency and on a simple website they could understand.

Today, Busbud is available in 83 countries, with 43 operators and is most easily explained as, “the Expedia for Buses.”

“We are the Bus Guys”

“OTA’s in transportation is nothing new,” Marin says. “They have been selling flights for years. But we are the ‘Bus Guys’, and that is still a very young market.”

Zaui Software - Marin Vallée, Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, Busbud
Marin Vallée, Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, Busbud

“Bus is the fastest growing mode of passenger transportation in the world and many bus companies are coming online. The growth in the space is in every country and it’s amazing,” says Marin, “but most of the world is still offline.”

“Only about 5% of all intercity bus tickets in the world are purchased online. Major players account for about 70% of those. We are working to get that other 95% of the market online.”

The first barrier is having a reservation system. There are 100-year-old companies, “some” may have an old legacy system and some still don’t use any online system. It’s very tough to change thousands of drivers and old entrenched processes.

Put quite simply, “Busbud helps operators that are connected online sell more tickets. BUT you need an online reservation system. Turnkey solutions like Zaui that have a live connection to Busbud is how we can help them sell more,” Marin says.

If you use the Zaui platform, all of your inventory and sales channels connect to one centralized system and are kept in real-time. When you sell a ticket through the Busbud channel, your inventory is automatically updated on all of your other sales channels (your website, OTA channels, concierge logins, etc) and that ensures you aren’t overselling your product.

“The average bus occupancy rate is 50-60%. That means there is about 40% occupancy for us to help you sell,” Marin says.

Zaui Software - Busbud - Management team
Busbud CEO Louis-Philippe Maurice, CTO Michael Gradek and Chief Analytics Officer, Frederic Thouin

We Sell Bus Tickets

“Success in OTA’s depends on live availability and user experience. Customers need to quickly find the tickets they are looking for and be able to book within a couple of clicks,” says Marin.

Busbud OTA booking platform

Busbud has done a lot of research to become an expert in selling bus tickets online.

This means accessing live inventory in an operator’s system is crucial. “We don’t want to display an option that is sold out. It needs to be live and available,” Marin says.

“If you go to an OTA (like Busbud) and spend 10 minutes searching to book something and then get to the end and it’s not available, you’re probably never going there to book again,” Marin says. Showing real-time product availability is essential to customer success.

Transportation companies using Zaui can set up the Busbud channel to start selling to international audiences right away. It is the quickest way to get transportation products in front of global customers in their own native language and currency.

Dynamic Pricing

“Not a lot of bus companies have dynamic pricing. The majority doesn’t,” Marin says. “But it is an incredibly powerful tool.”

“Mainly the biggest players use dynamic pricing right now and they all have different approaches. There are so many different types,” he says. “Some factors are based on demand, a company’s marketing plan, prices based on the season, #of adults, group size etc, etc…”

You can sell 90% of the seats at $1 and then a few at a good price that pays for the whole trip. Dynamic pricing can be used in so many ways. Something that Zaui has been working on and it is enabling a lot of flexibility for Zaui transportation companies.

The Wheels on the Bus

In 2018/2019, the Busbud team’s growth has been explosive. They catapulted from 35 to 65 employees in 1 year. They acquired a company in Turkey and Raised a B Round of Financing.

Busbud is now on a “Global Scale” and the largest online travel agency in intercity bus transportation in the industry.

“The goal is to grow and keep growing. To connect every bus operator for every bus route that exists,” says Marin.

With only 5% of the total intercity bus trips being booked online today (Busbud estimates that about 20,000 operators exist and they are currently connected to about ¼ of that), this bus engine is just getting warmed up…

The real question is, who is on the bus? And who is missing it???

Zaui Software - Busbud - Online Travel Agency - Bus Passengers
Global customers are searching for transportation options. Connect your bus company live to the Busbud platform right through your Zaui system.

Start selling on Busbud today!

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About Zaui Software

Zaui is a technology-leading reservation and management software for maximizing online bookings and reducing costs in the tour, activity and transportation industry. Automate bookings, connect to Online Travel Agents (Viator, Expedia, etc), live cross-selling of products, real-time inventory, POS and mobile applications, powerful analytics. Based in Canada’s outdoor adventure capital of Vancouver, British Columbia. 

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