Baolau is taking a step closer to become the leading multitransport travel search engine for the Greater Mekong Sub-region. conceived as a travel planning tool with information of timetables and fares for transportation in Vietnam, Baolau converted to a ticket booking platform for the three domestic flight carriers –Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific–, the state-owned rail operator Vietnam Railways as well as the major bus and ferry companies. Having succeeded in Vietnam, the company expanded its business operations to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand throughout 2016 and 2017.
2018 marks a new stage in the development strategy, as Baolau focuses on becoming the largest multi-transport search provider in the entire GMS, supported by MIST: Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism start-up accelerator.
“As a participant of MIST initiative launched during the MEKONG TOURISM FORUM 2017 in Luang Prabang, Laos, we had the opportunity to benefit from the Market Access program. We travelled to Myanmar to meet potential partners, sign cooperation agreements and integrate additional transport content in our platform,” explains Alberto Moreno, General Director for Baolau.
Following the successful venture into Myanmar, Baolau integrated flight routes of four domestic airlines and bus routes operated by a major local bus company.
After Myanmar, Baolau looked into China: “Having established bus and train links connecting Kunming and Nanning from Laos and Vietnam, we thought about expanding our operations in Guangxi and Yunnan, as both provinces are part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. This move aims to fulfil our mission to serve the six GMS countries,” tells Alberto Moreno.
Just recently, Baolau added a number of airlines based in Guangxi and Yunnan to its inventory. Travelers can now use the search engine to book domestic and international flights to and from Kunming and Nanning as well as other tourist destinations such as Dali, Lijiang and Jinghong (Xishuangbanna) in Yunnan as well as Guilin in Guangxi.
“We will not stop at flights. To deliver a real multi-transport solution, we will integrate train routes connecting the Mekong region with China as well as Malaysia,” adds Alberto Moreno. Last April, the company announced online ticket booking for rail services operated by Malaysia’s rail company, KTM, connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to the train network of the State Railway of Thailand.
The team is now confident to integrate rail services in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces by the end of the year, then extend its coverage to the rest of China.
2019 should see the addition of further transportation services into Baolau search and booking engine, especially bus and ferry routes across the entire region. Finally, an important development in the process of international expansion will be the opening of a branch company in Thailand. “Thailand is already our second largest market in terms of sales. We believe that our presence in the country will help us to consolidate our position and add more services for domestic and international travellers,” tells Alberto Moreno.