As Novac/Ljubica Vuko writes, the Split company GetByBus sold its very first online bus ticket back in late March 2014, it was the only ticket sold that day. By the end of 2014, they had sold a total of about 25,000 tickets. The number of tickets sold grew from year to year, the number of bus carriers and countries where their services were available increased. Now they’ve reached an important milestone which means new growth and employment in becoming part of the Israeli Bookaway Group. The acquisition was recently completed.
”It’s important for us that our brand GetByBus, which is recognised on the market, remains as it is, but that we also continue to develop using the resources of the Bookaway Group, its financial and logistical support. In all this, it’s important to hire young people who have the opportunity to work and live in Split and provide services to customers around the world,” say the leading people of this company.
The Split company GetByBus was founded by Dane Morten Smalby, who has been living in Dalmatia with his family for seventeen years. Initially, it was a website where information on bus routes in Croatia could be found, until the demand for online reservations spurred the success of the platform.
The co-founders of GetByBus are also Vivian Luksic, Tereza Kulic and Ante Dagelic. Each of them has a role to play in a business through which they allow passengers to purchase online tickets on tens of thousands of bus lines to get from point A to point B across more than 50 countries. They’re the strongest here on the Croatian market and in the Balkans, and are present in many European countries and even elsewhere in the world.
”Our focus is always on our passengers, our goal is to make their trip as easy as possible,” says Ante Dagelic while Tereza Kulic remembers the very beginnings when bus companies had to be offered a new digital service, and at that time most worked manually and only a few had their own internet sales channels. Today, the story is completely different.
”The ratings left by passengers are also important to us and to the carriers, and only those who really rode can give a review,” Vivian Luksic points out.
After Bookaway first took over the Split company GetByBus, and then 12Go, a local transport company from Southeast Asia, the group wants to achieve an ambitious goal – together they want to become the Booking.com of the travel industry.
”Currently, 95 percent of the land transport industry is offline, meaning travellers are wasting valuable time and money trying to manage their travel by booking flights and hotels online. The Bookaway Group wants to make traveling by train, ferry or bus an effortless experience. The finding, comparing and booking of the tickets is all done online, and customers receive support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Noam Toister, the founder and director of Bookaway on the occasion of the acquisition of GetByBus.
Toister founded Bookaway back in 2017 as a startup with two friends and business partners, they are David Yitzhaki and Omer Chehmer. In the meantime, they grew with the support of investors, and now with acquisitions. The Split company GetByBus will now work through Bookaway to accomplish this group’s mission, which means they want to modernise this 157 billion US dollar industry by uniting the world’s leading carriers and local suppliers with technology and resources that ultimately improve the entire travel industry.
”Changing this market wasn’t at all easy. We’ve been building trust with suppliers for years, proving the benefits of doing digital business. The result of all that is the organic growth of the platform. Thanks to the partnership within the Bookaway Group, we’re looking forward to sharing our resources and skills to further expand our customer base and gain more opportunities in regions such as Asia, the US and South America,” said Morten Smalby.
He is especially happy now there is an additional opportunity to create new jobs in Split. They currently have 25 employees and want to hire a dozen more people in a variety of jobs, from web developers to marketing and sales. GetByBus has helped the digital transformation of bus carriers with its business, and is still working on it, now within the Bookaway Group.
Digital transformation is one of the European Union’s top priorities, as stated on the European Parliament’s portal, digital platforms affect various sectors from transport to energy, agri-food, telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare and change people’s lives. Technologies can help optimise production, reduce emissions and waste, strengthen companies’ competitive advantages, and provide new services and products to consumers.
In addition to digitisation in action, the GetByBus example highlights the importance of the green transition, another of the EU’s top priorities.
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