French travel company Voyages-sncf.com, whose site offers travel for major European carriers such as OUIBUS, isilines and Eurolines, has chosen Montreal’s Busbud as its exclusive technology partner to distribute the company’s entire bus inventory via Busbud’s application programming interface (API).
Employing 1,000 people, two-thirds of whom are dedicated to the French and European market, Voyages-sncf.com is an expert in railway travel to European and French destinations.
As well as operating four brick-and-mortar shops and a call centre, Voyages-sncf.com is a €4.3 billion ($5.5 million) company, present in 30 countries via 67 web and mobile sites, listing carriers such as SNCF, Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria, as well as 400 airlines, 435,000 hotels, 1,300 campsites, over 25,000 accommodation offers, 30 car rental companies, and more besides.
So a deal with Voyages-sncf.com represents a major market breakthrough into the European market for this Montreal bus travel start-up, which currently employs 42 people and facilitates the buying of bus tickets in 63 countries.
“We are used to working with innovative and efficient startups in our digital ecosystem to enhance our solutions,” said Julien Nicolas, director of the Voyages-sncf.com business unit in France. “As we pursue our expansion in the bus vertical, we chose Busbud because its team is young, dynamic and reliable. During the tendering process, Busbud presented us with a solid proposition for our development in the bus market in France, and also for rest of Europe.”
The partnership marks Busbud’s entry into a new space for the company, the GDS (Global Distribution System), an electronic reservation management platform that offers Voyages-sncf.com real-time access to the status of the ticket inventory for all of the company’s carriers.
“We do not believe in a world where only buses exist for travel, but we also don’t believe in a world without bus,” said Busbud VP of Revenue Thomas Geissmann. “Voyages-sncf.com demonstrates an innovative spirit towards its customer offerings and we welcome the bet on the bus as a development strategy. Buses will definitely represent a significant share of French and European tourism market in the coming years.”
This deal is part of a new strategy for Busbud, which the company began implementing last month, of integrating its platform directly into the sites of large online travel companies.
“We believe in the complementarity of the train and the bus, whether it be to increase the number of accessible destinations, create new multimodal routes or simply allow travellers to choose the cheapest, fastest or most comfortable option according to the needs of the moment,” says Busbud CEO and co-founder Louis-Philippe Maurice.
In June 2013, Busbud raised a $1 million seed round, led by iNovia Capital and Real Ventures, with participation from Peter Kern, managing partner of NYC-based equity firm InterMedia Partners Inc., and Joe Poulin, CEO of travel start-up Luxury Retreats.
Busbud has since raised a total of $10.2 million, adding investors such as OMERS Ventures and Revolution Ventures, as well as outside investors and advisors, including executives from TripAdvisor, Expedia, Travelocity, Google and Facebook.