Life at Busbud

¡Hola Argentina! Our First Busbud “Field Trip”

5 things we learned while exploring Argentina

On April 6th, I packed my bag and travelled with 9 other team members to sunny Buenos Aires in Argentina for the first edition of Busbud “Field Trips”!

The idea behind these “field trips” is to help the Busbud team better understand a local market in which we operate by experiencing it first-hand. Gaining deeper insights about a market in turn helps us improve the user experience for customers worldwide using our website and app.

To fulfill our objectives, we met over 100+ bus travellers, partners and bus operators based in Argentina. Of course, this was also a great bonding experience for our team!

After collecting our team’s 40+ pages of notes, gathering feedback and compiling data, we are pleased to share 5 key learnings of the first Busbud field trip to Argentina.

 

1. Customers Come First

Getting to know Busbud customers, and bus travellers in general, was one of our key goals. A few weeks prior to our departure, our team contacted customers that had booked on Busbud and would be traveling through Buenos Aires, to invite them to meet with us while we were on the ground. Meeting with both seasoned bus travellers and first-time buyers gave us great insights on how to improve our product and make bus purchasing and travelling a seamless experience. We came back to our Montreal office with many ideas on how to make bus travel better and how to be even more super useful for travellers worldwide.

2. Maintain Win-Win Relationships With Partners

Our bus partners are a huge part of our business’ success. It is because of them that Busbud is able to offer travellers the largest bus inventory in the world.

In five business days, we attended several meetings with bus operators and met over a hundred of their employees, from sales representatives to bus drivers and customer experience teams. These meetings not only gave us insights on what motivates and drives our partners, but also gave us a great platform to share ideas. We were able to discuss recurrent issues and areas of improvement and how we could boost our collaboration to offer the best experience possible to Busbud customers.

Meeting with our bus partner Central de Pasajes
Meeting with our bus partner Via Bariloche

3. Think Global, Act Local

As a global company, we continue strive to add new bus routes, both in existing and new countries for Busbud. Each newly added geography brings a unique set of features that are specific to that area.

One of the key learnings from our user and partner meetups in Argentina is that some features are more important than others in this part of the world. For Argentina, the main feature that stood out was seat selection and class type. As a result, we were able to translate customer and partner feedback, into improvements to both our product and customer experience that can be addressed.

Visiting a bus station in Buenos Aires
Hosting a meetup in the Buenos Aires tech community      

4. Balance Is Everything

One of the challenges our team faced while in Argentina was to balance our personal workload. We all came to Argentina with specific objectives, but we also had to keep up with our “regular” tasks! For some of us, this translated into meeting local partners and customers during the day and catching up on emails or coding at night.

Fortunately, we had scheduled some free time to relax, explore the city, and have fun together! During the course of our field trip, we organized sightseeing activities, went out for dinner as a team, bused to nearby beach town Mar del Plata (ps. you can go there with Busbud!) and tried Argentina’s local flavours and delicious cuisine. Balancing day-to-day tasks with partner and user meetings as well as leaving some time for sightseeing was key to this trip’s success!

All smiles in Mar Del Plata! (after our 5h bus ride)

5. Stay Opened-Minded

Throughout the course of our trip to Argentina, we were able to witness the impact of Busbud’s open-minded and tight-knit team culture. Travelling to Argentina with ten colleagues certainly was an adventure, where some of the things we had planned didn’t always go according to plan. Through the ups and the downs of travelling in a group of ten on a tight schedule, our team was able to stick together, support each other and seek solutions for all hurdles, big or small!

Sharing some asado during a team meal!
Flight delays? No sweat for the Busbud team!
Group selfie time! 🙂
Visiting the Central de Pasajes office to book city tours

Conclusion

Our field trip to Argentina has opened our eyes to the reality of travelling by bus in a foreign country and all its possible challenges, such as: limited access to Wi-Fi or 3G, printing tickets at the local bus station, seat selection, asking for information when you don’t speak the local language, etc. We were able to identify how we can improve the Busbud website and app to make it better for bus travellers in Argentina. We now also work even more closely with our local partners to improve our product and the overall Busbud experience… And we do so, with passion and lots of fun.

Time to say farewell!

Trip overview

  • 70+ interviews with customers
  • 7 meetings with partners and bus operators
  • Met over 100+ employees and business partners
  • 43 pages of notes
  • 1 meetup conference

Other fun stats

  • 54h of traveling time*
  • 149,402 steps – data from iPhone
  • 1 missed connection
  • 450+ photos taken
  • 12.5 hours of video footage

*Includes flights, bus, taxis, shuttles and bicycles