Today, we are pleased to announce our acquisition of Clickbus Turkey, the company which owns and operates Neredennereye.com, a leading Turkish bus booking website headquartered in Istanbul.
Two years ago, we began a discussion with Erol, the founder of Neredennereye, to better understand the Turkish intercity bus market. What we learned from Erol confirmed our hypothesis: Turkey was in fact a very large and dynamic market for intercity bus travel, with about 200M intercity bus passenger tickets sold every year.
Indeed, Turkey boasts both a fast-growing domestic market with a population of 80M as well as a strong tourism market attracting over 35M tourists per year to key destinations such as Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Cappadocia.
Through our exchanges with Erol, we also discovered a great entrepreneurial story of growth and persistence, fuelled by the desire to make bus travel more efficient for Turkish travellers.
Erol founded Neredennereye.com (meaning “from here to there” in Turkish) in 1999 as an online travel directory to help travellers find information about bus schedules in Turkey.
He was inspired to start this website after a trip to Germany, where he saw firsthand how readily bus information was available and how well it was structured. It was also during a trip, mine between Brazil and Argentina, that I realized that bus travel could be better organized for worldwide travellers. In many ways, Erol and I are very much aligned in our core mission to make the world a little easier to travel by bus, one country at a time.
Fast Growth and Becoming a Local Leader
It was actually only 10 years later, in 2009, that Erol decided to convert his directory into an online travel agency, selling its first tickets to customers in Turkey.
Since then, Erol and his team have grown Neredennereye.com into a leader in the Turkish market. On the supply side, it now covers 30,000 routes offered by 180+ bus operators in Turkey, including Metro Travel, Ulusoy Travel, Kontur, Efe Tur, Balıkesir Uludağ and many more. Given the growing popularity of low-cost flights, Neredennereye also offers flight booking options for operators such as Turkish Airlines, Atlas Global and AnadoluJet. On the demand side, the company has also grown fast, nearly 500% from 2014 to 2018.
From Turkey to the World, and Back!
Erol and his team at Neredennereye.com have had a remarkable growth story in Turkey. There is a lot for Busbud to learn from how they have achieved a very strong position in the large and dynamic Turkish market over the years. These insights and go-to-market strategies will help inform our continued rollout in the 80+ countries Busbud currently serves today.
We also look forward to sharing our experiences of scaling our global marketplace with the Neredennereye.com team, as well as share access to our technology platform and additional resources to keep accelerating their growth in the future. With much of the Turkish intercity bus market converting from offline to online in coming years, we believe there is much more growth in this market, and that the Neredennereye team is uniquely positioned to dominate it.
The Neredennereye team will continue to be based in Istanbul, which will become Busbud’s first office outside of our Canadian headquarters. The Istanbul team will remain focused on serving Turkish travellers.
The entire Busbud team is excited to learn more about Turkey and its unique story and culture from our new colleagues. Most of all, we are excited to welcome a team that shares Busbud’s passion and mission to make bus travel more efficient worldwide.