Once upon a time, there was an idea, which turned into an opportunity and today is a well-established platform-as-a-service with more than 50K users and growing.
Ten years back ago the idea to provide online booking for bus tickets in Bulgaria felt like a revolutionary one. The legislation was very strict and pre-printed tickets were mandatory. There were just a few companies with an information system to manage their operations. There was widespread skepticism that anyone will be interested in an online service.
In 2008 the only publicly available online booking services for bus tickets we found were in India. Nowadays it is hard to imagine a reputable bus company without online booking engine of some sort.
At IBS we love the impossible projects. We challenge ourselves both from business and technology perspective and this way we continuously learn and grow. These projects are our legends and a source of inspiration, a fitness for our intelligence and a lab for testing new technology and business transformation ideas.
The history of Busticket.bg starts with a project for implementing a bus transportation management system for Biomet. In 2005 it was a real challenge for a bus company to establish a centralized management and ticket office system. Connectivity was much slower and much more expensive than today. Bus companies focus on their transportation services and are not ready to own and maintain a complicated data center. The only vital solution to these challenges was to provide SaaS application and this is how IBS BTMS SaaS was born 14 years ago as part of our IBS Ticketsphere portfolio.
In the first couple of years, we worked together with our colleagues from Biomet on the transformation of their processes - from phone lines and paper to a central management information system. It was a real business transformation with new roles, new practices and new responsibilities in the company. An exciting experience.
When everything was running smoothly in Biomet we looked for new challenges and opportunities. Online booking was an obvious extension and we built it as a Platform-as-a-Service solution.
So on July 15, 2009, we sold our first prepaid e-reservation. At that time, the term "electronic ticket" was still missing from Bulgarian legislation. The most significant success of our team is not the technical accomplishment, but the proper and lawful implementation of the entire new business process - from booking and payment to check-in and taking a seat on the bus.
From the first step, we established a solid principle - simplicity. There won't be any banners, commercials or web adverts of any sort. Never. Busticket is to be about customer service only.
For 10 years with busticket.bg we have achieved a lot. When it was possible, busticket.bg and Biomet were the first to bring electronic tickets to passengers. We have created a new customer experience and helped Biomet to be the company with the best service on the market.
Last decade busticket.bg has grown purely evolutionary. We updated the system step by step, and when something suggested that changes are needed. Following the increasing trend and popularity of mobile devices, we also updated the interface. First responsive design, and subsequently mobile application.
Today, 40% of Transactions in the system are made by a mobile device, compared to 28% last year.
Last year (2018), for the first time, we passed the psychological limit of 1 million in sales. Our first full year was 2010 with a turnover of around 100K. A 1000% growth for 9 years. And we expect another 30% in 2019.
One of the most important indicators for me has always been the percentage of online bookings, which this year reached 22.76% of all Biomet passengers compared to 1.44% in 2010. This is a pure indicator of the transformation in the industry and customers preferences and behavior.
busticket.bg success is not only due to the penetration of e-commerce in people's lives but also due to the 5-star service that our team provides to all passengers. Need help in the middle of the night? No problem - we are at your service. And not just for you, but for each of the 50K registered customers in the system.
We love our adventure in the transportation industry. We have invested a lot, but it pays back in the most important asset for our company and team - knowledge and experience.
The future is in everything-as-a-service. Consumption is in transformation from purchase or subscriptions to pay only what is actually consumed when it is consumed.
Our experience in SaaS and PaaS has been useful so far, but even more important for our future is the ability to develop and transform it according to the requirements of future users and partners. Whether this will involve changing patterns of transport use or API economy or anything else, or all together, we are willing to experiment, learn and make it work!
Congratulations for IBS and Biomet joint team. You did marvelously and celebration is well deserved.
CEO, IBS Bulgaria