The worldwide tourism industry has flourished greatly in the past 50 years. With natural gems like the longest beach in the world in Cox’s Bazar, tea estates of Sylhet, hill tracts of Rangamati and many more, Bangladesh has the potential to be a gold mine for tourism. Bangladeshi tourism’s obstacle to success is its lack of infrastructure and online presence. There is no visibility for small agents and vendors in a digital space. A company that fought to solve this problem and bring all vendors to the limelight of digital space is Go Zayaan.
Go Zayaan’s mission from the very beginning has been convenience and flexibility. The company started its journey focusing mainly on international flights, making online booking possible through local currency for the first time. Seeing considerable growth in this field, it ventured into domestic flights and eventually hotels and resorts as well. It started the country’s first nationwide online hotel booking service with a goal to fully automate the travel booking experience, shifting the tourism experience online to cater to the needs of the future.
But everything came to a crashing halt with the pandemic. The 9 trillion dollar industry of tourism came to a standstill in a matter of days. The scarcity of demand forced many small agents and local vendors to withdraw their businesses. The burning question for any tourism related enterprise during these dark times was, how will they survive?
Go Zayaan sustained through the pandemic and the company is currently thriving with a new investment in the seed round. Their secret- focusing on home grounds. Research showed that although international tourism was at a complete deadlock, domestic flights and hotel bookings were slowly increasing. There was a booming demand in the local travel industry all of a sudden. Go Zayaan identified this online need for domestic tourism. The company took this opportunity to go to the very ground levels and talk to hoteliers and small agents. It on-boarded bus and offline tour operators to give them visibility in the digital space. Thanks to Go Zayaan, many businesses destined to shut down during lock-down were able to see the light of day. When the tourism industry slowly started adapting to the “new normal” , Go Zayaan furthered its operations with different tours. The company found the grassroots of the travel industry- the boatmen, the fishermen etc. and gave them visibility in the digital space. It created an ecosystem for people who were information deprived before. Vendors who previously only relied on offline, word of mouth advertising, now have a platform to be showcased on.
The company took extensive measures to ensure that travelers are maintaining proper health and safety guidelines during the pandemic. It launched the “GoSafe” program which works as a travel advisory where customers can see the travel regulations for both national and international travel in detail. To further adapt itself to the new environment, it partnered up with government approved labs to integrate a COVID test as an add-on. Since most countries now demand a negative PCR test report before traveling, it’s quite hard to coordinate testing and results with flight schedules. Travelers can now easily book and get the schedule of their COVID tests with the help of Go Zayaan.
The pandemic only sped up a process that was long overdue for Bangladeshi tourism. A digitization of travel planning to properly give people control over their travel agenda is a welcome change in the local travel scene. Starting from only 150 hotels, Go Zayaan now has more than 300 enlisted hotels and resorts nationwide. Just in domestic travel, the company has experienced a growth of over 5 times over the last 12 months.
Go Zayaan has recently secured a funding of USD 2.6 million in the seed round. The company intends on using this investment to further advance the complete traveling experience in Bangladesh. The funding will aim to improve customer experience, shift travel planning online and move travelers towards the online ecosystem.
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