Jovago aims high in Myanmar with hotel-booking app for domestic tourists

Real Estate April 04, 2016 01:00

By KHINE KYAW
MYANMAR ELEVEN
YA

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A NEW HOTEL booking app has been launched in Myanmar with the aim of boosting domestic tourism.



Developed by Jovago, the app is available in Burmese and features a selection of more than 700 hotels across the country. 
It is targeting partnering 95 per cent of hotels in Myanmar by the end of this year. 
Hugo Schleicher, managing director of Jovago Myanmar, said the number of hotels should rise to 1,000 by the end of June. 
He said Myanmar was the next boon market for the company, which had offices in 15 countries. 
“Now we have hundreds of regular customers, and most of them are Myanmar citizens,” he said. 
“We also have customers from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Thailand as well [through apps in English]. 
“We are targeting all the people from everywhere in the country. Our expectation is to become the market leader here. We aim to grow business by 20 per cent every month.”
Myanmar welcomed 4.5 million international visitors in 2015, according to the Hotels and Tourism Ministry. 
The number of domestic travellers reached 2.46 million in 2015 with spending of 733.24 billion kyats (Bt21.2 billion). 
As of December, Myanmar had 1,279 hotels, motels, and guesthouses in 67 towns across the country, with available room capacity of 49,946 rooms.
Through the app, Extranet, which is available for Android phones, Jovago presents all the details of hotels while hotels have access to information of their customers. The information can be edited on mobile phones, and the app users can confirm a booking within 10 minutes. 
They can pay with international credit cards like Visa and MasterCard while Myanmar Payment Union will be accepted in the future.
Schleicher said the app did not require much data usage and was designed for places with very slow Internet access. 
Mobile phone penetration in the country remains low. 
“It’s just the beginning. We launched the Burmese version app two weeks ago but we have welcomed thousands of users,” he said. 
The number of bookings in the second week doubled that of the first week, he said.
Twenty per cent of bookings are done through mobile phones and the rest by personal computers. 
Jovago expects more than 2,000 confirmed bookings via Extranet by the end of this year.
On the industry outlook, Schleicher has high hopes because of the new government despite the current infrastructure constraints. He believes the Htin Kyaw administration will bring political stability, which will lead to more visits to Myanmar and more travels within the country. 
He hopes the government will implement new laws that will make it easier for hotels to do business. 
“The country will be better and better. More and more investment will come, and more and more tourists will come, too. Over the next few years, Myanmar will be a key player of the tourism industry in the world,” he said.