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Effective Social Media Marketing for Travel Industry in Russia

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How do we build effective communication with Russian tourists in social media? Let’s study the issue through the example of social media accounts of the biggest air ticket search sites in Russia— Aviasales and Skyscanner.

Today, Aviasales.ru is the first and the biggest metasearch site for cheap air tickets in the Russian Internet (as said on Aviasales.ru). They search air tickets in 728 air companies, 200 air ticket offices, and 5 booking systems (GDS), using the latest technologies.

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site, a place where people are inspired to plan and book direct from millions of travel options at the best prices.

Both aggregators in Russia are presented in four social media: VK, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Below is the number of subscribers of both search engines by contrast (as of March 1, 2019).

*Some may be surprised by the number of Skyscanner subscribers on Facebook. As this company is international and has several accounts for different regions, the number of subscribers is summarized, so not all these subscribers follow portal updates in the Russian market.

Main Content Theme in All Channels is Traveling

However, Aviasales and Skyscanner present not only different information, but in a different manner, too.

Aviasales blog is characterized by quite interesting, catchy headings like ‘How to Gain Weight in 5 Days: A Yerevan Travel Guide’ or ‘Las Vegas: How Not to Waste Bags of Money and Beat the Casino’. Why does it matter? A large part of posts are published with links to the blog, and it is mostly them that stimulate quantity of travelers’ reactions.

Account managers actively communicate with users and, while doing so, can tell jokes quite often, which again encourages activeness on their accounts.

Main topic on Aviasales accounts look like this:

  • Travel tips, for example, how to get a USA visa within 1.5 months;
  • City and country travel guides;
  • Travel news directly affecting Russian tourists;
  • Hot deals to stimulate consumption. For instance, when a US dollar rate and, consequently, air tickets prices grew, the company encouraged subscribers in social media to purchase tickets at old prices. According to Aviasales, it increased foreign destination sales by 43%.

  • To stimulate activeness in accounts, they ask simple questions or ask travelers to share advice (such posts are published once or twice a day). Just compare figures of a post with a hot offer and a poll post—the latter has almost a triple reach, let alone a number of reactions to the post (likes, comments, and even shares)!*

*However, we need to bear in mind that we see total statistics (organic and advertising reach).

What about Skyscanner?

In their communities, users’ activity is on a part with one of Aviasales. Although the communication style and the manner of posts and headings by Skyscanner are more moderate, subscribers like their content and like and comment it actively as well.

  • The major part of Skyscanner content is posts with hot deals and selections of best offers of air tickets from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
  • Besides, on top of publication topics are selection of interesting offers, for example, 30 cheapest countries for a vacation in 2019 or a selection of movies recommended to travelers for watching;
  • Picture posts of interesting places and landmarks in cities and regions worldwide with a short text consisting of 1-2 sentences. By the way, judging by the reach and engagement, this posting format is much appreciated by the account’s subscribers.

Text: France has an official list of the most beautiful villages. It includes Najac, a commune with the population of less than 1,000 people. The main street will lead you to a medieval castle on a hill by houses with cute balconies. Get ready to take many pictures!

  • Besides, they publish news for tourists in Russia and polls, but such Skyscanner posts are seen much less often.

Different Social Media – Different Content?

Content of Aviasales and Skyscanner on Facebook, VK, and Twitter is similar: this is situational marketing.

At the same time, according to Aviasales members, Twitter is the main area of experiments where the company tests posts before publishing them on Facebook and VK, which audience is more diversified.

Instagram of both sites clearly sticks out of the crowd.

Firstly, on Instagram posts are published less often: Aviasales publishes there 1-3 posts a week, which is even lower than a daily posting rate on VK—2 to 8 posts a day! Skyscanner posts on Instagram more actively than its competitor—1 post daily, compared to its content publication on VK, equal to 2 to 4 posts a day.

Secondly, photo content on Instagram is mostly unique. Usually it consists of personal pictures of users who mark Aviasales and Skyscanner in their posts, as well as pictures of bloggers with whom the aggregators cooperate.

By the way, here is a small life hack how to find travel bloggers in Russia—analyze content of accounts of famous Russian travel brands, and you will definitely get a list of proven bloggers who offer content of good quality.

This is how @aviasales encourages their readers to mark them in pictures from travels #aviasales_блогеры. Note their communication style:

“A shocking story! One girl posted a vacation picture and did not mark @aviasales. No likes, questions in comments, unsubscribes from the accounts, friends are pulling their hair out, model agencies cancel unsigned contracts, fans watch stories, but never give it away… Only travel bloggers celebrate. Don’t be like that! Please mark us in your beautiful pictures asap and like this post, and we will like yours. So, @yana_leventseva made it all right! Be like Yana.”

Skyscanner is reserved in its posts and on Instagram, but also encourages users to share their stories with a tag #skyscannerrussia.

“All you need to know about an ideal morning.”

Travel SMM - Where and How Is It Most Effective to Promote?

If you decided to go to the Russian market, and here to stay, do not stop on one social network, but experiment with different ones.

Above all, remember that communication with users in social media helps maintain an emotional bond. Test different content not only in its matter, but also its manner, analyze the audience’s reaction, and raise your reach.

To achieve best results in promotion in the Russian market, contact professionals— RMAA Travel.

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About the Author

Digital marketing manager, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Group Blog

Author Yulia Vasilyeva
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