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Opportunities of the eTravel market are expanding by means of the spread of various ticket or tour aggregators. Besides, in order to save on a trip and plan it correctly, tourists can use applications that select advantageous offers and optimize travel expenses. At that, a visible popularity is being gained by products that let organize tours on one’s own and create individual recreation programs.
The year of 2018 showed a significant growth in the number of online queries from Russian tourists.
So, for instance, the number of queries ‘air travel’ only in Yandex has increased at its zenith—July 2018—almost by 25%, compared to July 2017. Positive dynamics of online search for tickets, tours, and vouchers can also be seen from other queries (package tours, buy a tour, buy air tickets, buy an air ticket online).
The search demand is also growing just like eTravel market volume for comparable 15-25% per year. The only exception is tours where the growth is more than 60%.
Russian tourists searched for air tickets in 2018 equally as often both on PCs and on mobile devices.
At that, the number of queries like, for example, ‘air tickets’, on a PC has changed little, if at all, within 2 years, but as for mobile devices, positive dynamics has totaled more than 30%.
The volume of online shopping in the Russian tourism market covers a slight share of total travel market, though it is actively growing. According to the online travel market research by Data Insight Study 2016, the online booking is 20% in the segment of tickets; 10-14% in the segment of hotels, and only 3-5% falls at the online sales of tours (for comparison: in the UK– 50%, in Germany –25%). The eTravel market in Russia amounts to nearly $13.7 billion (2017), with stable growth of just over 20% per year. Russian online travel industry market share in the Russian travel market is about 10%.
The most popular online services to buy travel products: Russian Railways website (43% of buyers used this site at least once per the last year); airlines websites (30%); hotel booking services (29%), air tickets sale services (22%); room reservation on hotel websites (21%).
“It is obvious that the growth potential of the Russian market for online travel is huge. According to the company proprietary data, the sales of airline tickets from Aviasales grew by 50% for 2016, the sales of the hotel rooms grew for 180%. Segment of the package tour sales also keep growing: Travelata.ru sales volume for 2016 grew by 100%, the founders of another online tour agency Onlinetours announced a growth by 50%.” - noticed Aleksey Zaretskiy, the founder of Travelata online service.
“Nowadays it’s hard enough for different online travel agencies like OzonTravel, OneTwoTrip, Anywayanyday. They were caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, metasearch engines press them: Aviasales, Skyscanner, Momondo, which assemble a very large audience.People prefer to use metasearch engines to choose a ticket because the prices from all sellers are compared there. On the other hand, Russian airlines cut the fees greatly, for example, Aeroflot lowered them to zero. Therefore, it became difficult to work for the most online travel agencies. For example, recently there was news that Anywayanyday was sold to Aeroclub Company, which works in the sphere of the business tourism.” – said Aleksey Zaretskiy, the founder of Travelata online service.
In 2018 online travel agencies market share in the Russian eTravel market was 37%.
Another category of eTravel market players are aggregators of tours that are integrated with major tour operators and provide their clients with the access to all current tours in the online mode. The market is divided among online services: Travelata, Level Travel, Onlinetours.
In July 2018 Travelata had over 3 million visitors on their website and over 1.5 million application installation. They send more than 100 thousand tourists per year. 80% fall at the overseas trips, and 20% fall at the internal trips.
Level Travel grew more than 3.5 times in 2016 inrelation to 2017. It grew twice in H1 2018 in relation to H1 2017. The trend of its growth does not show the dynamics of the market as a whole – they were growing faster than the market. In 2017, they had 30,000 customers and twice as much tourists. The average check amounted to about $1200.
Aviasales.ru is one of the most known and popular services to look for budget-friendly air tickets. Sales and booking are allowed when shifting to pages of airline companies or agencies. On Aviasales, you can buy air tickets to 220 countries of the worlds. Air tickets are searched and price-scanned among 100 agencies and 728 airline companies.
Here are key competitors of Aviasales in the Russian market, according to serpstat.com:
Booking.com dominates in the hotel booking segment as it was before. The ranking of the top most popular world websites 2019 by SimilarWeb is distinguished from other existing ratings that it combined the traffic of mobile devices and desktop computers for the first time. The new method of scoring is calculated by the number of unique visitors with the number of page view that characterizes “both the value and quality of each site”.
In the opinion of the Association of Tour Operators, the digitalization trend in tour operation business in 2019 will start taking on consistency. So, a more and more important role in the sustainability of tour operation companies will be played by technology solutions. The most perspective ones includes real-time dynamic packaging systems, new booking services for B2B, as well as online services for direct sales of tour packages and separate services to tourists online, including an opportunity to design a tour on one’s own.
Tour operation business will start growing beyond its classic form (tour package formation) and exploring new openings, for which modern digital tools will also be needed: own hotel management systems, host agency operation automation means, pricing management and demand forecast solutions based on Big Data etc.
Head of User Experience in OZON.travel Gleb Kalinin believes that the Online Travel market in Russian will keep on amalgamating, while little actors that failed to reach a certain scope will be gradually exiting.
Director of Svyaznoy Travel Andrei Osintsev emphasizes the following up-to-date TravelTech directions:
Sale of dynamic packaging, i.e. packages that only include a minimum range of services—as a rule, only travel and accommodation. But this product is technically challenging, and there is almost no necessary information for it.
Big Data and Machine Learning for intelligent search and formation of offers for clients—some companies already apply these technologies.
Use of open search for any date and direction, proceeding from a tourist’s budget capacity.
The expert notes that within the last years there have also been many changes in the market of aviation service. Of great interest is integration of air ticket sales under an NDC protocol directly with airline companies, cross sales of extra service on board a plane and before the take-off, creation of routes using capacities of virtual interline (as opposed to common interline agreements), as well as baggage check-in to the end destination.
We invite you to download “The Russian Tourism Market Report: Trends, Analysis & Statistics. How to impress Russian tourists and attract them to your country” and learn more about Russian online travel market.
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About the Author
Digital marketing manager, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Group Blog