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Russian traveler's behavior evolution. Key travel market insights



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Following the departure of Booking from the Russian market in 2022, there has been a noticeable shift in Russian travelers' booking habits. In 2023, the independent booking of foreign hotels gained significant traction. This trend has continued into 2024 and many players in the travel industry focused on affiliate programs for Russian travelers, which have emerged as a key competitor to Booking. 

Let's examine the current situation and identify strategies for capitalizing on this trend to increase bookings from the active Russian travel audience.

Big restructuring of the online booking market in 2023

The departure of major foreign platforms allowed hotels to nearly double their direct sales.  The main players were Booking (accounting for 60-70% of the Russian online booking market) and Airbnb, which ceased operations in Russia in early 2022.   

Subsequently, the global restructuring of the Russian tourism market commenced, with the process expected to reach completion in 2024 as new tools emerge. 

At the outset of the changes, Russian tourists began purchasing tours on the websites of travel companies. Additionally, the direct online booking system for hotels was widely utilized. In 2023, approximately 44.3% of Russians made a "direct" hotel purchase.


Online booking service

Share of total bookings, % 












City booking center


Direct booking on hotel and airline websites



Furthermore, Russian alternatives to foreign services were introduced. The leaders were Yandex.Travel,,, (which is part of MTS travel), and others. 

Additionally, the Aviasails service has seen a significant uptick in activity from Russian tourists, with users purchasing airline tickets and reserving accommodation worldwide. According to the service's estimates, in 2023 Russians visited 163 countries. The top 10 destinations included Russian regions (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kaliningrad) and foreign destinations (Yerevan, Istanbul, Asia). 

All these services offer partnership programs, including those for foreign travel businesses. It is important to consider that having a presence in travel services increases the number of potential tourists who may book. Furthermore, advertising tools are available on the platforms. 

Advertising formats within online booking services

The specific advertising tools employed to promote a travel brand will depend on the service selected. 

Advertising in Yandex.Travel is available through the Yandex.Direct paid ads platform, as it is part of the Yandex Advertising Network. The majority of these advertisements will be media banners located on the main screen of the service or under the hotel search box. It should be noted that in Yandex.Direct, it is not possible to specify exclusively Yandex.Travel as the main location of the creative. In other words, it is necessary to select the Yandex Advertising Network, after which the algorithms will automatically select the locations for advertising, taking into account the characteristics of the audience.


Russian traveler's behavior evolution


There are additional formats available on Media banners are also featured on the homepage and within the search engine. In addition, users have the option of creating an email newsletter based on the service, writing an article for a blog, or launching a special project with a promotional page. 


Russian traveler's behavior evolution
A selection of Saudi Arabia hotels on the promo page

Also, it is worth considering various promotions on travel services. For example, Tinkoff Travel has special pages with discounted destinations. The system automatically shows hotels, tickets, and other services depending on the location selected.


Russian traveler's behavior evolution
Tinkoff Travel's collection of favorable booking conditions for tours, tickets and hotels

Tourism search results in Yandex Russia 2024

According to Yandex, which is a certified partner of RMAA, interest among Russians in Asian destinations increased by 45% in the first half of 2024. The top destinations were China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Russian traveler's behavior evolution

Also, there is still interest in traveling to Latin America and the Caribbean, where the number of searches for these destinations increased by 2%. The key countries here are Cuba (+60% growth in Yandex Russian language search results), Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Russian traveler's behavior evolution

Another 10% increase in requests is for destinations that Russians have a strong affinity for - Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia was also included in this group, with an increase of 11% in queries.

Russian traveler's behavior evolution

What does this indicate about the current state of the market? Given that Russians are known to book travel services directly, they are likely to search for them on a search engine. The search results are influenced by the content of the website. Another possibility is that the user discovers a hotel on a travel service and then searches for the hotel's website through the search engine.


Russian traveler's behavior evolution


It is clear that to increase the number of bookings and be in demand among Russian tourists, it is vital to work with the site, search engine, and, if possible, popular travel services. It would be beneficial to consider additional marketing tools, such as influencer marketing, but this is a topic for a separate discussion, dependent on the specific needs of a travel business.

Brief analytics of the Russian tourist audience

A total of 63% of the population in Russia traveled in 2023. In 2024, 66% of Russians have indicated their intention to travel. At the same time, the average planned travel budget is approximately 90 thousand rubles per person. 

In early 2024, analysts at observed a surge in demand for summer bookings, with an increase of 30% compared to 2023. Moreover, there was a 77% increase in demand for foreign destinations. The planning of summer vacations in advance indicates a shift in tourist demand to align with the existing peculiarities of outbound tourism. A preference is given to visa-free destinations with available direct air service, as well as to those few European countries that continue to issue tourist visas. In 2023, the estimated number of Russian tourists traveling abroad reached 13.34 million.

Russian traveler's behavior evolution

The top 10 countries visited by Russians during the summer months were Abkhazia, Turkey, Georgia, the UAE, Italy, Thailand, Armenia, France, and Kazakhstan. The average cost of a booked night in accommodation facilities abroad is 7,000 rubles. In terms of four-star hotels, early booking demand increased by 65% compared to the previous year. In five-star hotels, the figure was 33%, while in three-star hotels it was 29%. 

Despite market changes, there is a growing interest in outbound tourism. Moreover, it is one of the few areas that will always be relevant. 

RMAA is prepared to assist foreign travel businesses in reaching a solvent Russian audience as potential clients. To contact our manager, please complete the form in the Contacts section

We maintain a close watch on market developments and keep our clients apprised of them. Subscribe to the RMAA newsletter to gain access to valuable resources from the world of modern marketing. 


Russian Tourism Market Report: Trends, Analysis & Statistics 2022

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About the Author

A content lead. Natalia runs marketing projects promotion with different digital tools in the Russian-speaking market. 


Author Natalia Gorenkova

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