According to the participants of the market of online hotel booking and package tours who spoke at the TRAVEL HUB-2022 forum, the departure of global platforms from Russia brought a multiple increase in bookings of Russian hotels to domestic aggregators. But not only them – travel agents also benefit.
Vasilisa Twitter, a leading specialist in the development of communications with partners at Bnovo, noted that with the departure of Booking from Russia, several Russian online aggregators began to actively replace its market share, which had a beneficial effect on increasing the level of competition and stimulated the entry of new services into the market – travel builders.
This winter season, according to Bnovo, tourists are booking more hotels in Russia than in the winter of 2021. The TOP-3 of the fastest growing online aggregators are Ostrovok.ru, Yandex.Travel, Bronevik.com.
At the same time, tourists have increased the number of direct bookings from hotel websites – they are growing faster than aggregators. Therefore, hotels need to maximize their presence on the Internet, the expert emphasized. Hotels, in addition to having their own website with a booking module, must be present in search engines, on OTA websites, in social networks, maintain a Youtube channel, and on geographic maps on the Internet. In the winter season of 2022, the growth of hotel bookings from maps on the Internet was 30-50% compared to last winter. Booking modules can be inserted on VK pages and Telegram channels.
Director of the b2b direction of the Ostrovok.ru online aggregator Daria Kochetkova confirmed that after the departure of Booking.com and AirBnB from In Russia, the largest share (29.6%) of Russians book hotels directly on property websites.
The remaining two thirds of the market are unevenly distributed among domestic online aggregators. To a large extent, traffic from global booking platforms also flowed to them. Hotels tend to register on Russian platforms: for example, in 2022, 80% more new hotels came to Ostrovok.ru as partners compared to last year.
The departure of Booking.com has sharply strengthened the positions of Russian aggregators in the hotel market of neighboring countries: in January-November 2022, Ostrovok.ru notes a 10-fold increase in sales of accommodation in hotels in the CIS countries compared to the same period in 2021. The peak of such bookings was in September, but in November it remains at the level of May.
Analyzing the trends in tourist search queries in the summer, Ostrovok.ru advises Russian hotels in preparation for the summer season of 2023, in addition to downloading the current prices and offers for 2023 already now, to connect the service, which is very popular among tourists ” Early check-in – late check-out” and offers for children.
General Director of Russian Railways Digital Passenger Solutions Sergey Vislenevalso believes that the departure of “booking” has given great opportunities to Russian services – travel designers. As an example, he cited the decisions of Russian Railways to form a multimodal transportation and create their own travel ecosystem.
“Thanks to the Innovative Mobility platform, now our railway company is already a fairly large seller of bus transportation, cooperating with 5,000 bus companies and an air ticket seller. Not everyone knows that today you can buy an air ticket at the box office of a suburban passenger company, Sergey Vislenev said.
The company is also actively developing its own travel portal with a tour package designer – Travel.rzd. The platform provides not only transportation and hotel reservations, but also about 2.5 thousand options for excursions in Russia. Soon Travel.rzd will introduce technologies for booking group travel and renting passenger cars to business partners, Mr. Vislenev said.
Evgeny Danilovich, managing director of Sletat.ru, explained that the departure of Booking.com from the Russian hotel booking market had a positive effect on sales of tours in Russia – in the organized segment.
According to this online aggregator, in 2019 In 2018, the number of active travel agencies connected to the service was 19,000, which sent 36,000 organized tourists across Russia through Sletat.ru.
With the onset of the pandemic and the closure of a number of popular countries, the number of travel agencies has decreased: by 25% in 2020 and by 47% in 2021. But despite this, the number of tourists sent by travel agencies in Russia increased: 1.3 times in 2020 and 2.1 times in 2021 (compared to 2019).
In 2022, despite the fact that the number of travel agencies connected to the service has slightly increased (by 45% compared to 2019), there is the most significant peak in booking tours in Russia: an increase in the number of tourists on tours in Russia by 3.3 times compared to the pre-Covid period . Evgeny Danilovich attributes this growth primarily to the departure of Booking.com from Russia, which provided up to 90% of bookings for most Russian hotels.
“We see that with the departure of Booking.com from the Russian market, many customers went to travel agencies : the number of domestic tourists from travel agencies remaining on the market increased by an average of 40% for a retail outlet, the efficiency of agencies in selling tours in Russia has sharply increased.
Mr. Danilovich believes that the trend for the influx of domestic tourists to travel agencies will continue in the next two years. The expert believes that during this period, one dominant player, similar to booking in terms of market share and influence, will not be able to appear on the Russian market of online hotel aggregators.
Venera Rovenskaya, Head direction “Big Data in tourism” of the company “MTS Travel”, in her speech drew the attention of the authorities of the regions to the need in the new realities to involve the analytical systems of online aggregators to create digital storefronts of the regions.
“Competent Big Data analytics allows the region to accurately understand the tourist flow, distinguish business travelers from tourists, build accurate forecasts and launch advertising campaigns based on Big Data.” As an example, she cited Tobolsk in the Tyumen region, which has significantly increased its tourist flow, including through the use of analytical digital solutions.
Recall that the key business event in the field of tourism is the St. Petersburg International Tourism Forum TRAVEL HUB -2022 – was held from December 7 to 9 in the Northern capital.
This year, the traditional TRAVEL HUB forum is a conceptually new format that brings together several events under the common theme of sustainable tourism development and its impact on the socio-economic development of the regions and the country in modern conditions.
The forum is organized by the Committee for Tourism Developmentandby the St. Petersburg Convention and Exhibition Bureau supported by Tourism.RF Corporation.