E-Travel 2013: What’s New?

Pavel Gurwitz, 28.11.2013 17:33
Просмотров: 4627
The leaders of online travel business gathered in the Moscow ‘Aerostar’ hotel on November 14-15 for the annual conference E-Travel, with Travel Russian News magazine as the media sponsor. Representatives of more than 30 companies from Russia, Denmark, India and the UK presented reports and took part in panel discussions on the most urgent and relevant topics.

Figures, facts, trends…

The first section, entitled ‘E-Travel: Figures, facts, trends’, launched with a keynote presentation by Kevin Clapson, the senior manager at the international company TripAdvisor that works with Europe, Middle East and Africa. He spoke about the prevailing trends using the example of a massive international travel service Tripadvisor.com.

Next two reports were devoted to sector statistics. According to Boris Ovchinnikov, an expert from the Data Insight research agency, in 2012 the online travel market value in Russia amounted to $170 billion, more than 70% of which came from the sales of air tickets.
In addition to that, there has been a continuing rise in the market value – about 40-50% per annum, and this year it is going to reach 240 billion rubles.

Also, this year two billionaire newcomers appeared in the segment of online sales – Aeroflot and RZhD (Russian Railways). According to the research agency, it is these companies that will be able to exceed the threshold of $1 billion for online sales on their sites in 2013.

Leonid Pustov, an expert from the Rutramarin analytical agency, also shared some figures that characterize the market. He presented the company’s research tool – Travel Panel. This software package compares data provided by the top players in the E-travel market and then outputs aggregated market figures. According to a Rutramarin study, the current leaders of the air ticket online booking market are OneTwoTrip and AnywayAnyday, which together control approximately 30% of the market.

Then the experts from the German company Berlogic told the Forum participants about a new format – OTDS. It is a universal data format for the online booking of travel services, which in the future can become the principal format for the E-Travel data exchange. To a greater or lesser extent this format is used by the most prominent market players – Amadeus, Sabre, Deutsche Bahn and others.

After a presentation by the general manager of the Excursopedia company Kirill Sermyagin, Sergei Faguet, a founder of the largest Russian hotel booking service Ostrovok.ru, took the stage with a concise and expressive report on the trends for the online hotel booking market. According to him, the Russian market value for foreign hotel-booking is $1.2 billion, and the figures for the hotels booked in the CIS are roughly the same. However, only 3% of this market is taken up by the online booking.

Mikhail Sokolov, the CEO of OneTwoTrip, spoke on this year’s achievements of the leading online travel agency. For instance, just two weeks before the Forum the company launched an online hotel booking service. But OneTwoTrip does not just let a client book a hotel, it also employs a meta-search principle, whereas the booking prices of the main hotel providers are compared and the client is offered a better price.

Mr. Sokolov also said that this year OneTwoTrip has introduced cross-sale of insurance for flight reservations. This topic was also touched upon by many other participants of the conference, and one of the sponsors of the Forum was AlfaStrakhovanie Group.

Dmitry Migachev, the CEO of an insurance company for online partnership sales, said that no longer than a couple of years ago there were only a few OTAs (online travel agencies) in Russia which sold insurance online. Now, two years later, more than 30 largest travel websites in Russia offer this service. For instance, AlfaStrakhovanie Group is collaborating with Ozon.Travel, Aviakassa.ru and Biletix.ru.

An idea!

The second day of the conference, and hence the second section, were devoted to start-ups in the field of E-travel.

Among the speakers were Alexander Kim, head of Sputnik8, RangeUp CEO Sergei Zadiraka and Tripster CEO Aleksey Melchakov.

They presented their innovations in the tours&activities segments to the audience. This field takes up more than 1/5 of the whole travel market, yet the Internet’s role in its functioning is close to nil.

Later there was a massive panel discussion on dynamic packaging, a segment new to the Russian online travel market.

Yevgeniya Belenkaya, chief business development officer of the Expedia company in Russia and the CIS, was a special guest at the discussion, where she presented one of the latest E-travel trends – booking a hotel and an air ticket in one package. According to Yevgeniya, more than half of Expedia’s partner hotels and a significant portion of airlines have special rates which, while being lower than market prices, are only accessible through simultaneous booking of a hotel and an air ticket.

The client is only shown the total price of the package and not the price of the individual services. Prospects for dynamic packaging were also discussed by Leonid Pustov (Rutramarin), Konstantin Nesterenko (Transaero), Olga Chernyaevskaya (Air Berlin), Andrei Chudakov (Agent.ru) and Inna Beltyukova.

The last section of the conference was devoted to the presentations from Ostrovok, Travelline, Hotellook, Wubook and Workle.

Alexander Galochkin, the CEO of Travelline, and Valentin Viklyaev, the general manager of Wubook, devoted their presentations to the new products for the Russian travel business. Both projects are channel managers, never before used in Russia. Channel manager is specialized software for hotels, with the help of which hotel owners can simultaneously upload their quotas and prices to hundreds of OTAs, thus significantly increasing sales.

Yuri Vyushin of HotelLook spoke about a new meta search engine from the developers of Aviasales.

Zahar Korneev of Ostrovok talked about the partner programs of the travel service, which include links, banners, embedded modules and white label products. Aleksey Fomin, the head of the Workle travel department, was the last to speak during this section.

Finally we should mention that JSC ‘Alfa-Bank’ was the Gold Partner of the conference, while ‘Amadeus Global Distribution System’ was the Silver Partner. As has already been said before, ‘AlfaStrakhovanie Group’ acted as one of the sponsors of the conference.
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