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Europe's eDreams aims to take off in Russia

0 1 July 2014

European online travel agent eDreams is about to enter the Russian market.

The total Russian audience for online travel is estimated at 77 million - the largest number in Europe and also one of the highest of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). According to recent research by Phocuswright Report, the Russian tourism market is valued at $72 billion and makes up around 60% of tourism within Eastern Europe.

In this context, it is unsurprising that the sector is very competitive, with a number of local players battling for market share. However, that has not deterred eDreams’ director of development Pablo de Porsioles:

“We have made significant investments in technology and training so that our service will be more tailored to the Russian market and language. The rate of development of the internet in Russia is around 55% and the quantity of users is rising every year. This makes the Russian internet the fastest growing of all developed countries. In this context access to the Russian market offers both a challenge and a tremendous opportunity.”

But does it really have a chance? 

The Russian e-travel market is growing fast and is already filled with established businesses. Does eDreams have a chance of success when the market is already dominated by companies like Aviasales, SkyScanner and Biletix?

We asked key figures from leading Russian online travel firms for their thoughts. 

Konstantin Kalinov – Founder of Aviasales.ru

"eDreams is a major international player currently almost unknown to Russian consumers. From the point of view of the product, they have everything an advanced user could need; multiple infrastructures and mobile apps. On the other hand they will need to convince the consumer that they are trustworthy as they can be sensitive to unfamiliar names. The output of such a large brand will attest to the maturity of their online travel and global events." 

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Alexander Sizintsev – CEO Biletix

"The majority of the online travel market is already shared between a few strong players. Therefore, new companies will have to work hard to get a foot in the door. There are many examples of other Western players that have tried to get into the Russian market, but were unsuccessful. In the early stages of the Russian market, Western companies usually chose either the strategy of dumping and attracting customers via the lowest prices, or promoting the brand through large-scale online and offline advertising campaigns. eDreams will need a solid and professional team that understands the realities of creating an online travel business in Russia."

Top image via Shutterstock

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