The insightful and engaging WTM Vision Conference –Moscow heard yesterday (Wednesday 9 April ) how consumers in the Russian market are not as mobile savvy when it comes to making travel bookings on their mobile devices compared to Europe and the US.
Mobile, social media and technology were the key themes on the day with a number of expert speakers debating trends within the Russian market.
Vitalij Vladykin, Senior Research Analyst at Euromonitor International explained “Russia has the largest market in Europe in terms of internet users and mobile subscriptions, and mobile phone penetration increased to reach 98% of households in 2012.”
However, Alexey Vengin, CEO for Russian online Travel Technology portal Profi.Travel explained “Currently Russia is considered to be behind Europe and the US when it comes to booking travel online. In Europe and the US 50% of travel bookings are made online.”
Fears with security and consumer confidence are still discouraging consumers to make travel bookings online and via mobile in Russia. “Only 9% of Russians book their travel through mobile devices” Angelina Yakovlev, Director of Marketing for Universal UFS-financial system commented.
“Mutli device search is growing increasingly popular, 43% of people will switch devices during the search and purchase process. Users will generally use a combination of mobile, tablet and desktop” Yakovlev added.
Valentin Dombrowski, Vice President for Innovations at Excursiopedia.com, discussed the development of online travel. “In Russia many online tour operators use the digital platform to provide information, prices and content for the consumer but still bookings are made offline.”
Founder of Digital Tourism Think Tank Nick Hall, discussed the Best practices in Today’s digital landscape focusing on Russia. “Russia is seeing a boom in digital but they are lagging behind in e-commerce.”
Hall added “Russia is a highly connected population which presents a great opportunity for anyone selling travel online”.
Hall also went on to suggest some top tips for encouraging sales through digital. “Interface design and appearance is crucial – simplicity and focus is the key to create a strong user experience for inexperienced users.”
The panel of expert speakers in the last session of the day were all in agreement when suggesting mobile sales will definitely grow over the next five years. Vitalij Vladykin, Senior Research Analyst at Euromonitor International predicts “30% of all online sales will be made by a mobile device by 2018”.
World Travel Market, Conference and Seminar Manager, Charlotte Sutton, who opened the event, said: “It’s obvious that the Russian market is slowly developing their online and mobile travel offering, and there is a confidence that this will grow over time.”
After listening to the great line-up of speakers there appears to be a number of challenges tour operators and travel agencies face during the move to digital. In order to progress operators and agencies must first gain the trust and educate the traveller in online booking.”
WTM Vision – Moscow was the first in the 2014 series of six WTM Vision conferences.
Organised in association with Tour Business and Profi.Travel, the half day conference took place on Wednesday 9 April at the Golden Ring Hotel, Moscow.
All conference delegates received a free copy of the exclusive Euromonitor International Report (worth £1,000).
The Sao Paulo event takes place on 25 April, followed by Dubai and Shanghai on 6 and 8 May respectively. WTM Vision – Rimini takes place on 9 October.
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About World Travel Market
World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.
WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.
WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.
In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.
Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.