Travelport is gearing up for a push into the business travel market in Eastern Europe after experiencing good growth in region’s leisure sector.
The distribution giant, which has established three local language hubs in the region – Moscow, Budapest and Warsaw, says the Russian market alone saw 22% growth last year and is already experiencing more than 30% this year driven by the online travel agency sector.
Marcin Pilarski, Travelport’s Eastern Europe boss for just over a year, says growth in the leisure sector is fueling demand in the corporate world.
“Currently adoption rates are very low. They don’t use self-booking tools. What is happening is that business travellers, travelling for leisure, are getting used to doing every instantly and seeking tools for business travel. This is an area where we’re looking to invest.”
Pilarski hinted at the release of corporate travel solutions to meet local language and technical requirements.
He also sees opportunity for further leisure growth with OTAs established more than five years ago now looking to extend beyond home markets with Brazil and Asia in their sights.
Consolidation is on the cards with existing players positioning themselves for acquisition and the market ripe for the entrance of a large US player.
Travelport worked with PhocusWright to produce research on Russia and Eastern Europe demonstrating recent growth with total travel sales up 11% in the region to $81.5b and online sales up by a third to $13.1b.
Further findings include:
- Russian total travel sales hit $48.6b in 2011 (+14%) and projected to reach $57.9b in 2013 with 18% coming from online
- Poland total travel sales were $4b (+12%) and expected to reach $4.6b in 2013 with 36% from online
- Ukraine total travel sales hit $3b (+3.5%) and projected to reach $3.4b in 2012 with 32% from online