The Russian Internet Forum was held in Moscow from 13 to 15 April, covering all aspects of the IT industry in Russia. 

While the country’s economy has been relatively lethargic over the past few years, Russians are still traveling. In fact, according to Phocuswright’s 2015 Russia Consumer Travel Report, 75% of Russians with internet access purchased at least one trip for leisure during the past year. That makes for a market of 49 million Russians that book travel online, making it larger than any other European market. When considering the always-connected Millennial demographic, more than half of Russians at this age enjoy three or more trips each year.

Overall, that shakes out to an average of $3,099 spent each year on travel. With 49 million online travelers, that suggests an immediately addressable market of over $150 billion.

So what can travel suppliers do to target this group of fervent travelers?

This was the question posed at the annual Russian Internet Forum, which was held in Moscow from 13 to 15 April. The event brings together professionals from across the Russian IT sector to share experiences and best practices to grow the Russian IT industry. Developers must clearly understand the needs of a new generation of customers, and how global trends impact local traveler expectations.

During the forum, George Baliouskas, Director Online Key Accounts SE Europe, shared his knowledge on the technologies transforming travel today. In his presentation, Baliouskas emphasized just how digital the world has become. This digitization creates opportunities for growth, as well as potential pitfalls for companies that don’t build solutions targeted to the next generation’s behavior.

“Today the development and introduction of new technologies is faster than ever before. On average there are 1 million new smartphone users a day. That’s 3x the number of babies born! This opens up enormous opportunities. In the race for consumers, only those players who can offer technology to meet the needs of a new generation of customers will win.”

The three success factors

The new generation of consumers have never known a world without Internet. They now enjoy constant access to more content and services than any other generation before. Based on these new consumption habits, technologies have emerged to leverage this always-on behavior: iBeacons, seamless synchronization across devices, IoT and wearable technologies.

“The key success factors of any technology among the new generation can be described in three words: simple, fast, accessible. Today’s consumers require a single tool that can be accessed from any device.”

While working on the creation of new services and applications, developers should focus on the needs of the end users rather than just the code or technical specifications. This ensures that the user comes first and that the product is being built to solve a real challenge that the user has.

To stay nimble, developers can use open platforms, which contain the necessary tools, code samples and test environment (a.k.a. the “sandbox”). This allows for the required speed and simplicity that moves emerging ideas forward, as well as ensuring the accessibility needed to build and iterate new products.

“In 2014 we launched the industry’s first open platform Sabre Dev Studio, which gives access to over 150 APIs to create innovative travel services and applications. The APIs allow online agencies, startups, metasearch and social networks to answer clients’ questions such as ‘Where can I go for $500 in summer?’ and then build around those interactions.”

An understanding of global trends, current and future needs of customers and the constant search for new solutions designed to change the lives of millions of people – this is what differentiate the leaders of IT-business today. This ability to analyze, predict and act on the future is one of the key success factors uniting Sabre, Facebook, Google, Instagram and other companies striving to develop technologies within frameworks of emerging consumer behavior.

Enjoy George’s full presentation below, with video.