Insights from Travel Tech Conference Russia

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A few days ago, I had the chance to attend the Travel Tech Conference Russia, in Moscow.

The event, organized together by Travelabs and HQ Agency, gathered a good representation of the movers and shakers in the Russian online travel market, as well as some foreign experts.

In the words of travel tech entrepreneur Valentin Dombrovsky, CEO of Travelabs "the goal is to spur innovation and to serve also as a platform where entrepreneurs and professionals of all spheres of the travel industry can connect with each other. Moscow is also an excellent place to build connections between East and West, not only with the vibrant Russian technology ecosystem, but beyond, into Asian markets".

A couple of highlights that caught my eye:

A presentation by Alexander Trieb, of Travel Audience, an online travel advertising technology that is now part of travel technology giant Amadeus.

Travel Audience is a company that helps advertisers optimize their reach in the travel industry. He showed how, well into the era of Google and Facebook, there is still much that most firms could do to refine their advertising strategy and achieve a much more granular reach through the application of machine learning technologies. By analyzing past and present data, it is possible to classify travelers in hundreds of "segments" and customize advertising in real time.

Jethunter brings executive aviation to OTAs

The other company that I found of much interest is Jethunter, particularly because of the last pivot it has made.

Jethunter started as, yet another B2C executive jet online marketplace, a field that was in full effervescence less than two years ago, but the craze seems, since, to have somehow abated, with some of startups winding down, such as Ubair or Beacon.

Jethunter has managed to move from a pure B2C model to one where it acts as an aggregator and distributor of private jet services for other travel distributors, such as online travel agents (OTAs).

Booking private jets through your regular OTA?

Yes, this is precisely what I found original in their concept.

Let's say you are looking for flights between Riga and Moscow: you get a choice of airlines doing this route and...the option of booking a private jet! 

Let's say you are looking for flights between Riga and Moscow: you get a choice of airlines doing this route and...the option of booking a private jet! 

JetHunter focuses on empty legs, this is, the flights that many private jet operators have to arrange in order to reposition aircraft between two services.

Usually these "empty legs" do not produce any revenue, so there is an incentive for private jet operators to offer very competitive pricing, that, for example, for group travel can on occasions be competitive with regular commercial flights.

JetHunter has just started to offer private jet flights through Aviasales, Russia's top independent online travel agent. 

So, when you search flights for your next holiday, whenever an empty leg on a private jet becomes available, it will be offered alongside the regular airline options.  

Here's another example, from Rostov-on-Don to Vienna. No direct flights on regular airlines, apparently, so you are offered the private jet option - certainly convenient to avoid stopovers!

Here's another example, from Rostov-on-Don to Vienna. No direct flights on regular airlines, apparently, so you are offered the private jet option - certainly convenient to avoid stopovers!

By the way, Jethunter is also going to start distributing private jet empty legs through two other OTAs that can not yet be made public.

One more flavour to the mix, thus: low cost carriers, hybrid airlines, full service airlines and now...the private jet option too! Note that Aviasales specializes in offering good-value, relatively cheap air tickets.

The barriers between different air travel modalities continue to get blurred.