Russia’s only purely online bank, Tinkoff Bank, has launched an own-branded online travel agency. The offer includes air and railway tickets, packaged tours, hotels and car rentals, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).
Since April 2018, the bank has put around $2mn into developing this travel service platform, the press service told us. However, the platform worked so far “as a white-label technology” to commercialize air tickets. From now on these services will be made available to all under the brand ‘Tinkoff Travel.’
Tinkoff Travel has partnered with several global distribution systems (GDSs) to bypass middlemen and sell air tickets directly to customers. Major aggregators such as Aviasales.ru now feature the offers. “More will follow,” says the bank.
Answering a question on Tinkoff Travel’s competitive advantages, the bank’s press service told us: “Tinkoff Travel is unique because, in addition to attractive prices, it offers an up to 5% cashback for all purchases within the Tinkoff ecosystem, and up to 10% on hotel bookings and car rentals.”
Aiming at high customer service standards another focus is the customer service: “The standards of Tinkoff Travel’s technical support have been set at the same superior level as those of the bank. These have been fine-tuned based on an experience, which has involved 8.5mn customers.” Under plans, the service will integrate the in-house voice assistant ‘Oleg,’, which is already available in the Tinkoff mobile app. Oleg will assist users in choosing and booking the best tickets and tourist packages.
Tinkoff claims to be the first Russian bank to launch an online travel agency with such public access. However, Tinkoff Travel operates on a very competitive market. Among Russia’s main OTAs are Biletix, Tutu, Kupibilet, OneTwoTrip and Ozon.Travel.
“We plan to capture 10% of the online market for air tickets,” Tinkoff Bank told EWDN.
OTAs are expected to generate more than RUB1 trillion ($15bn) in sales this year in Russia. In 2017, air tickets accounted for 49% of total online sales of travel and touristic services, according to Data Insight.