Denmark-based Momondo, a flight and hotel metasearch business, sees a lot of upside in Russia.
After launching a Russian language site in March 2010, Momondo.ru is now the company's third largest market after Scandinavia and the US, and Russia is its fastest-growing market.
Momondo.ru features search results from 11 online travel agencies and searches are split evenly between domestic and international flights. The top airlines searched are Aeroflot, Lufthansa and low cost carriers such as Airberlin and Airbaltic.
And, when considering airlines and online travel agencies, the top three appearing in search results on the Russia site are Ozon.Travel, Bilet-on-line and Biletix.
Martin Lumbye, a Momondo partner, was visiting the US the other day and talking about Russia.
Lumbye says it is essential to have a Russian-language site in the country and to tailor marketing efforts to local culture.
Momondo competes against airlines, OTAs and Skyscanner in Russia, which likewise fields a Russian language site in the country and claims to be the market leader.
When it comes to taking local culture into account, Lumbye says Momondo's marketing efforts and partnerships in Russia are lifestyle-oriented or "much more open-minded" than you might find in other countries.
For example, Momondo has collaborated with the Russian edition of Glamour magazine to host Ginger Splash parties.
"Super-chic Momondo," as parent company Cheapflights puts it, created the drink with an assist from the European Bartender School.
With three contractors, including some marketing people, in Russia, Momondo has also wrangled some air time on MTV in Russia to promote the brand.
The Russia market, of course, has its own characteristics.
Momondo estimates that only about 7% of air tickets in Russia were booked online in 2010.
Of course, Momondo specializes in online air and hotel search and doesn't process bookings itself, but passes leads along to OTAs, airlines and hotels.
Online booking and electronic products require promotion in Russia.
In that regard, the Momondo.ru homepage today has a sizable feature on "What is an electronic ticket (e-ticket)?" and "How to use an electronic ticket."
Meanwhile, it is estimated by various sources that only 13% or perhaps 20% of Russians have passports, Momondo says.
And, in 2011, Momondo cites estimates that the online travel market in Russia should reach 200 billion rubles (about $6.2 billion).
"The competition is not as big in Russia yet as compared with the rest of Europe," Lumbye says.
But, given the opportunities for online travel players in Russia, that may be a temporary phenomenon.