Neva Travel was established in 1990 in Saint Petersburg. Two years later, the company opened its branch in Moscow. Soon afterwards, Neva opened offices in nearly all the regions of the Russian Federation and a number of foreign countries. By 2007 its network of 4,000 partner agents covered 180 cities in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries. Neva subsidiaries or representative offices are located in seven western countries. The company employs more than 400 people in Russia. Neva is among the top three Russian tourist companies: in 2006, over 440,000 people became Neva’s customers, and around 350,000 enjoyed tours offered by the company. Neva is one of the founders of the Russian Association of Tour Operators and a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Values of the Brand
Neva’s core competency is operating tours in areas of outbound and inbound tourism, both package and individual tours. The company annually arranges charter flights for over 300,000 tourists to more than 20 countries. Neva also arranges sightseeing tours across Europe by bus and train.
The company offers a wide variety of tours to its customers: cultural, sightseeing, recreational, water tourism, educational, ecological, skiing, and even religious tourism. Among the most popular programs are tours for children and youth, sport hunting and fishing, as well as convention tourism. In short, all countries and destinations are available in Neva’s product line. Individual tours are offered to virtually any place in the world, even places like the Himalayas, where several fans of exotic vacations spent their time through Neva.
Neva is the official tour operator of the Saint Petersburg City Authorities. The company operates its own bus fleet which includes 20 modern, comfortable buses (one-and-a-half and double deck buses) fully equipped for long trips. The company’s customers use the buses to travel to 14 European countries.
Neva travel company orders charter flights from the best Russian airlines. This enables travelers to depart not just from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but also from Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Surgut and Murmansk. Computerized hotel reservation systems are used by all of Neva’s branches and offices. Neva’s corporate website features an online reservation system. As an established travel company, Neva enjoys special rates for hotel room reservations in many hotels worldwide. This enables the company to offer more attractive rates to its customers, while the prepayment option helps prevent hotel room overbooking, which is very typical for many popular travel destinations.
Innovations & Promotion
Since its inception, Neva’s key priorities have been to develop its agency network, expand its product offerings and travel geography. Since 1990, the company has been active in serving foreign tourists. Some of the contributing factors are the company’s direct arrangements with hotels in large Russian cities, its own professional multilingual tour guides, and its own up-to-date car and bus fleet.
Since 2000, Neva has been actively working with corporate customers including many famous Russian companies. Neva is also engaged in VIP tourism.
The company plans to further expand its business through activities related to tourism. They include passenger travel and the hotel industry. For example, Neva owns a hotel on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
The main channels for promoting the Neva brand and recreational destinations offered by the company include advertising on television, radio, mass media and the Internet, outdoor advertising, as well as participation in major international and Russian trade shows.
Many Russians are quite familiar with the company’s advertising slogan: ‘The boss will tell you when to take your vacation. Neva Travel Company will tell you where to go’. Many broadcast listeners enjoy coverage of customs and sights of the countries the company offers to visit. Quite naturally, after such broadcasts people often call Neva to learn tour details.
The company advertises on the Internet as the number of users constantly grows. The company annually publishes route catalogs that contain detailed information about resorts, hotels and tour programs. Neva Travel Company is famous for its charity activities. It sponsors the Aurora futsal team and the Sports Karate Federation. Neva helped finance the Summer Ballet Seasons 2006 (Moscow), the Faces of Summer photography gallery (2006), the Summer 2006 Beauty Contest (Kaliningrad), the All-Russian Beach Volleyball festival (2005), PRO TOUR Russian Open Table Tennis Tournament (2005), the 9th League of Amateurs Football Tournament (2005), and many other sports events.
Economy & Finance
Neva Travel Company is among the top three Russian travel companies, boasting an outbound tourism market share of 10–12%. Compared with 2005, the number of its Russian customers grew by 38% to 440,000; the company’s sales grew by 45% to €260 million per annum.
Neva was one of the first Russian companies to fully compensate its customers due to the 2004 tsunami in South-East Asia.
Achievements & Prospects
After 17 years of the company’s operation its database has information about nearly 2 million customers. In 1998, Neva clubs were set up in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Membership in such clubs is exclusively granted to the customers. Members of the club enjoy special discounts for all tours, gifts and souvenirs, as well as special service. It is estimated that within the clientele around 75–80% are return customers.
Neva’s activities have been highly recognized by the tourism industry. Since 2004 Neva has been given the SuperBrand of the Year award. In 2006, the company was the platinum winner of the international Tourist Industry Leaders prize for its ‘dynamic corporate development’. Neva is a repeat winner of the Crystal Globe all-Russian award. Based on a poll by Readers Digest, the company won the Brand of Trust award three times (2002–2004). From 2003–2006, Neva won the StarTravel.ru award in the ‘Best Russian Company for Domestic Tours’, ‘Best Russian Travel Company Offering Bus Tours’, ‘Best Russian Travel Company Offering Sightseeing Tours’, ‘Best Russian Company Offering Tours in Russia, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Middle East, Asia and Africa’, and ‘Best Travel Company Website’ categories. In 2005, the Russian Consumer Advocacy Fund recognized the company’s ‘contribution to the formation of a civilized consumer market in Russia’.
In January 2007, the company launched its network of sales offices – the Neva-Voyage No. 1 Agency Network.
Along with launching its own agency network, Neva aims to form subsidiary companies to serve its customers abroad, as well as to acquire hotels and aircraft. The company is planning its European IPO.
Things you didn’t know about Neva
Neva’s first office was a 6 È 7 meter room on the second floor of a building on Nevsky Prospekt in Saint Petersburg.
Neva’s first logo was a small Admiralty ship. Initially, Neva’s buses featured the company name written in Cyrillic. Since the company’s first tours were to Finland, the Finns naturally read the company name as if it was written in Latin, and pronounced it accordingly (‘Heba’). Therefore the inscription on the corporate buses was quickly changed to ‘Neva’. The ‘N’ painted in the Russian tricolor became the company’s logo recognizable in Russia and elsewhere in the world.
Neva was the first company in Russia to offer MIG-29 flights to Russian and international tourists.