Google Travel turned off Russia advertisers, but is still getting a limited amount of advertising for Russia travel from ad partners outside Russia. In contrast, Skyscanner and Kayak don't display any information about Russia travel.
While Kayak and Tripadvisor have stopped selling advertising for Russia hotels, Google and Trivago are still doing some business there, although in muted form.
A Skift search of Google.com for Moscow hotels March 15-17 found none of the usual ads above the free listings. However, if you clicked a free link on Google for the Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel and Business Center in Moscow, then Google Travel displays a “great deal” for $25, which is “26 percent less than usual,” and there’s a link to the official hotel website, as well as an advertisement from ZenHotels.
[Update: Google has closed down all advertising from Russia advertisers in Russia regardless of industry. However, Google Travel is still showing some advertising for hotels in Russia, for example, from advertisers outside of Russia. Also, Trivago has closed down Trivago.ru but services some Russia travel on Trivago.com.]
To be sure, the number of hotel ads in Google Travel’s metasearch auction are greatly diminished compared with the time period before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Google is also showing an advertisement for a nearby hotel from Booking.com, which said it shuttered commerce in Russia and Belarus, as well as from Trivago. Trivago is controlled by Expedia Group, which was among the first online travel players, if not the first, to close operations in Russia.
To book the Hampton by Hilton Moscow Strogino, Trivago was showing advertisements from Lol.travel and Travel Up. As with Google, the number of ads was a fraction of what it usually was before the Russia invasion of Ukraine, but Trivago was still doing business there while others have shut off Russia and Belarus.
Trivago did announce that it was shutting its Russia website, Trivago.ru, however, Trivago.com is still offering Russia hotels.
In addition, Trivago declined to comment Friday on its sponsorship of the Chelsea Football Club even though its owner Roman Abramovich was tagged by the UK government with financial sanctions and the club is subject to an asset freeze.
The biggest metasearch blackouts of Russia we found were at Booking Holdings’ Kayak and Trip.com Group’s Skyscanner, both of which was offering no information about Moscow hotels, including no advertising or bookings.
After searching Kayak for Moscow hotels, Kayak says: “For regulatory reasons we are unable to display accommodations for this location.”
On Skyscanner, the message users see when searching for Russia hotels, for example, is: “In the context of recent international sanctions, we are currently unable to display travel content in Russia but are monitoring the situation closely and will resume operating when we are able to. We sincerely hope that a peaceful end can be brought to this situation soon.”
After blocking experiences and vacation rentals bookings in Russia several days ago, Tripadvisor stopped accepting most metasearch advertising in Russia, but was still displaying hotel information. However, as part of its hotel business listings, users could still click a link to a partner website such as China’s Trip.com and book a hotel.
Tripadvisor argues that its mission is to provide business information, and that’s why it hasn’t shut the information spigot, as Kayak has done. In addition, Tripadvisor’s Russia forums can be a means for people to communicate about what’s happening in Ukraine as official Russia media is full of misinformation.
Note: This story has been updated with new information about Google, Skyscanner and Trivago’s approach to Russia travel.
Photo credit: The Four Seasons Hotel Moscow. Google continues to sell ads in Russia despite its Ukraine invasion. Four Seasons