Technology is redefining the travel industry in the MENA region
The potential for growth in the Middle East is enormous. It has many citizens who have enough income and time to be able to book great adventures and business trips. Travel agents are leveraging technological advancements that allow them to take care of all their travel needs and requirements.
Travel agents wanting to set up online agencies have the opportunity to seize it and start attracting a lot of business. Younger generations are among the drivers of this new growth potential, they are much more technically minded than their predecessors.
The expected huge increase in internet bookings is fueled by younger travelers who make up about 60% of the total population in the region, half of whom are under 25 years old and buy more tablets and smartphones than other generations and use social media to get their information.
Recently published data stated that the money invested in IT systems at airports will be offset by the savings in fuel cost over the next 15 years with the use of the Internet of Things. The vanguard of technological innovation, where companies invest huge amounts of money to improve the customer journey and experience.
The data also indicated that the Middle East region has the lowest online penetration rate in the world, while another study indicated that the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to witness rapid growth in the online travel market.
The report reveals that the region is particularly receiving growth in the online travel sector, with an expected increase of 14% year-on-year, which will make the MENA region the second fastest growing online travel market in the world, the study highlights that by 2022 it will be 44% of all activities are conducted online compared to 33% in 2018.
The impact of technology on travel and tourism in the Middle East
Mobile devices, tablets and computers are used frequently in the Middle East for every aspect of trip planning from browsing to booking to post-travel assessments. Increasing technological intelligence is having a strong influence on the travel landscape, already creating a more connected and personal experience.
Online bookings are very popular in the Middle East and are gaining popularity every year, and most forecasts are that this trend will rise by 5% year on year, however, finding ways to convert flights into complete packages is one of the ways a business travel expert can He is of the greatest assistance, especially when helping his client find a hotel room, and facilitating payment for the flight is another key trick to making every booking a success.
Digital intelligence and youth fuel online travel and tourism
With the extensive use of the Internet across online and mobile platforms at all stages of the travel experience, companies operating in the travel and tourism industry are adapting marketing strategies in order to maximize their visibility and maintain a competitive advantage. Moreover, there is a clear shift in booking patterns. To mobile devices and tablets via online sites such as flight booking and others.
It is believed that among travelers in the Middle East who plan their trips online, more than 50% of them use a smartphone for travel-related activities, and more than 70% of them use tablets or smartphones to plan their trip. In addition, European data estimates that 70% of travelers from the UAE and 50% of travelers from Saudi Arabia can access online services via their smartphones, providing travel companies with great marketing opportunities to interact with potential customers.
The potential of the mobile internet is expected to increase with the growth of the younger and smarter digital population in the region, and the strong growth of mobile platforms is likely to play an important role in the business strategies of travel and tourism companies across the region.
Young people make up about 60% of the population in the Middle East, more than 50% of them are under the age of 25, this age group is usually technologically savvy and is the most powerful consumer of smartphones and iPads, this youth demographic represents strong potential for the travel market in the forecast period .
Economically, the Middle East will have approximately 81 million people traveling abroad by 2030, and these travelers will have additional income that can be spent in the regions they travel to, many of these trips are transferred to other countries in the Middle East such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi .
Smartphones and social media are affecting travelers in the Middle East
The Internet plays a major role in the decision-making process for both leisure and business travelers in the Middle East, among travelers who use an online platform to plan their trips, more than 50% use a mobile phone to make their travel decisions.
Travel in the Middle East has a great opportunity to interact with customers using the mobile platform and convert these mobile travelers into bookings. In fact, online bookings made through Smartphones represent a strong opportunity for the travel industry, and last minute bookings are high in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia for both leisure and business travelers.
Recent data indicates that mobile data traffic in the MENA region is growing faster than any other part of the world in recent times. With the proliferation of Smartphones and tablets, it is believed that more consumers in the Middle East are using the Internet as their primary booking platform. Young people represent about 60% of the population of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and enjoy a strong and updated connection with regard to digital development and social media, especially since the Gulf countries are at the forefront of social media in terms of their activity, with more than 90% (56 million) of the users of the Sharq region Middle East and North Africa on Facebook and Twitter.
The travel and tourism industry in the Middle East is expected to become heavily dependent on the online platform to reach new levels of customer awareness and loyalty, and key industry officials are expected to increasingly adapt their strategy not only to facilitate the search and purchase of travel, but also to improve the online experience Providing a wide range of services to clients.
Major airlines, hotel and travel retail groups in the Middle East are expected to channel more than half of their marketing budget into technology that enhances and simplifies the online experience, relying on Smartphone apps and social media to drive bookings.