TRAVEL & TOURISM

Mideast’s millennials are driving demand for personalization in travel industry

A traveler uses a smartphone to capture a themed interactive digital display at an airport. (Shutterstock)

With travel and tourism investment in the Middle East set to continue to rise by over 7 percent in 2017 and digital consumption in the UAE and Saudi Arabia expected to reach high levels of personalization by 2021, innovation in travel tech is supporting the industry’s growth through connecting travelers to more travel choices.

“With today’s youngest working segment - the millennial generation - estimated to become the largest workforce segment by 2030, travel industry players in the Middle East are leveraging technology to meet the needs of millennials who tend to be higher spenders than their global peers with regards to travel,” says Rabih Saab, Travelport’s President & Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Rabih Saab, Travelport’s President & Managing Director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia. (Supplied)



Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform participating at the 2017 Arabian Travel Market (ATM) from April 24-27, will be highlighting at the event how travel tech is allowing airlines and travel agents to meet Middle East travelers’ demands, and grow their businesses, by providing a more personalized travel experience with more relevant choices to all the region’s travelers.

Travelport is leading the way, when it comes to technology and app building for companies such as Etihad and now low-cost airlines such as Indigo, which are making inroads into the market for millennials, people who can’t quite afford or don’t want to pay for higher cost airlines.

Interacting with brands 

In the GCC, millennials account for a quarter of the population and they have grown up surrounded by and adapting to technology. The region’s travel industry is feeling the clout of their spending power already and it is estimated that millennials in the UAE will generate $40,000 average annual gross income by 2019 with almost half of them book travel through mobile devices.



According to Saab, “Travel apps have become the millennials preferred method of interacting with brands, almost one-third more than past generations. Mobile applications are great platforms to create personalized offers. For airlines, the key can be the travel behavior already known to the airline through past purchases tied to the user’s booking account.” 

Innovative digital travel solution 

In the Middle East, leading airlines such as Etihad have launched successful travel apps which deliver innovative digital travel solutions for their travelers, improving the travel experience.

Low cost carriers strengthening expansions in the Gulf such as India’s largest airline, IndiGo, also provide strong mobile retailing examples. Research indicates low-cost carriers have high growth opportunities in the Middle East.

With rising business and tourism stemming from the Gulf, carriers such as IndiGo have recently launched new routes in the UAE and have been key adaptors of innovative technology to reach new travelers in the region.

Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo, concurs with this view, and says his airline has been a key adaptor of innovative technology to reach new travelers in the region.

According to Saab , “Travel tech is an exciting place to be right now. We are increasingly living in an experiential world. Mobile penetration in the Middle East is astronomical, across the GCC almost 80 percent of the population are mobile subscribers. Smart travel brands will continue to look at how mobile can help bridge the gap between generic experiences and ones where the end-traveler feels truly engaged and supported. Brands will thrive or decline depending on the experiences delivered to travelers and how relevant and personalized these experiences are.”

He says smart travel brands will continue to look at how mobile can help bridge the gap between generic experiences and ones where the end-traveler feels truly engaged and supported.

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Last Update: Thursday, 20 April 2017 KSA 20:07 - GMT 17:07
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