Middle East millennials' travel demands transforming industry, Says Travelport
Leading travel commerce platform Travelport says Middle Eastern travel industry players are leveraging technology to meet the needs of millennials - estimated to become the region's largest workforce segment by 2030 and who tend to be higher travel spenders than their global peers.
The company says that with millennials accounting for a quarter of the GCC population, the region’s travel industry is already feeling the clout of their spending power and it estimates that millennials in the UAE will generate $40,000 average annual gross income by 2019 with almost half of them booking travel through mobile devices.
Travelport says travel apps have become the millennials’ preferred method of interacting with brands, almost 1/3 more than past generations with mobile applications becoming platforms for personalised offers.
Rabih Saab, Travelport’s president and managing director for Europe, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, says: “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% 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-traveller feels truly engaged and supported. Brands will thrive or decline depending on the experiences delivered to travellers and how relevant and personalized these experiences are.”
Travelport says that for airlines, the key can be the travel behaviour already known to the carrier through past purchases tied to the user’s booking account. In the Middle East, the company points to airlines, such as Etihad, which have launched successful travel apps to deliver innovative digital solutions to improve the travel experience. It also points to low cost carriers which are expanding into the Gulf and which are also delivering strong mobile retailing options.
“Research indicates low cost carriers have high growth opportunities in the Middle East,” says Travelport. “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 travellers in the region.”