New online research by Sabre Corporation, the leading global travel technology provider, has revealed that 59% percent of Middle Eastern adults would pay between $101 – $500 on extras that personalize their travel journeys. middle east travel
The report also provided insight into the pain points, trends and opportunities for the Middle Eastern travel industry.
The ancillary retail opportunity middle east travel
The research highlighted a significant retail opportunity for travel providers of the 3,090 people surveyed, where 52% would be prepared to spend between $101 – $500 on top of the basic costs for a customized experience if they were to purchase a flight or hotel accommodation abroad. For airlines, this is significantly higher than the current $21 per passenger spent on ancillaries (CarTrawler 2018 – based on IATA data).
‘To align with today’s travelers, airlines, hotels, travel agencies and even corporate buyers must think and behave like true retailers,’ said Salman Syed, vice president of EMEA at Sabre. ‘They need to analyze consumer behavior and market data to better target future offers and fulfill as many traveler’s needs as possible. By using intelligent retailing to provide what travelers want, anywhere, anytime on the device they wish, travel providers can tap into this huge ancillary opportunity, driving increased revenue and improving customer experience to increase loyalty.’
Demand for personalization
Consumer expectations and shopping behaviors are becoming more sophisticated, driven by a high level of technology and personalized experiences. The travel industry is no different, and personalization is becoming a demand rather than an expectation. Sabre’s research showed that 43% of Middle Eastern adults want personalized travel offerings and services tailored to their needs, expectations, and previous experiences.
When thinking about what this personalization looks like, the majority (40%) of those surveyed wanted recommendations based on their budget, while 30% wanted suggestions of holiday extras that would be of genuine interest to them when asked what they would want airlines to do for them in the next 5 years.
In addition to providing a tailormade experience for travelers, the research showed additional benefits of personalization for travel providers. 40% surveyed said that they would be more loyal to an airline or a hotel in return for a personalized service, while 27% would also be willing to share personal data (date of birth, social media friend list) for this. This highlights a need for travel providers to invest in data-harnessing technology to help understand each traveler’s individual needs, offering each person a customized experience in the right context at the right time.
Mobile and online travel middle east travel
Sabre’s report showed a significant opportunity within the online travel space in the Middle East, as 48% of those surveyed would look online for travel inspiration for flights or hotels, which may also be to validate pricing. However, when it came to purchases, 35% cited reasons such as insecurity around online payments and a lack of trust in online pricing (29%).
‘This suggests that there is a great opportunity for mobile and online travel if suppliers can deploy the right technology and security measures and thereby increase trust amongst customers,’ continued Syed. ‘Retailers need to be where travelers are—online and mobile—and must adopt a seamless, multi-channel sales strategy.’
The study, which compiled insights from 3090 people online across five countries in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, and Lebanon), was revealed at Sabre Space Jordan, an industry event that brought together experts and leaders from airlines, travel agencies, and government officials from across the Middle East to network and learn about the latest travel and technology trends. middle east travel