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Abundance of information will empower travellers in the Gulf region

Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont

Head of Commercial Strategy and Business Management, MENA, Amadeus IT Group

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are experiencing changes in the travel landscape brought on by the ‘population effect’, the ‘beyond oil effect’, the ‘infrastructure effect’, and the ‘gateway effect’. The last of the five big effects we’ve identified in our landmark report Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council is the ‘information effect’.

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Emulating the global pattern, there is an increase in the use of smartphones by leisure and business travellers to independently plan and visualise their itineraries, search and book for products and services as well as seek directions and translation services; all while on the move. Smartphone penetration in the GCC is among the highest in the world with smart mobile device sales exceeding desktop and laptop sales for the first time in history in the UAE and the KSA. Our research shows that almost half of all leisure travellers in the KSA (42 per cent) and Kuwait (41 per cent) plan their travels using smartphones.

Improving personal travel experiences on the go

The advantages of readily available and sharable information enrich the travel experience and, simultaneously, raise and widen customer expectations to include morepersonalised experiences and services. In addition to the freedom of choice and action, social media platforms enable travellers to actively update family and friends, share experiences, provide reviews, and influence each other’s decisions.

As a result, customer expectations in the Gulf aviation and travel industry have never been higher. With greater dependency on their mobile devices for visualising, researching, booking, experiencing, and sharing their trips, leisure and business travellers increasingly desire personalised experiences and customised services.

All these changes will require content and travel providers, who are currently at a nascent stage of harnessing the power of technology, to step up and take advantage of new opportunities. Arabic content, robustness of online payment systems, integration of multiple payment gateways, seamless border control, remote hotel check-in, and online restaurant reservations are essential for the end-to end virtual and real experience of the traveller.

Have a look at this infographic for more about the ‘information effect’ and download our report Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council for additional insights on all of the big five effects.

 

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Tags

Middle East, Mobile, Research