We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Regional Marketing Manager Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus IT Group
Adults who travel frequently, are tech-savvy, and are substantial Internet and social media users are poised to be the heavy travel consumers of the future. But how can the travel industry enrich the experiences of this digitally native generation?
That’s the question we sought to explore at our recent panel discussion in Dubai – entitled ‘Trending with NextGen Travelers’, which brought together some of the region’s top travel players to discuss this incredibly empowered traveller type. Building off the Amadeus NextGen research report – the event aimed to focus not on the technology itself – but rather where it can and will make the most difference.
Moderated by Duncan Alexander, Head of Pacific Asia Travel Association, West Asia, the panelists included, our very own Antoine Medawar; Alana Witte, Director, Middle East and Africa, Revinate.com; Ali Draycott, Director, YouGov; Mohamed Al Rais, Deputy Managing Director, Al Rais Holidays; and Abdullah bin Omeir, Deputy CEO, Omeir Travel.
Antoine Medawar, Vice-President, Amadeus MENA, remarked;
“Being the NextGen traveler is not as much about age as it about a state of mind. Next generation travelers are digital natives – smart consumers who are extremely internet and social media savvy, and perpetually in search of unique experiences. Over the past few years, the industry has witnessed a shift in traveller behaviour from tourist to explorer - the young traveller is seeking a complete and enriching social experience; they want authenticity, inspiration, transparency in pricing, exclusivity and differentiation, coupled with 24/7 support and connectivity.”
Discussing business travellers versus leisure travellers, Alana Witte of Revinate.com said: “The lines are blurred nowadays. The NextGen traveller seeks new experiences even while doing business, effectively combining both. They are quite egoistical in their requirements, so it is best to listen to customers even before they make their booking.”
The discussion also touched upon crucial subjects including the impact of visa and other restrictions on travel in the Middle East, as well as the emerging Asia travel market sector, with China as a huge contender.
The event concluded with the clear notion that NextGens want products, services, experiences and information that deliver “something different” and does not duplicate what they already have or know. They want personalized content specifically tailored to them, not intended for mass consumption. They also want to be connected throughout their journeys and they are increasingly becoming conscious of the importance of sustainable travel when it comes to choosing providers.