Recent research conducted by Sabre Corporation revealed that 59 per cent of Middle Eastern adults would pay between $101-$500 on extras that personalise their travel journeys.
The report also provided insight into the main points, trends and opportunities for the Middle Eastern travel industry.
The research highlighted a significant retail opportunity for travel providers of the 3,090 people surveyed, whereby 52 per cent of travellers would be prepared to spend between $101-$500 on top of the basic costs for a customised experience if they were to purchase flight or hotel accommodation abroad. For airlines, this is significantly higher than the current $21 per passenger spend on ancillaries.
Consumer expectations and shopping behaviours are becoming more sophisticated, driven by a high level of technology and personalised experiences. The travel industry is no different, and personalisation is becoming a demand rather than an expectation. Sabre’s research showed that 43 per cent of the Middle Eastern adults want personalised travel offerings and services around their needs, expectations and previous experiences.
When thinking about what this personalisation looks like, the majority (40 per cent) of those surveyed wanted recommendations based on their budget, whilst 30 per cent 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 five years.
“To align with today’s travellers, airlines, hotels, travel agencies and even corporate buyers must think and behave like true retailers,” vice president EMEA, Sabre Corporation, Salman Syed declared. “They need to analyse consumer behaviour and market data to better target future offers and fulfil as many travellers’ needs as possible. By using intelligent retailing to provide what travellers 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.”
Sabre’s report showed a significant opportunity within the online travel space in the Middle East, as 48 per cent 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 purchase, 35 per cent citied reasons such as insecurity around online payments and a lack of trust in online pricing (29 per cent).
Syed further noted: “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.”
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.