The Amadeus Fly by Digital Summit recently held in Dubai, UAE, featured worldwide best practices to streamline the travel experience in the Middle East and North Africa. Keynote speakers from companies such as Google, PayFort, Musafir, Careem, Souqalmal.com and Amadeus, shed light on the way forward so that travel players can take their online presence to the next level.
The travel sector needs be prepared for the Arab traveller of tomorrow, born and raised in the Internet era. They are technology-savvy and expecting different approaches across devices. The industry has an opportunity here to shape and define the future of travel over the coming decade.
Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Middle East and North Africa at Amadeus, showed the golden opportunity ahead. He highlighted the vigour of the online arena as per the results from an upcoming Phocuswright report, co-sponsored by Amadeus, on online travel in the Middle East.
According to this study, which will be released in the coming weeks, total gross bookings in the Middle East for air, hotel, car and tour services represented US $74 billion last year, with an estimated annual growth rate of 8% between now and 2020. Out of this total, 29% were online travel bookings. These bookings are forecasted to reach more than 40% by 2021 as digital retail grows.
Digital transformation was the buzz word at Fly by Digital. Participants were looking at new dimensions in technology and some of them referred to data as “digital gold”. The region’s travel sector became aware that building a digital shopping experience can benefit from the best practices of the physical retail world. The right location, the perfect offer, and a consistent conversion of potential travellers into final passengers are all key factors.
The latest technologies and how to inspire travellers are priceless tools for the region’s online travel industry to sustain its promising growth. Graham Nichols, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf, is behind the Amadeus Fly By Digital Summit. He explained how digitalisation is the way forward.
Innovation is the key to securing further development in the Middle East’s travel sector, which should move away from cut and paste formulas. Albert Dias, CTO at Musafir.com, one of the leading Online Travel Agencies in the region, explained the challenges ahead.