When looking at the impact of digital across various sectors, the travel industry is arguably more digitally mature than others.
The emergence and growth of mobile has had a massive impact, as so many more consumers are relying on smartphones for every aspect related to travel bookings. With travellers increasingly becoming more digital-savvy, it’s essential for travel companies to remain one step ahead at all times and provide them with really fast, easy and multi-functional websites.
Growth in the Middle East
In the Middle East, travel is set for even more growth. I predict that in five years flights will mainly go via the Middle East rather than through Europe, and that it will soon become a hub for global travel.
The Middle East is fast expanding, and is quickly playing catch-up with Europe and the United States, with the major carriers in the region such as Qatar Airways and Emirates driving the speed of adoption. I flew from Hamad International Airport in Doha recently and was amazed at all the advances they are making – they are just constantly building and improving. They already have 7 runways while in the United Kingdom we have been trying for years to get a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport – that in itself speaks volumes.
Importance of Mobile
It's also noticeable that mobile is very important for the Middle East – it is probably an even bigger requirement than in the United Kingdom and other travel markets. Clients from the Middle East that we are partnered with tend to be most interested in our mobile platform.
The rise of mobile booking in the travel and tourism industry will be an important aspect in the future. Our blog has already highlighted this trend through research and statistics that clearly reinforces the fact that people are now booking their travel on a smartphone rather than on a desktop, so it has been essential for us to stay on top of this. I believe that 2016 is probably going to be the first year that most travel companies will focus on ‘mobile-first’ in their strategy.
To keep up with this massive global mobile booking trend, Digital Trip has developed an advanced Mobile Platform that allows customers to have the same features as their desktop site – meaning that they can easily connect to their customers on all devices and catch up with the people who are booking on their smartphones. It is as important as ever for travel businesses to target consumers on mobiles, and we provide them with the right technology that allows them to do this.
At the heart of this, we have an industry-leading product that constantly evolves – we are always creating and updating with the latest technology, so our products and our business adapts and evolves quickly. When we recognise new trends we immediately create the technology to meet them straight away, and that’s what keeps us at the forefront of all the technology trends. Also, because we have clients in more than 40 different countries, it allows us to learn from them and pick up on the latest trends and technological demands from all over the world.
My advice to travel companies and other industry stakeholders in the Middle East market is to look outwardly, not inwardly. There is strong, positive potential in the region and I believe that the sector is going to be huge. If travel companies set their sights on the bigger picture and think globally, I definitely believe the Middle East will become the main hub for international travel.