Online and mobile are key drivers of travel industry growth in the Middle East, and travel companies seeking sustainable growth need to invest today for their future. That was one of many insights and tips shared by executives from Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), a leading global technology provider to the travel and tourism industry, at an industry event in Dubai this week.
The “Connect Online” event, hosted by Sabre, brought together industry professionals and executives from top Middle East travel and online travel agencies (OTAs) to discuss industry insights and trends and exchange best practices in travel innovation. Attendees also heard from Sabre’s experts on how the technology trends such s online, mobile, personalization and payment solutions would impact the future of travel in the Middle East.
“Internet penetration in the GCC is now more than 60 percent, with one out of every two people actively engaged in e-commerce in Dubai. Consumers today are connected online, via smartphones and wearable devices, and expect everything that was once offline to be available online, including travel,” said Daniel Naoumovitch, CEO, Sabre Travel Network Middle East. “This is great news for the Middle East travel industry because online and mobile technologies allow companies to build a clearer picture of their customer needs, creating opportunities for a closer relationship with their customers. By looking at user behaviours and preferences, companies can target consumers with special offers and create more personalized packages for them. It’s one of the many great opportunities that exist for Middle East companies willing to embrace and invest in digital channels.” he said.
According to Phocuswright, Middle East’s online travel is forecast to almost double in value in the next two years. To support this trend, Sabre shared examples of how it is equipping travel businesses with the right tools, expertise and solutions to be part of this evolution. Experts from Sabre showcased its latest online solutions, including low-fare shopping capabilities, as well as solutions like Sabre Dev Studio, Virtual Payment, and Get There.
“Travel companies need to differentiate their business and create new revenue opportunities, and introducing the latest online and mobile capabilities are a great way of doing that,” said Antonella Vecchio, vice president, Online and Land and Sea, Sabre Travel Network, EMEA. “Online in particular is a highly competitive, fast-growing industry which has to respond to rapidly-changing trends and issues such as search evolution, mobile expansion, and website and business performance. Investment in technology is key to differentiating OTA services and providing a competitive edge, and gives travelers an easy and more perosnalised shopping experience that will result in greater loyalty and business results,” she said.
Sabre’s insights were shared based on its experience and successful track record of working with nine of the top ten global OTA’s in the world.