The kind of digital experience that is offered by the likes of airlines, travel agents and hotels now plays a major role in the bookings choices made by younger travellers within the United Arab Emirates, new research has revealed.

The findings were revealed by the ‘Global Digital Traveller Research 2019’ from Travelport, which surveyed as many as 23,000 people from 20 different countries.

75% of the UAE’s millennial travellers now take into consideration the digital experience offered by hotels and airlines when they make a booking, with around 51% also being frustrated if mobile devices do not offer booking information 24/7.

Travelport’s head of account management in the UAE Kathryn Wallington says that millennial travellers in the country now have an exceptionally high demand for digital experiences that are of very high quality.

Trailblazers in many industries, including travel, have set the bar very high in recent years, and Wallington notes that this age group are usually “digital natives”.

Good digital experiences should come as standard in this day and age, with differentiation sought via excellence, according to Wallington.

The study also revealed that 60% of millennials in the UAE now want to plan their trips better with the help of virtual or augmented reality experiences.

Among the other findings in the study was that voice search has been used to help with travel management by 69% of the UAE’s millennial travellers, with as many as 22% doing so on almost every occasion they use the technology.

The most asked questions to voice search-capable devices by millennial travellers within the Middle East and Africa include hotel directions (60%) and information regarding the weather at their intended travel destinations (69%).

The sophistication and range of questions likely to be asked of such devices is likely to increase exponentially with the introduction of more travel-centric capabilities, Wallington adds.

Wallington cites EasyJet as an excellent example of a business that has embraced voice search, allowing customers to look for flight options in seconds via its new Speak Now app feature, which Travelport developed.

These features are not just about speed, however, as they also help to just make it easier to book flights and also make travel more accessible for those with vision difficulties.

The study says that a staggering 93% of the UAE’s millennial travellers have reviewed photos and videos posted on social media by travel brands, with 34% ‘nearly always’ doing so.

UAE millennials believe that the most influential of all social media platforms is Facebook.

Wallington claims that travel features in so much social media content today, with 52% of Facebook users talking about holidays they want to go on, even if a specific trip has not actually been planned.

Social media is, therefore, a great environment for inspiration and to convert that searching into actual bookings, and is something being taken advantage of by an increasing number of companies.

Anyone planning to travel within or outside of the UAE should take out travel insurance first.

Travel insurance ensures that travel will not be financially costly in the event of unexpected occurrences such as falling ill while overseas or flights being cancelled.


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