Opinions: 

Travel Tech

Kumud Sengupta is the founder/director of Dubai-based Market Vision Research & Consulting, which specialises in the travel and tourism sector. Earlier this year, the Digital Tourism Think Tank met with her to discuss the travel and technology trends she observes in the Middle Eastern market.

Citing the UNWTO in stating that outbound travel is growing, and will continue to grow, worldwide, Kumud identified the Middle East as a key travel market to cater to. Being based in the region, she believes that, while it is very small in the sphere of global communication and travel, it is growing rapidly.

“Currently it's in the region of 37 to 40 million outbound travellers but, by 2030, it's going to become 81 million. So it's a huge market potential, and the main thing there is that, even though the volume is low, the value is high. Middle East travellers spend a lot of money when they travel; they travel in large groups and they stay longer when they go abroad.”

With regard to technology, Kumud elaborated upon four key trends she has identified within the Middle Eastern market:

Young economy of 'digital natives'

Kumud mentioned the importance of the region’s very young economy, where youth make up 60% of the population, particularly in the GCC (Gulf) countries; the main travel markets. Of these, over 50% are below the age of 25; young people who are very familiar with new technology, who she terms ‘digital natives’.  An example given of this tech-savvy amongst the very young is the emergence of paperless Middle Eastern classrooms; the use of iPads as opposed to pencil and paper, right from within nursery and kindergarten classes, thus nurturing an audience who will grow up over the next few years already very well-acquainted with technology and the online world.

Consumption economy

Kumud referenced the phenomenal economic growth in the region over the last few decades as a driver for the Middle East’s consumption economy. It is a market with great demand for brands, luxury shopping, luxury travel and the latest gadgets (“very, very high adoption of smartphones”). Considering their digital proficiency and interest, this consumption could possibly take form in an online environment according to her.

Gaming culture

Given the young demographic, Kumud also observed the popularity of gaming, and that the culturalisation of gaming is happening very rapidly. Given the region’s billion-dollar gaming industry, she stated that “gamification of travel is another trend we see picking up in the next few years.”

Hyperconnectivity and hyperpersonalisation

With the hyperconnectivity of the audience, Kumud finally noted the arising need for hyperpersonalisation. That is, customers in the region are increasingly searching for customised holidays and travel packages, and seeking loyalty rewards. She identified this as a trend that travel companies need to take note of, and cited Emirates Airlines as an example of a company doing this well. They have been adopting new technology; providing cabin crewmembers iPads by which to access passengers’ history with the airline, which informs the upgrades they can be provided, or the special offers they can be made. Kumud believes that such personalisation of services is only going to get bigger and better in the region, and more intense in terms of competition.

“My advice to all those who are targeting the Middle East markets: get on with e-technology!”

Watch the video interview with Kumud here.

Discussion

comments powered by Disqus

More from #DTTT

  • In June we present:
    Live: #DTTTCampus

    #DTTTCampus is here again and we are live from the ground in Oslo, Norway. We are so excited to be welcoming a range of speakers from around the world, from DMOs to travel film directors and industry content powerhouses. We are all set up in the newly transformed Høymagasinet and ready to get started! Stay […]

  • In May we present:
    Meet…Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo from Estonia Tourist Board

    Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo is the Head of Tourism Marketing at Visit Estonia, and she will be joining us at #DTTTCampus alongside a panel of other DMOs to share insights on the in’s and out’s of Visit Estonia’s ‘Storytellers Nest’.

  • In May we present:
    Meet…Kevin Wright from Travel Oregon

    In a world of always-on content, information overload and the ever-changing digital consumer, how do you stand out from the competition and most importantly, reach your audience? Kevin Wright, Vice President of Global Marketing for Travel Oregon will be joining us at #DTTTCampus in June to talk about Reflecting on the Role of Content to […]

  • designing signature experiences
    In May we present:
    Meet…Gloria Loree from Destination Canada

    We caught up with Gloria from Destination Canada ahead of #DTTTCampus to get a sneak peek into what we can expect from her talk on Designing Signature Experiences to Build Brand and Narrative.

    #brand experiences #destination canada #brand narrative #brand stories
  • In May we present:
    Meet…Daniel Bury VR Filmmaker

    Daniel Bury is one of the youngest & most up and coming creators in the world of VR film-making, travelling the world to create immersive experiences through unique 360 and VR storytelling.

    #VR experiences #virtual reality experiences #daniel bury #filmmaker #dtttcampus #virtual reality #Vr
  • In May we present:
    5 Reasons Why to Visit #DTTTCampus 2019

    In short, #DTTTCampus is a full exploration into the destination experience, with valuable insights on navigating the digital landscape and the ever-changing consumer behaviour of travellers today.

    #dttt campus #keynote speakers #workshops #destination experience #oslo #destination marketing #Visit Oslo
Show more
-->
© 2017 Digital Tourism Think Tank

Digital Tourism Think Tank logo imge