Travellers in the UAE are increasingly going digital when it comes to planning for the holidays, with their mobile phones now becoming an invaluable tool in the process, a recent report has found.

The inaugural edition of the Cleartrip Mena Insights Report for the January-June 2017 period, showed that residents in the UAE are the most well travelled in the region, averaging 1.93 trips per individual over the last six months, followed closely by residents in Bahrain with 1.83 trips per individual.

Experts at Cleartrip explained that the reason for this was mainly due to the UAE having great connectivity to Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe through airlines such as Emirates, flydubai and Air Arabia.

In addition, the UAE has a high expat population with a high disposable income as compared to other Mena countries, and that these expats enjoy visa on arrival with their residence visa all over the GCC and in many countries in Eastern Europe.

When it comes to planning a trip, mobile phones are now the preferred electronic device with 94 per cent of mobile transactions occurring over mobile phones, and the remaining six per cent over tablets.

In addition, Chrome recorded the lion’s share of browser traffic in the Middle East and North Africa, with 80 per cent of travellers opting for it when doing their research and bookings.

“We live in a digital age, so of course the majority of our customers arrange their travel online,” said Kevork Deldelian, COO of Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa.

“It is our job to facilitate the switch to digital and making a room or restaurant reservation as easy as a click of a button. Through our website we have obtained and invested heavily in a mobile-friendly interface which allows our visitors to book anytime, anyplace, anywhere via their smartphones.”

“The overall mobile ecosystem has improved over the last few years, with travel organisations providing a mobile-first user experience, combined with more secure mobile payment methods, where this has increased consumer trust for mobile transactions. The growth trend is expected to continue and percentage share of mobile transactions is expected to rise above of desktop bookings within the next three years,” said Stuart Crighton, CEO of Cleartrip.

In the UAE specifically, 26 per cent of overall transactions took place on a mobile device. When it comes to preferred payment methods, 84 per cent of the transactions in the UAE were with credit cards, while 14 per cent were debit cards.

Deldelian also noted that social media has a huge digital influence on where and how people travel.


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