Millennials, Mobile Fuel Soaring Online Bookings in Middle East

Published April 2018 Analyst: Cristina Polo


Millennials, Mobile Fuel Soaring Online Bookings in Middle East

The Middle East's relatively young population (38% below 20 years old and 27% millennials) and high Internet penetration (74%) are helping to driving double-digit growth in the region's online travel market. While the older generation tends to be driven by comfort and well-established habits, millennials are more adventurous and eager to visit new destinations. And overall, travelers in the region are venturing out more often (though sometimes for shorter trips), with new LCC routes and visa agreements opening up a range of destination options.

New outbound destinations in Central Asia have become popular for quick breaks. For longer hauls, Southeast Asia and the Far East remain top choices, as do the European capitals and Turkey, despite some political turmoil and terror threats. Within the region, Dubai is most in demand, with accommodations and attractions that are well-suited to millennials' short breaks.

Increasing trust in online payments, higher credit card penetration and greater comfort transacting via mobile devices are also fueling online travel bookings. Mobile-direct bookings continue to steal online share from the web-direct channel; by 2021, mobile-direct transactions will account for more than one in five online bookings. Meanwhile, the OTA channel is claiming an increasing share of online bookings as well, as global players and smaller regional OTAs leverage localized content and offer flexible options such as payment on arrival.

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For more on one of the world's fastest-growing online travel markets, check out the Middle East Online Travel Overview Third Edition.

Attending the 2018 Arabian Travel Market in Dubai? Be sure to sit in on Cristina Polo's session, The Speed of Change: Private Accommodation & the Middle East, held Tuesday, 24 April 2018 (10:30 - 11:30) in the ATM Travel Tech Theatre. Cristina will lead a lively panel discussion with regional private accommodation players to explore the burgeoning lodging market in the Middle East. Learn More