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The online travel habits of Middle East millennials

The rising wave of millennial travellers will change the face of travel in MENA and companies that fail to figure out a strategy risk getting left behind, says Google’s Head of Tourism & Hotels, Middle East and North Africa, Ali Hashmi.
He defined them as those aged between 18 and 34 – the first generation to have had access to Internet in their formative years – and called them “the largest generation with the largest spending power of any generation”.

According to Hashmi, millennials in MENA are idealistic about the power of technology and are early adopters; they are always on, hyper-connected and seek instant gratification; trust authenticity and respond to stories; seek personalisation; have high expectations and are spontaneous.

Specific to travel, they:

– Consider travel to be a very important part of their lifestyle: 66% of Millennials; 71% took one get away in 2013

– Travel more than non-Millennials, but spend less: $3,217 vs. $3,381 annual leisure travel spend

– Use same research sources as non-Millennials, but slight difference in preferences: Online reviews matter more than marketing speak

– Exhibit a much tighter shopping window: 23% booked their last trip less than 1 week before departure

– Search is the #1 source for Millennials on mobile: 66% use search to research and book travel

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