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Frequent travellers browse Instagram 28 days each month, says expert

Terry Kane, Head of Auto, Finance, Government, Telco and Travel – MENA, Facebook and Instagram.

More than 500 million Instagram users share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day. The impact Instagram has on travellers, from inspiration through to booking, was explored at Arabian Travel Market.

The advent of Instagram and advanced technology has changed the traveller’s journey from inspiration through to booking, according to a social media expert speaking on Arabian Travel Market’s Global Stage.

Those travelling no longer rely on guidebooks or travel catalogues with out-of-date information, or even paper maps to navigate their latest holiday destination. Instead, travellers now have real-time access to various social media platforms such as Instagram.

With more than 500 million users sharing an average of 95 million photos and videos per day, travel plans are continuously being made, shared and made again on Instagram.

Today’s frequent travelers browse Instagram 28 days out of every month, searching for new ideas and new holiday destinations.

During a seminar session entitled ‘Inspiring the Explorers – Destination Instagram’ at Arabian Travel Market on Monday 23rd April, the unique opportunities Instagram’s visual nature has given to travel lovers around the world was explored.

Terry Kane, Head of Auto, Finance, Government, Telco and Travel – MENA, Facebook and Instagram, said: “Today, more and more travellers begin their journey on Instagram, looking for inspiration for their next adventure, next destination to visit or next restaurant to dine in. Viewing pictures, videos or stories on Instagram gives users a sense of wanting to be there and wanting to experience what they are viewing.

“With so many people sharing their experiences on Instagram, it is easier now than ever to research trips before you depart to find new ideas and new destinations to explore that are off the beaten track, allowing you to create your own individual journey and experience.”

Travel tech professionals need to collaborate to provide holistic customer
Also, a panel of travel technology experts from Sabre, wego and Tajawal, came together at the Travel Tech Show at the Arabian Travel Market on Sunday 22nd April) to discuss the defining evolutions of hospitality technology. During a panel discussion entitled “Distribution evolution and the latest industry trends”, panelists addressed the issues that are becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the the Middle East travel industry, which continues to evolve, driven by high adaptation of the latest technologies and significant growth in the online space.

The panel identified three main global trends that are transforming the future of travel including; shifting customer behaviour, distribution evolution and the changing dynamics within direct and indirect sales channels and the digital transformation.

One of the first issues discussed was that of fragmentation during the customer experience. “Industry stakeholders – providers, intermediaries and sellers – need to work together to complement each other’s roles and address the industry changes collectively.” said Fatin Said, Regional Communications Manager, Sabre Travel Network, Middle East.

“We all need to recognise how data can be used intelligently across the sector to achieve personalisation and how to recruit emerging technologies to improve the traveller experience. They need to work towards a less fragmented travel ecosystem,” added Said.

Talking about customer expectations Said explained that it is no secret that today’s travellers want an optimal holistic experience. “They are accustomed to personalised offerings and services from other industries and expect a similar level of personalisation, experience and flexibility. Consider Netflix – approximately 75% of what people watch is based on recommendation algorithms.”

In a commissioned study Sabre conducted in the UAE last year, it found that 46% the UAE travellers are willing to be loyal to a brand if they provide them with personalised offers.

“Mobile is also key to capturing people’s loyalty and winning the consumer game. Travel suppliers need to deploy advanced mobile and marketing strategies to serve the tech-savvy traveller, who expect to search and book on mobile. Travel players should be able to provide and offer travellers precisely what they want, when they want it, at every step of their trip on the device they choose!” added Said.

The shift in consumer expectation is changing the landscape of travel distribution. Travel suppliers are increasingly looking for ways to differentiate their offerings – looking to market to travellers in new ways – to maximise their revenues. New standards, such as New Distribution Capability (NDC), are becoming increasingly adopted by airlines experimenting with their distribution strategies. However, NDC is just one component of a wider shift in retailing and distribution in the travel industry, and this year Sabre is developing innovative new technology that will help suppliers to tell their stories effectively through an indirect channel.

“NDC standards are just the beginning” said Jorge Vilches, senior vice president Air Line of Business, at Sabre Travel Network.

“Our broad portfolio of retailing, distribution, fulfilment, and data and analytic solutions, coupled with decision  science allows us to take NDC to a new altitude. Imagine a world with ‘beyond NDC’ technology?

“When a traveller goes to shop for an airline ticket, the airline is able to identify that person and their unique characteristics and can then sell directly to that person regardless of channel.

“For example, if an airline can determine that a shopper is interested in buying ancillaries like Wifi or a beverage, this presents an opportunity to bundle ancillaries and sell them in a way that otherwise might not be available. This is Sabre’s vision for evolving technology to benefit both travellers and our airline customers,” commented Vilches.

Sabre is now launching the industry's first Digital Airline Commercial Platform delivering end-to- end personalised retailing, to further enable enhanced travel experiences for airline customers and increased revenue opportunities for airlines.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.