Intensive multi-channel shopping prevalent in MENA hotel bookings

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Intensive multi-channel shopping prevalent in hotel bookings, reveals Amadeus survey

Hotel location, price and the pre-pay option or vouchers are the main influencing factors 

Today’s tech-savvy consumer is increasingly window-shopping to compare hotels and look for the best deals before making a reservation through a travel agent.  It has therefore become imperative for agents to adapt their strategies and change the way they do business in order to attract and retain customers. These are some of the findings of an Amadeus MENA hotel distribution survey amongst travel agents.  

The survey reveals that hotel location, price and the pre-pay option or vouchers are the main factors influencing travellers when booking hotels.

These findings were based on responses from 649 travel agents across the MENA region: 41 per cent from the UAE; 21.4 per cent from Saudi Arabia; 14.6 per cent from Egypt; 11.9 per cent from Qatar.

Antoine Medawar VP Amadeus MENA 2013
Antoine Medawar VP Amadeus MENA 2013

Antoine Medawar, Vice-President, Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus, said: “This study comes at a time when tourism, and specifically the hospitality industry, is increasingly driving the growth of economies, particularly in countries such as the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Amadeus’ survey brings to light changing patterns in the market and has enabled us to get a clear overview of travel agency and consumer requirements. We are now better positioned to identify trends and fully understand the needs of our travel agency customers and provide them with the right solutions to boost hotel bookings.

Amadeus offers several hotel booking solutions that enable travel agents to meet their customers’ needs and grow their business. Amadeus Content Store, for instance, provides travel agencies with access to over 150,000 hotel properties worldwide at attractive rates that are sourced from the region’s leading hotel aggregators. Having a multi-language post-sales support, the solution eliminates commission collection issues for the agents, providing net rates.

Amadeus Hotels allows negotiated rates to be easily integrated and accessible directly on the travel agents’ point of sales. Furthermore, the solution provides value-added features such as interactive maps on the system, and a user-generated content functionality is currently being evaluated.

The survey also outlines that hotel reviews will become more relevant in the coming years and that brand awareness is no longer such a critical factor for travellers when choosing a hotel.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • While the end traveller is more connected and has greater access to information today, 52 per cent of travel agencies admitted to have a moderate influence over customers’ final hotel choices, with user-reviews and B2C sites acting as a critical factor in the decision. 42 per cent consider that they have a high influence on the final choice.
  • Online bookings are increasing in the region although traditional methods such as email, telephone and fax are still very used by travel agents.
  • B2B hotel booking platform providing content from multiple sources is seen by agents as best solution to overcome the inefficiencies and challenges of working with fragmented channels.
  • Price, after-sales support, flexibility on booking modifications and access to negotiated rates ranked high on agents’ priority list. There is also growing demand for value added elements including reviews and multimedia content.
  • While the MENA region exhibits great cross-selling potential, the opportunity is not yet being apprehended by travel agents as additional services such as airport transfers and sight-seeing are not frequently offered by agencies. These results contrast with the Asia Pacific region, where a similar survey revealed that airport transfers and sight-seeing tours represent the biggest cross-selling opportunities.
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