With a high number of expats living in the Gulf, travel is part of many residents’ lives as people commute regularly between their home countries and where they live and work. As the global macro environment changes, the travel industry must also continuously evolve by adopting new technologies, meeting the growing desire for sustainability, and accommodating the ever-shifting personal priorities of travellers.
Traveller Tribes 2033 is a global research study commissioned by travel technology leader Amadeus to help travel sellers and providers look into the future and see how people in the UAE will travel in the coming years. Northstar Research Partners conducted an online published earlier this year including the views of 756 UAE travelers who are likely to travel internationally in the next 3 years and have travelled internationally at least once in the last year.
The research examines the future forces of change transforming travel, alongside emerging traveller traits, behaviours, and preferences, in order to understand what travellers might expect or even demand in the future. The research revealed four emerging Traveler Tribes including Travel Tech-fluencers, Memory Makers, the Excited Experientialists and Pioneering Pathfinders.
For instance, the ‘Travel Tech-fluencers’ have high expectations that travel should leverage technology for smoother and better-connected experiences. They are early adopters of modern technology that can improve their journey. ‘Memory Makers’ on the other hand value travel for the memories they make, the people they meet and the places they visit. They like to curate memorable vacation experiences, but are less enthusiastic about new technology, preferring to use what they know and trust.
The ‘Excited Experientialists’ have a “try it and see” approach to life, with mid- to high-income levels, few commitments and are well positioned to explore the world. They are also anti-planners in the sense they do not want to plan every aspect of a journey because they enjoy the element of discovery and serendipity that travel provides. The last group among the traveller tribes identified, ‘Pioneering Pathfinders’, like to combine people and technology to plan travel for them. They enjoy above-average incomes, which lets them live a progressive, fast-paced life, always looking for their next big adventure. They are interested in sustainable travel options because the only mark they want to leave behind is a footprint.
Extrapolating the results, the UAE survey revealed the population is a mix of 34% Memory makers, 33% Pioneering Pathfinders, 19% Excited Experientialists and 14% Travel Tech-fluencers. When asked to select a preference from a list of options, the top priority for travellers in the UAE was about making memories and choosing interesting places to visit, followed by value for money.
The five things that excite UAE travellers most about trips in 2033 from a list of options given are: traveling to destinations will be quicker (43%), different ways of paying for trips that will make trips more affordable (43%), artificial intelligence assisting with trip planning to speed up the process (37%), technology to reduce problems such as disruption during trips (35%) and having the chance to travel in a more environmentally friendly manner (34%).
The technologies which will most interest UAE travellers in 2033 are: being able to pay for trips by cryptocurrency, using virtual reality or via facial recognition followed by harnessing data to create more tailored and relevant trip recommendations. The third was about Biometric data to enable quick access through airports and passport control followed by “Super Apps” which have everything needed to plan travel. Rounding the list off was facial recognition data to optimise the transit experience.
The top five concerns that UAE travellers have most about trips in 2033 include: cybersecurity attacks being more frequent (45%) at par with how safe they feel the data people share will be (45%). There were also concerns about political instability meaning it is not possible to travel to some destinations (37%) followed by a concern that trips will be more expensive if they want to act in an environmentally conscious manner (35%). Less of a concern for the majority, only 32% were worried that travel in 2033 will be unaffordable.
Going beyond simple, traditional classifications of age, gender, location and socioeconomic position, Traveler Tribes 2033, was able to identify individuals based on their psychological traits, their willingness to travel, explore and seek adventure and how these will be impacted by new technologies.
Equipped with this information, Amadeus is now well positioned to work with its partners to respond to the changing needs of travelers in the coming decade and create solutions that can offer a better and rewarding travel experience.