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Wanted: 24/7 digital support AND human advice

April 10 2018

Press release

How the UAE’s millennial business travelers are changing corporate travel

Millennial business travelers in the UAE are driving an evolution in corporate travel by demanding both cutting-edge digital support throughout their trips and on-demand advice from human consultants, according to an independent global study commissioned by Travelport (NYSE: TVPT), the leading Travel Commerce Platform.

The research, which surveyed 11,000 travelers in 19 countries who took at least one return flight in the last year, revealed that:

  • One third (36%) of UAE millennial business travelers now count being unable to access booking information across their devices 24/7 as one of their biggest gripes
  • One third (36%) say they get frustrated when companies don’t use data analytics to provide highly personalized travel recommendations based on their past preferences
  • Two fifths (40%) say not being able to get expert advice from human consultants during the booking process is a major pain point

Millennials escalating thirst for ‘bleisure’ – itineraries combining both business and leisure – is also driving change. Two thirds (62%), for example, now regularly extend their business trips by a few days so they can see local attractions.

To satisfy their ‘bleisure’ needs, most UAE millennial business travelers are now doing their own research before finalizing their travel plans. Among the most common tools used to build their perfect itinerary are general travel advice sites (used by 85%) and review sites (used by 82%). Looking through videos and photos posted by travel brands on social media (82%) is also typical for digitally-advanced UAE millennials, as is using voice search technology (61%).

If required to book a trip themselves, the majority of millennial business travelers do so online through a corporate booking tool (71%) or their desktop or laptop (48%). However, two fifths (38%) say they now book business travel online through their smartphone and one third (31%) say they do so using their tablet.

While on business trips, on average, UAE-based millennial business travelers use 19 different categories of apps. Of these, map and banking apps are the most popular (used by 88% of UAE millennial business travelers), closely followed by those that provide instant messaging and translation tools (both 84%). High results for travel review (81%) and destination guide (80%) apps further support that it’s not all business for the UAE business traveler.    

Kathryn Wallington, Travelport’s Country Manager for the United Arab Emirates, commented: “The world’s first smartphone was launched in 1992. Millennials have therefore had digital devices supporting and improving their experience of the physical world for all their adult lives. This is why they don’t see omni-channel engagement as a nice to have. In 2018, they fully expect it! It’s important that travel management companies, as well as other businesses that support corporate travel booking, recognize and respond to this. If they don’t, they risk losing relevance – especially in a country as digitally advanced as the United Arab Emirates.

Wallington continued: Travelport stands ready to support businesses as they respond to changes in customer behavior. Having spent many years investing in areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and developing mobile applications like Trip Assist, we feel uniquely positioned to help our customers stay ahead of the curve.”

The Global Digital Traveler Research

Travelport’s ‘The Global Digital Traveler Research’ was an online survey utilizing Toluna Research’s sample of travelers in August 2017. The research covered 19 countries globally and surveyed people who had taken at least one return flight last year. In total, there were 11,000 respondents from the 19 countries, including 500 from the UAE.

About Travelport

Travelport is the technology company which makes the experience of buying and managing travel continually better.  It operates a travel commerce platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.  The company facilitates travel commerce by connecting the world’s leading travel providers with online and offline travel buyers in a proprietary business-to-business (B2B) travel platform.

Travelport has a leading position in airline merchandising, hotel content and distribution, car rental, mobile commerce and B2B payment solutions.  The company also provides IT services to airlines, such as shopping, ticketing, departure control and other solutions.  With net revenue of over $2.5 billion in 2018, Travelport is headquartered in Langley, U.K., has over 3,700 employees and is represented in approximately 180 countries and territories.

Media Contacts

Mia Khalil

Edelman Middle East

T: +971 56 216 2133



Henry Jakins (based in the UAE)
Head of Communications, Europe and APACMEA
t +971 50 107 0018



Josephine Dairi

Edelman Middle East

T: +971 54 309 8452



Chris Boba
Corporate Communications Manager, EMEA
Tel: +44 (0) 1753 288 691