Business travellers in the UAE want agent advice

Tech savvy business travellers in the UAE now want agent advice, digital solutions and hybrid support delivered throughout their travel experience, according to Travelport’s Digital Business Traveller Research 2019.

In the planning and booking phase, the study highlighted two-fifths (40 per cent) of business travellers in the UAE feel recommendations from travel agents carry the greatest influence over their travel choices.

However, two thirds have both used voice search to investigate flight times, hotel options and local activities (64 per cent), and researched and booked business trips entirely on their smartphone (61 per cent). 62 per cent of business travellers in the UAE now also want hybrid support delivered through Live Chat functions on smartphone apps.

The research was carried out by Toluna Research, on behalf of Travelport, the leading travel commerce platform, and based on responses from 8,100 business travellers across 25 countries. The study also revealed that in the transit phase, 39 per cent of business travellers in the UAE find it ‘very painful’ when they are unable to access their booking information on all of their devices and nearly all (83 per cent) are open to providing biometric data if it can reduce waiting times.

When travel is disrupted, the research revealed half (49 per cent) of business travellers in the UAE like to have face-to-face conversations or phone calls with a person to find solutions. Interestingly, however, one third (31 per cent) would now be happy to be serviced through a chat service such as WhatsApp on their smartphone.

Once they have reached their destination, two thirds of business travellers in the UAE now prefer concierge services delivered through their smartphone (63 per cent), rather than face-to-face, and more than half prefer a digital room key to unlock their hotel room door (56 per cent).

Kathryn Wallington, Travelport’s country manager for the UAE, commented: “Demand from business travellers in the UAE for seamless omni-channel support throughout their journey is escalating. The research clearly highlights the need for a true blend of digital and offline solutions, as travellers increasingly turn to travel agents to solve complex issues and real-time digital solutions for more straight-forward or immediate support. This emphasizes the importance of meeting a growing desire for support that spans multiple devices, allowing travellers to access information and support on their terms. This is only going to grow in importance as business travellers seek ever more convenient ways to improve their travel experiences.”