Mobile travel bookings spike sharply in the Gulf

Oman had the highest rate of mobile booking penetration, with 35 percent of all transactions made on mobile devices.
Mobile, Telecommunications, Travel, Tech, Society, Booking

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Visitors at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Photo credit: Ben Mack

There was a 168 percent increase in mobile transactions in the GCC’s travel sector in the first half of 2018, according to a new report from mobile and online travel company Cleartrip.

According to Cleartrip’s “H1 & Summer 2018 Travel Insights Report,” Oman was the country with the highest rate of mobile booking penetration (MBP), which recorded 130 percent growth with 35 percent of transactions made on mobile devices.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia saw a 218 percent increase in mobile transactions, equal to 29 percent of all bookings. In the UAE, mobile transactions went up by 66 percent, representing 27 percent of all bookings.

Of the regional cities included in the report, Kuwait City was found to have generated the highest percentage of mobile traffic, with 78 percent of users accessing Cleartrip’s services via their mobile devices, compared to 56 percent in Riyadh and 53 percent in Dubai.

Generally, air travel was found to have increased in H1 2018, with Kuwait being the fastest growing market with an upswing of 13 percent, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman all recorded growth of between 2 and 3 percent compared to the same time period last year.

The most trending destinations for GCC travellers, according to Cleartrip, included Los Angeles, Kabul and Geneva, followed by Tbilisi, New York and Baku.

For UAE-based customers, the most popular destinations were Kochi, Manila, Cairo, Amman and Goa.

Additionally, last minute bookings were found to be extremely popular among travellers in the GCC, with more than two in five customers buying their ticket within a week of their departure. Last-minute bookings were found to be particularly common in Saudi Arabia, where 65 percent of all online reservations took place within two weeks of the trip.

With regards to ticket prices, Saudi Arabia was found to have experienced a 9 percent decrease, while Bahrain experienced a 2 percent increase due to price fluctuations in the region’s online air travel sector.

The highest average fares per bookings were found to be in the UAE ($157), while Oman had the lowest ($110).

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