Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Big Middle East Report

Rich pickings
May 2015 2125
Data-driven travellerengagement platormSojerndeclares its intentions to serve the Middle East

Sojern, travel’s leading data-driven performance marketing engine, announced the opening of new offices in Singapore and Dubai. Sojern has been named the fastest-growing travel technology company on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list for the last two years.

'The Middle East is home to three of the world’s leading international airlines and a fast-growing hotel and tourism sector,' says Stewart Smith, senior director of sales. 'One in six customers in the Middle East is using the internet as the booking platform of choice, so the market is now ripe for a player like Sojern.'

Online travel agency sales in the Middle East reached a whopping $3 billion last year.


Smith leads the expansion and development of Sojern in the Middle East and Africa region from the recently opened Dubai office. Having spent a year and a half in Sojern’s London office, he helped establish the brand with European clients.

'Sojern is the leading data-driven performance marketing engine in the travel space,' explains in an exclusive with TTN. 'That means, in layman’s terms, that we help brands such as American Airlines, American Express, Avis|Budget Group, Hilton, Hyatt, Melia Hotels International, Tourism Australia, Norwegian Cruise Line and many more, to maximise direct revenue and profitability by delivering to them consumers who convert via display advertising.

'We combine our own Sojern Travel Platform (STP) technology with billions of real-time travel intent signals to serve relevant and targeted display ads to consumers online.'

Smith brings more than 12 years of digital experience in travel at high growth technology companies, most recently at, where he developed digital media partnerships across agencies, airlines, hotels and tourist boards.

Big data

It’s all about reaching the in-market traveller based on their intent to travel or confirmation details, explains Smith. 'If we know a user has booked a flight from Riyadh to Dubai for four people then it makes sense for a hotel to reach out to this user to sell them a family hotel room. Big travel data can help them do this.'

With its young population and growing hotel market, the Middle East will open up its borders to an even more diverse set of global and domestic travellers, much accredited to e-commerce sales.

Dubai focus

'Sojern’s data also shows that over a fifth of travellers who flew into it searched for onward flights from Dubai to other countries within two weeks - that’s a larger share of globetrotters than most international airports can boast.'

Western Europe leads the pack when it comes to visitors to the emirate of Dubai. 'Of those looking to fly to Dubai during the past 12 months, 50 per cent of searches were conducted by travellers in Western Europe. The Middle East and North America followed next.'

Easter holidays

Sojern’s Q1 2015 Global Travel Insights Report, it was revealed that the top five popular destinations for Easter travel in the Middle East and Africa region were London, Paris, Cape Town, Istanbul and Dubai. Although most countries in the Middle East do not observe Easter, some are home to sizeable Christian minorities who did take time off to travel during the holiday, the report added.

It was also reported that almost a quarter of travellers (22 per cent) booked their tickets last-minute (seven days or less from their travel date) and another quarter (23 per cent) booked their tickets two months or more in advance.

The average booking lead time was 36 days. Trips of eight to 11 days were surprisingly popular (24 per cent), but as many as 17 per cent of travellers took short day trips around Easter, a number representative of the lack of official time off around the holiday.

In terms of duration, Middle Eastern travellers take the cake for longest summer vacations.

Over 70 per cent of them are planning to take breaks eight days or longer.

Unrest effects

On March 18, there was a terrorist attack on the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia’s capital Tunis, which seemed to have an impact on travel searches for the North African country, according to the same report.

On the day following the attack, global searches for trips to Tunisia actually rose by 6 per cent, but proceeded to decline from March 20 until the end of the month.

The biggest week-on-week drop on record was a 28 per cent decline on March 26, with the average decline over the last ten days of March at 12 per cent. This picture is fairly similar across all origin regions, commented the report by Sojern.

Smith comments, 'Sojern as a business traditionally covers four main verticals: airlines, hotels, car rental companies and tourist boards.

'I aim to replicate this in the Middle East region and we are already working with some of the more established players in the market.

'We will, however, also be reaching out to non-travel clients who are interested in reaching travellers through our first party data and these typically have been telecoms, credit card companies and travel ancillary products,' says he.

Staff Reporter


Dubai among top five destinations

According to Sojern’s Q1 2015 Global Travel Insights Report, top five destinations for last-minute bookers in the Middle East and Africa region during the first quarter of this year were: London, Izmir, Paris, New York City, Dubai.


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