ABU DHABI, 29th September, 2012 – Travellers from across the Middle East have responded extremely positively to the launch of Wego’s travel metasearch services specifically localised for each of the GCC nations in Arabic and featuring Middle Eastern airlines, hotel chains and travel suppliers.
In a relatively short period of time Wego has established itself as the Middle East’s clear metasearch leader and one of the largest online travel sites.
The extremely rapid adoption of Wego’s Middle Eastern targeted websites suggests that there is both huge untapped latent demand from consumers wanting to book travel online and that there is an important new market segment of digital natives emerging. This new generation of travellers have grown up with the internet and when shopping for travel are more inclined to reach for their mouse rather than their phone or car keys as their parents might have done. Wego user feedback suggests and some preliminary data-mining of user data confirms Wego is seeing a mix of both.
Visits to the 11 Wego websites comprising its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets have seen in excess of 1,000 per cent growth since the start of 2012 from a base of English speaking Middle East users which was already reasonably significant. As a region MENA has now surpassed Europe in terms of its contribution to Wego’s global travel search business. One in every seven flight and hotel searches made across Wego’s 50+ branded and third party sites now originate in this region, with users comparing results for a vast array of short and long-haul destinations.
Wego has worked tirelessly to stay ahead of demand, launching Wego UAE (www.wego.ae) as an industry first earlier in the year and now a series of customised Arabic, English and/or French websites dedicated to travellers from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
“Travellers here have become aware that they can take control of their travel plans and negotiate for themselves, by comparing the market online,”
explained Dean Wicks, Wego’s VP Airline Relations who is in Abu Dhabi attending the World Route Development Forum.
“In 2012 we’ve seen three times as many searches convert to bookings which shows that users are increasingly comfortable transacting online.”
The average value of MENA flight bookings are also rising. Emiratis shopping for flights now pay over $1,000 per transaction, but Saudi Arabians top the list spending in excess of $1,600 per trip.
The majority are choosing full-service carriers. The most popular airlines for Middle East travel with Wego are currently Emirates taking 13 per cent share, Qatar Airways at 11 per cent, followed by Gulf Air and rapidly scaling Etihad Airways.
Links to Asia where Wego is also a dominant online travel brand are evident with Jet Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air India, Cathay Pacific, China Southern and Malaysia Airlines achieving the highest share. European carriers, British Airways and Lufthansa are close behind. Low cost intra-regional airlines too are seeing rapid growth on Wego.
Top 20 Airlines Booked* by Wego users from the Middle East, 2012
1. Emirates – EK
2. Qatar Airways – QR
3. Gulf Air – GF
4. Etihad Airways – EY
5. Jet Airways – 9W
6. Egyptair – MS
7. Singapore Airlines – SQ
8. Air India – AI
9. Turkish Airlines – TK
10. Cathay Pacific – CX
11. Sri Lankan Airlines – UL
12. China Southern Airlines – CZ
13. Saudi Arabian Airlines – SV
14. Malaysia Airlines – MH
15. Oman Air – WY
16. Kingfisher Airlines – IT
17. British Airways – BA
18. Lufthansa – LH
19. Royal Brunei Airlines – BI
20. Philippine Airlines – PR
* Includes bookings both direct to airline websites and via online travel agency websites.
“We are having very interesting discussions with carriers from across the Middle East about how they can benefit from Wego’s rapid growth to drive bookings direct to their websites, as well as with the more sophisticated travel agents who are moving their business online. It’s a great time to get in touch and share perspectives.”
For more information, please contact:
VP Airline Relations
Tel: + 65 9390 0492
Email: [email protected]
Mohamad Ibrahim Masri
Middle East Representative (Dubai)
Tel: +971 4 298 1775 and Mobile : + 971 506760033
Email: [email protected]
Wego.com is APAC and MENA’s leading travel metasearch engine, operating in over 50 markets worldwide and used by millions of travellers to save time, pay less and travel more. The company provides powerful yet simple to use tools that help travellers research trips, compare prices and book travel online. Wego shows users an unbiased and channel neutral view of travel prices, providing users with a choice of booking direct with a hotel or airline, or via an OTA or aggregator site. In Q2-2012 Wego referred in excess of $10 million per day of potential bookings to the websites of it’s travel partners. Wego.com was founded in 2005 by former executives of Yahoo!, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline and ZUJI. Shareholders include Tiger Global Management, News Digital Media and OWW Capital Partners. For more information, please visit https://www.wego.com/about/