UAE Travellers Shopping Online, according to New Study

July 9, 2012
, by wego admin

DUBAI, July 9th, 2012 – The method by which travellers in the United Arab Emirates purchase their flights and hotel nights is changing rapidly according to a pilot study of 50,000 users of travel comparison site, Wego. With growing confidence in ecommerce sites and the safety of web-based transactions, a critical mass of travellers are now searching for options online, resulting in a growing number booking with Wego partner sites.

Similar to the early adoption of travel sites in Asia, Wego is seeing travellers in the United Arab Emirates taking control of their own itineraries, realising the savings made possible by using metasearch technology.  It’s a pattern recognised by the leading travel metasearch site in Asia/Pacific and promises a revolution in online travel search.

Global site has been used by GCC travellers for some time, but acting on trending data, the company launched a dedicated United Arab Emirates site,, in both Arabic and English earlier this year. The result has been a dramatic rise in traffic and transactions.

Wego CEO and Co-Founder, Ross Veitch explained:

“We saw expatriates using first, both for business and leisure travel. We then tracked foreign workers searching for the cheapest flights back to their home countries. Now, is live in Arabic we have noticed a surge in local hotel searches and interest in a much wider mix of international flights and accommodation, now to over 600 destinations. The site is working as intended, to help local residents save time and pay less.”

Searches by local users for flights from Abu Dhabi have increased 120 per cent year-on-year and from Dubai by 106 per cent.  Flight searches to neighbouring Qatar have doubled and to Saudi Arabia risen by 76 per cent, with Jeddah topping the list.

Residents are also looking at more accommodation, with hotel searches up 121 per cent year-on-year. Singapore, Manila and Bangkok along with the best of Asia’s leisure destinations continue to score highly for hotels, but the focus is now much more local. One in every eight searches for Dubai and Abu Dhabi accommodation are made by people who live there. Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Al Ain are also being more regularly and thoroughly checked online.

Top 20 Destinations by Percentage Share of Searches on, April 2012

Wego credits the proprietary algorithm that ranks the properties according to their popularity with local users for the growing use of the hotel search function, serving as a measure of perceived quality alongside the hotel reviews. The rankings are dynamic, adjusting constantly with users’ choices to reflect the sentiment nationally.

To illustrate, the top ranked Dubai hotel for residents using is the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai. The popular rankings for Dubai from the many other Wego sites, however, produce very different results. For Australians and Americans, the favourite right now is the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, but for Malaysians it is The Address Downtown.  Singaporeans are looking more at the Ibis Al Rigga. It is all about the local perspective.

For Wego, the aim is for each of its sites to work for users in a natural way and early indications are that is achieving this goal.  The volume of traffic and the nature of it are also very positive indicators that online travel shopping in the United Arab Emirates is reaching a threshold.

Middle East Representative for Wego, Mohamad Masri at BizGate commented:

“Arab travellers are becoming more internet savvy. Wego is building the momentum now and as more travellers share their experiences of shopping online, so this form of ecommerce will become mainstream.”

Veitch is confident that traffic to will triple again before the end of this year as the vertical rapidly expands.


For more information, please contact:

Mohamad Ibrahim Masri
BizGate Marketing & Consultancies Services LLC.
Tel: +971 4 298 1775
Email: [email protected]

Caroline Bye
Press Office
Wego Pte Limited
Tel: + 65 6438 8242
Email: [email protected]

About Wego
Considered the ideal site to begin planning travel, gives travellers a complete view of available flights, hotels, travel packages and deals from hundreds of travel websites in the time that it takes to search just one. The latest pricing, availability and reviews are shown, with tools provided to select the cheapest days to fly and to find the best hotel offers. Travellers then simply click through to the partner websites to book. was founded in 2005 by former executives of InterContinental Hotels Group, Yahoo!, Priceline and ZUJI. Investors include News Digital Media and Tiger Global. In 2010, Wego merged with, an established India based travel content and community site. For more information, please visit:

About BizGate
BizGate “BG” is a dynamic, boutique marketing and consultancy agency strategically located in Dubai. BG started its activities in 2007, concentrating on travel, tourism and leisure marketing & Consultancies. Specialized in travel and hospitality PR and recognized for offering more than just business transaction and above all committed to build trust relationship. This accomplishment is based on our understanding of the needs and objectives of our clients. Our creative and integrated approach to marketing helped international companies to launch their business successfully, develop their brand, increase market share, improve your communications and help you get an advantage over your competitors. For more information please visit us on