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‘Over 91 percent of travel bookings are now online’

Digitization has enabled people to plan their trips better.
  • Our omni-channel approach offers seamless and personalized experiences across multiple touchpoints that aim to redefine customers’ travel booking journey, says Singhvi
  • as become even more important to create hyper-customized and context-sensitive, targeted measures to reach and engage with the right kind of audience, he adds

Dubai, UAE – In an era where digitalization has radically transformed industries, the travel industry demonstrates innovation meeting consumer demand head on.

Pallav Singhvi, Vice President of Almosafer Consumer Travel, shares invaluable insights into how online booking platforms and mobile apps have significantly altered the way travelers plan and book their trips.

With more than 91% of Almosafer bookings made through online channels, Singhvi emphasizes the importance of technology in modern travel. Beyond convenience, these platforms provide unparalleled speed, extensive options, and comparative features, allowing customers to make informed decisions quickly. 

In the following interview with TRENDS, Singhvi discusses Almosafer’s digital marketing strategies, the transformative impact of digitalization on customer behavior, and how innovation remains at the forefront of Almosafer’s approach.

How has the rise of online booking platforms and mobile apps impacted the way travelers plan and book their trips?

As per our most recent travel trends report, over 91% of all the bookings on Almosafer is done through our online booking channels. With more and more people opting to travel for leisure and business today and many of them doing so on the move it is easier to access travel portals through mobile apps and booking platforms. 

Besides offering speed and convenience, it also provides extensive choices and comparative features that empower customers to make informed decisions quickly. The window for making bookings for domestic activities has gone down to 3.5 days as per data from our site. 

At Almosafer we believe in leveraging innovative technologies to enhance user experience and accessibility to bring best-in-class content and competitive pricing to our customers.

Our omni-channel approach offers seamless and personalized experiences across multiple touchpoints that aim to redefine customers’ travel booking journey. Technology has also enabled us to scale our connectivity with our customers 24/7 through our WhatsApp channels. 

What digital marketing strategies have you found most effective in reaching and engaging with customers in the travel sector?

It has become even more important to create hyper-customized and context-sensitive, targeted measures to reach and engage with the right kind of audience in what is admittedly a cluttered market. At Almsoafer our digital marketing strategy pivots around content marketing, targeted advertising, and social media engagement, which has proved highly effective. 

Pallav Singhvi

By crafting relevant and appealing content and utilizing data-driven advertising strategies, Almosafer successfully reaches and engages with a diverse audience, driving both awareness and conversion. 

We aggregate content and behavioral data to improve service delivery and expand commercial relationships, enabling us to open doors to new markets and customer segments.

With the advent of digitalization, how have you observed changes in customer behavior regarding travel bookings and preferences?

We are acutely aware that customers today have a short attention span. They expect instant response, especially with the advent of social media. They need service at their fingertips, be it comprehensive travel and accommodation options or swift customer service. 

Almosafer’s travel trends report showcases a notable shift towards last-minute bookings with the window as low as 3.5 days for booking domestic activities and an increased preference for bespoke travel experiences. 

We cater to these trends by offering streamlined, flexible booking options and personalized recommendations aided by our comprehensive data analysis. 

Digitization has enabled people to plan their trips better; we see more last-minute travel bookings as well as more in destination on the go bookings from our customers. The access to 24/7 customer support be it on calls or WhatsApp enables us to hand hold them through the entire CDJ (customer decision journey). 

Can you discuss some innovative ways Almosafer has utilized data analytics to understand and cater to customer needs better?

In today’s highly cluttered market for any brand to stand tall, you need to read your customers well and give them exactly what they want; often times before they know it themselves! Our huge digital offerings and omnichannel presence offers us access to exclusive data that enables us to often predict and customize our offerings to meet customer expectations. 

We use data analytics to gain insights into their preferences and behaviors, which in turn enables us to offer tailored travel solutions. Innovatively, we use predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and preferences, thus enhancing satisfaction and engagement. We aggregate content and behavioral data to improve service delivery and expand commercial relationships, enabling us to open doors to new markets and customer segments. 

Our proprietary algorithm eventually helps in offering dynamic pricing, personalized ranking, understanding new trends, developing new features and functionality for customers. Ultimately hyper- personalized marketing and engagement resulting in client satisfaction is key to our success. 

In what ways has digitalization transformed distribution channels within the travel sector, and how has Almosafer adapted to these changes?

Digitization has broken down borders and streamlined information flow through broadened and diversified channels within the travel sector. Being a digital-first enterprise, Almosafer has adapted by integrating with multiple channels to optimize our online presence to ensure a seamless customer journey across all our digital touchpoints. Be it the Almosafer app, the travel website, our call center, or WhatsApp, we provide comprehensive customer service by leveraging our commitment to implementing innovative technology keeping customer satisfaction central to the entire experience. 

Almosafer leverages state-of-the-art proprietary technology, and data-driven decision-making, to deliver seamless travel bookings on digital consumer platforms, B2B Portals, and distribution platforms that are pivotal in the tourism industry’s growth, as well as white-label platforms offered to partners. 

Hyper-personalization is increasingly becoming essential in various industries. How has hyper-personalization reshaped the travel sector, and what steps have you taken to tailor experiences to individual travelers?

One of the top global travel trends of 2024, hyper-personalization is key to most brand’s success today. ‘Data powered customization’ enables us to offer unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences bound to engage and retain the long-term loyalty of clients. The integration of innovative technology within the travel industry is beneficial to both travellers and industry leaders in the long run. 

Hyper personalization has today reshaped the travel sector by tailoring customer experiences to make them feel not just welcome, but truly delighted. Almosafer implements this by utilizing customer data to personalize travel recommendations, accommodation options and itineraries thus creating unique experiences that are key to customer satisfaction. By aligning with key partners, we are able to deliver value by customizing our offerings across our digital platforms to ensure enhanced customer experience. 

What is the dynamic of business tourism and travel in the GCC? Where do most of the business travelers come from?

Despite global economic upheavals and geo-political tensions, the GCC has retained its position as a robust business hub, attracting key investors and players from across the region, Europe, and Asia. 

The opening up of the local economies, alongside the rapid economic diversification has led to business travelers heading to Saudi Arabia in particular for conferences, exhibitions and corporate meetings. 

The MICE segment in Saudi Arabia has witnessed a resurgence post Covid with business travel forecast to surpass pre Covid demand. Almosafer Business is solely dedicated to corporate and government entities enabling us to leverage our expertise to service this important customer base. 

What are the major activities they get involved in? Are there any major attractions for business tourists?

Bleisure travel has come into its own of late, with business travellers increasingly opting to combine work with leisure and Saudi Arabia is well-positioned to cater to this burgeoning new segment. 

Business tourists often come into the country to engage in trade shows, international conferences, and corporate meetings with KSA’s state-of-the-art conference centers a huge draw. Saudi Arabia’s unique heritage is a huge attraction with many customers actively seeking cultural tours during their visit to historical sites like Diriyah, AlUla and Tabuk where they also indulge in local culinary tours. Away from the business side, they are also drawn to the country’s top-of-the-range hospitality offerings including luxury accommodations and globally renowned hotel brands. 

Our Discover Saudi portal is today the Kingdom’s leading destination management company, specializing in inbound travel, tour operations and MICE solutions. Besides that, Almosafer Activities, the exclusive tours and activities platform for the Saudi market caters to this niche segment that is taking over the local tourism segment.