As the Arabian Travel Market today kicks off in Dubai, several companies start to share their news with us. One of them reports rapid transformation of Middle East North Africa (MENA) market to a mobile first market.
Wego.ae, the largest travel marketplace in the Middle East, announces that The region’s travellers were quick to embrace online travel shopping, possibly quicker than in any other emerging market, but the transition from desktop to a mobile first market evolved even faster, and today Wego sees over 70 percent of searches in the Middle East taking place on a mobile device.
Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, Wego Middle East, North Africa and India said, “However, the most striking difference we’ve seen on Wego for both flights and hotels over the last 12 months are booking transaction numbers on mobile devices, with conversions increasing by 65 percent. The continued increase in conversion rates is largely attributed to flight bookings where the business has continued to grow exponentially”.
“An additional shift has taken place over the past year with the majority of our mobile conversions previously taking place on iOS, but today we’re seeing the gap closing with Android users also preferring to buy their flights and hotels on mobile,” observed Hmedan. “Consumers today are more experienced, and overall much more secure making purchases through a better designed mobile device, which more frequently have larger screens, and are more user friendly.”
Wego recently announced the implementation of Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) combined with Progressive Web App (PWA), to become the fastest loading mobile travel site in the world, particularly relevant in areas where networks can be unstable.
“Wego redesigned and launched a new mobile site to mimic our travel app by rebuilding our static pages using AMP, and the core search experience with PWA,” explained Hmedan. “Wego has decreased page load time from around 12 seconds to between .50 and three seconds, to alleviate issues with slow, unstable networks. Since the launch we have experienced around 50 percent improvement in the click to search ratio during the first quarter of 2017 (YOY) lead by the UAE (23 percent), followed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which equates to a 50 percent increase in the number of users referred to our flight and hotel partners.”
In addition, Wego has remained in the top five most popular travel apps on iTunes and Google Play stores for a number of years throughout the region; its local language, currency and familiar local travel brands proving a hit with travelers.
“Wego has partnered with the majority of local domestic, low cost and full service carriers - more than any other flight metasearch business in the region, and the convenience of shopping for travel on mobile, with well known local suppliers, accelerated Wego’s popularity making it the travel shopping app of choice,” Hmedan continued. “Middle East travellers are tech savvy and brand loyal, and once they experienced the ease of using Wego, repeat visits and word of mouth spread quickly.”
Wego committed to this market by establishing a Middle East headquarters in Dubai driven by a talented local team with proven experience, and a shared motivation to support local travel businesses throughout the evolution the industry has undergone.
Wego was the first travel search site for both flights and hotels in the region to produce a mobile product in Arabic.