As we explored throughout the month of April, the Middle East presents immense opportunity for travel brands looking to tap into the region’s young, digital-savvy population.
But entering the market includes its fair share of obstacles, as Ross Veitch of Wego and Stephan Ekbergh of Travelstart - two “pioneers in the Middle East” - know all too well, having operated their respective brands in the region since 2013.
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Speaking Phocuswright Europe in May, Veitch and Ekbergh discussed their decisions to expand their brands to the Middle East (Wego from Asia; Travelstart from Africa) and the gaps they sought to fill.
For Wego, the lack of major online travel agencies in the area opened the door for a metasearch model, co-founder and CEO Veitch explained, and for Travelstart, the OTA saw the Middle East as a gateway to Africa, founder and CEO Ekbergh said.
The discussion, titled Spotlight: The Middle East Opportunity with moderator Siew Hoon Yeoh of WebInTravel, also touched on booking behaviors of travelers in the region (bookings typically occur at night, for example, and consumers are less concerned about price than their European counterparts), how mobile is driving the travel economy and what startups eyeing the market should consider.
Watch the full interview below.
Spotlight: The Middle East Opportunity - WiT at Phocuswright Europe 2019