Amadeus, as a leading travel commerce platform in the region, is on a rapid plan of dispersing all relevant information to their stakeholders. Jauhar Abdul Gafoor, Director Sales – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain & Oman at Amadeus Gulf, shares the latest offerings.
Q Could you share the market dynamics for Abu Dhabi and Oman?
Abu Dhabi and Oman are key travel markets in terms of outbound and inbound traffic, especially as the tourism sector is charged with supporting the evolution of Abu Dhabi and Muscat into world-class destinations — part of the government initiative. For this reason, more and more corporations are realising the benefit of implementing the latest technologies in their infrastructure in order to better manage their travel spend. A lot of traditional and accustomed ways of handling travel are becoming obsolete. As a result of centralisation and mergers of large corporations, more automation and optimisation of the business processes have been implemented, which eventually will help the travel market to evolve and become more sophisticated.
Q How has Amadeus fared in Abu Dhabi and Oman markets and what are the challenges faced and results?
Amadeus continues to invest in R&D and make innovations in the travel market. Between 2004 and 2015, Amadeus has invested €4.1 billion in R&D and has consistently been named an R&D investment leader by the European Union. As we cater for majority of the travel business worldwide, including the Middle East which estimated online travel market to be double in coming years rising from $18 billion to $35 billion (source: Phocuswright Study). As Amadeus, we are better positioned to address the digital transformation that we face now in this region.
Q What are the latest offerings for customers in 2017 from Amadeus?
Amadeus has large number of travel provider’s bookings through booking tool known as Amadeus Selling Platform. We have launched our new cloud-based Amadeus Selling Platform Connect last year and migrated majority of users to this new platform and looking forward to migrate the rest of the markets by the end of 2017. The new tool gives immense flexibility for the users such as mobility, possibility of customisation and rich contents.
Q Please share your opinion about the online trend in your market. How does Amadeus contribute?
Online business in the UAE market has been growing rapidly. According to the survey by Go Gulf; UAE accounts for five in 10 Middle East people shopping for goods and services on the Internet. 60 per cent of smartphone users purchased something with their smartphones in the past 12 months. Such figures are very promising and as Amadeus we are constantly looking at innovative ways to help travel providers to take the lead and succeed online. We deliver solutions such as Amadeus e-power suite for creating online presence requiring minimal efforts from travel providers. Similarly we have Amadeus Mobile Traveler which allow agencies to brand their own booking App for their customers.
Q What will be different this year in terms of new projects to focus on Abu Dhabi and Oman markets?
A new self-booking tool Amadeus Corporate Travel & Expense management will be launched in the market, so we will rapidly migrate our existing customers into the new platform by end of this year. We have foreseen many corporations looking to implement travel management systems, so we expect to have many new projects as well with this upcoming tool. To educate agents on the importance of going digital, we have successfully organised an event in Dubai last year called ‘Fly by Digital’. This was a unique event where we invited industry experts to showcase the latest online trends and their experiences in the market.
Q How does Amadeus support travel agents in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Oman?
We have centralised call center in Abu Dhabi which operates from 8 am till 10 pm (extended hours). We also have out of office support available for our subscribed customers. Apart from that, we also have dedicated product specialists working closely with customers to drive their business success.
Q Do you conduct any workshops/training for new agents?
We conduct product workshops every quarter along with technology shows and keynote events. We host educational tours for our customers to our headquarter (Madrid), development centre (France) and to our data centre (Germany) every year, as well as regular trainings scheduled for the end-users round the year. Apart from that we also conduct ad-hoc trainings for selected customers or for the market for specific products and solutions.
Q Could you share the plans for 2017 for the agents and what they can look forward to?
This year we have key projects in pipeline such as:
• Launching the new corporate tool known as ‘Amadeus Online Corporate Traveller’ for Abu Dhabi and Oman by mid of this year.
• Ongoing Migration of customers to our new Amadeus Selling Platform connect – which gives more freedom.
• Educating the market on the importance of online and helping agencies to grow their online presence.
• Launching our new state-of-the-art mobile App by second quarter of this year.