Arabian Travel Market exhibition manager Nadege Noblet Arabian Travel Market exhibition manager Nadege Noblet

This year’s Arabian Travel Market is set to shine the spotlight on the growing importance of technology in the industry, through a combination of exhibitors and speakers.

The 2015 edition of the event will take place at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, on May 4-7.

According to YouGov data cited by the organisers, 31% of MENA residents booked all their travel requirements online in 2014, up 10% on the previous year.

Furthermore, of the 22,686 respondents in the region, 25% used their smartphones to book hotels online while mobile usage to access online travel guides or to book leisure activities rose by 6%. Spontaneity in the decision making process for choosing a destination  increased by 11%, due to the increasing use of technology.

“Throughout the region, we are witnessing major growth in online bookings as airlines, tour operators and hotels develop ever-more sophisticated digital platforms and social media strategies to ensure they reach out effectively to both existing and potential guests,” said Arabian Travel Market exhibition manager Nadege Noblet.

“The industry as a whole is embracing technology like never before, to compete in a digital market place where accessibility and speed are critical to the demands of today’s tech-savvy travellers, especially mobile compatible sites for hotels, tour operators and leisure attractions.”

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Against this backdrop, Paul Richer, senior partner of travel technology consultancy Genesys, will host two dedicated seminar sessions at ATM addressing the latest developments in mobile, digital marketing and digital distribution issues and how these are impacting the consumer.

These panel-led discussions which focus on how destinations in the region can better utilise technology, as well as outlining the latest trends and best ways of meeting the needs of tech-savvy travellers.

Technology specialists exhibiting at the show will include Amadeus, Sabre Travel, Payfort and M-hospitality, all returing exhibitors, as well as LeGate, and TravelClick, who will all be making their ATM debut.

Another exhibitor will be TIME Hotels Management, which claims to have been the first hospitality company in the region to introduce cloud collaboration software across all of its IT platforms.

“Technological developments, now more than ever, are playing a major role in the hospitality industry, something we look to harness and develop to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of advances,” said TIME Hotels CEO Mohamed Awadalla.

“Greater guest interaction, more targeted campaigns and better internal systems are all advantages we have seen through our technological upgrades.

“At the core of our tech strategy is making the guest experience from booking to check out as seamless as possible. This includes ease of searching and booking the hotel in the first instance through, to the quality of communication during their stay. Technology is an inevitable aspect of the hospitality industry, investment in the latest hardware and software is crucial, along with the training that goes with it.”

Beyond technology, other themes on the agenda at ATM will include budget travel, health and wellbeing, shopping, transportation, luxury, sports, culture and heritage, and adventure.

Last year’s ATM saw total attendance increase by 12%, with 33,000 people taking part and business deals worth more than US$2.1 billion signed over the four days. An additional hall at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre will be used for this year’s event.

Visit the Arabian Travel Market 2015 website for more information on this year's event.