DUBAI - UAE residents are already gearing up for a busy year of travel in 2021, according to new research conducted by Hilton in the UAE.
More than half of survey respondents (51 per cent), which included UAE Nationals, said they are planning three or more holidays next year if global travel advice allows, with the main reasons being missed holidays due to the pandemic and the desire to revisit treasured destinations with their families.
With COVID-19 making international trips more challenging, more than three quarters (80 per cent) of residents said the chance to create new memories was the aspect of travel they yearned for the most, and that some of their best memories were made from going away on holiday (81 per cent).
Conducted by Hilton and the market research company YouGov, the survey of 1,000 people of various nationalities across the UAE is part of Hilton’s recently launched “To New Memories” marketing campaign, which is built on research insights that show consumers are craving reconnections with family and friends.
Making new memories
The sweeping impact of COVID-19 on leisure travel was clearly reflected in the survey. Almost all respondents (91 per cent) said they had at least one overseas holiday cancelled this year, with close to half cancelling a holiday within the Middle East and North Africa region.
In a clear sign that jet-setting UAE residents still relish the vacationing experience, 84 per cent said they miss the chance to create new memories on holiday. The results also highlighted the importance of the hospitality industry to people’s overall holiday experience and, more specifically, the travel priorities of UAE Nationals.
Almost all (99 per cent) of Emirati respondents felt strongly about missing out on making memories with their families when staying at hotels. This was a shared consensus, where close to 80 per cent of all surveyed respondents said their hotel stay is an essential part of the vacationing experience and creating wonderful memories with loved ones.
Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Hilton, said: “Our survey shows that the UAE’s passionate travellers are longing to discover places they have had on their bucket list or revisit the destinations they have already fallen in love with to create memorable moments together again. It also demonstrates the hospitality industry’s crucial role in shaping people’s travel experiences. 2020 has reminded us just how important these moments are and how they become the stories we tell, the laughs we share and the experiences we never forget. Hilton Team Members all over the world are ready to welcome guests with all the reassurance they need to create their new memories whenever they are ready.”
Since the pandemic, Hilton has introduced CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection, extended its re-booking and cancellation policy, allowing guests greater travel flexibility, and introduced new discounted Dream Away* rates.
In terms of the top holiday destinations, just over a third of all respondents (34 per cent) said they will travel to their home country, followed by more than a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents favouring mainland Europe. Among UAE Nationals, mainland Europe was also the leading destination preference (44 per cent), followed by the Far East (33 per cent).
Holidaying priorities moving forward
The survey also shed light on how future holidaying priorities have been affected by the pandemic, particularly when it comes to the type of holiday people are seeking.
Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of respondents said the pandemic has changed their priorities for leisure travel, with more than a third (34 per cent) now looking for experiences that focus on wellness. Next came in holidays that provide opportunities for nature exploration and adventure (16 per cent), followed by resort-type experiences (15 per cent).
Living in the moment
Another interesting trend reflected through the results was that nearly all Emirati respondents (90 per cent) said they posted less on social media whilst travelling this summer. In fact, nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of all survey takers agreed, the main reason being that they wanted to spend more time making travel memories with family and friends instead of spending time on social platforms.
Nevertheless, social media continued to be a popular way to reminisce the good times, with exactly half of respondents saying they posted ‘throwback’ holiday pictures to cheer themselves up when they were not able to venture abroad.
Although international travel has slowed down, staycations across the Emirates have become increasingly popular. The sought-after staycation was the most common type of holiday in 2020, with close to half (43 per cent) of respondents taking an extended trip or weekend away in the UAE. Moving forward, more than half (53 per cent) of respondents say they will book more staycations even as global travel restrictions ease, either every month or every quarter.
Hilton offers an exciting range of holiday experiences through its diverse portfolio of hotels across the UAE. These include the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, the Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef, and the Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton. For more information on Hilton’s Dream Away offer, please visit any of the hotel websites or the link here and make your getaway dreams a reality.
Notes to editors:
- The survey was conducted by YouGov and third parties in October 2020 and polled 1,000 nationally representative respondents.
- *Dream Away Offer Details: Guests can receive up to 25% off the best available rates and Hilton Honors members are eligible to receive up to 30% off the best available rates across the global Hilton portfolio.
- Guests can book their new memories directly with Hilton through any official Hilton website or call centre, the Hilton Honors app, at a Hilton property or through an accredited travel agent. Until December 31, 2020, guests can take advantage of Hilton’s new “Double Rewards” global promotion, where eligible members can earn double points per stay as well as double night credits. Members can register at HiltonHonors.com/DoubleRewards.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 22 world-class brands comprising nearly 7,400 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 124 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 173 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.