Expedia enters first new market in eight years with UAE launch

Expedia enters first new market in eight years with UAE launch

Gen-AI app and price tracking capability to launch alongside brand campaign

Expedia has launched into its first new market in eight years with a product aimed at customers in the United Arab Emirates.

Expedia Group announced the move at last week’s Arabian Travel Market while Phocuswright reported the Middle East travel and tourism sector was worth $25 billion.  

A generative-AI enabled app is due to follow later this month, as Expedia revealed searches for trips to Dubai grew by 80% in 2023 versus 2022.

Expedia, which currently operates in more than 30 markets, will offer worldwide flights and access to hundreds and thousands of lodging options to UAE residents.

Rehan A. Asad, vice president of global markets at Expedia Group, said: “Visionary leadership, a strategic long-term plan, a business-friendly environment and a vibrant multicultural society are driving the remarkable growth in the UAE, across multiple industries including travel and tourism.

“Expedia Group is an innovative technology company as much as it is a travel company, and we want to grow with the UAE and with the region. We want to grow together.”

He added: “We’re excited and committed to serving UAE citizens and residents and offer them the comfort, convenience and confidence that they have a trusted partner for their family and friends to travel together. We want to provide the best product, all in one place.”  

Expedia, the first travel company to integrate ChatGPT into its app, said the feature will be available in the UAE along with Expedia’s price tracking tool.

Those who create an Expedia account can access member prices, with savings worth 10% or more on stays at more than 100,000 properties.

Expedia’s UAE launch coincides with a new brand campaign, aligned to its global “Made to Travel” brand platform.  

It includes three digital creative spots with content published on YouTube and paid social channels, with further marketing channels, including out of home coming later this year.    

The films, titled “Chaos”, “Home” and “Birthday”, each focus on a barrier to travel, show how Expedia can help overcome that and spotlight the emotional benefit of taking that trip and heading out to see the world.