Travel to Qatar Increases as World Cup Nears
Intent to Qatar rises leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
*THIS DATA WAS PULLED 20/07/22
In March, we saw an influx of travel intent to Qatar over the period that it is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, 21 November to 18 December, 2022. We’ve continued to monitor our data, and as we’ve seen more tournament tickets and airline schedules released, intent to the host country and surrounding destinations continues to rise. Here are the most recent travel trends we see for the World Cup.
Since the beginning of the year, flight bookings to Qatar for November and December 2022 are increasing across the globe. There are definite spikes in intent, which roughly aligns with the waves of World Cup ticket releases.
The Middle East, Europe and APAC have the highest level of bookings to Qatar for the World Cup. Middle East volumes are over 4000% higher compared to January 2022 levels. Not only is the Middle East hosting the World Cup, but regional airlines including Flydubai and Air Arabia have opened dozens of match day shuttle flights between Dubai and Doha, and Sharjah and Doha.
Travel Marketing Tip: The launch of daily shuttle flights to Doha means that there is an easy way for travellers to watch their World Cup matches without staying overnight in the capital. Hotel marketers should use data to reach travellers who are potentially looking to visit Qatar, and highlight their offerings.
Moreover, we see that Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are all showing significant year on year percentage increases.
Travel Marketing Tip: If you are a tourism board in the GCC region, you should be looking at the World Cup as an opportunity, not just for Qatar, but for your own destination. Travellers are coming from very long distances to be at the World Cup, and will likely want to take in more of the region during their trip. If you’re looking for ways to drive interest in your destination, here’s how Sojern drove success for DCT Abu Dhabi on a Co-op Campaign.
In 2021, nearly two-thirds of travel to Qatar happened within two weeks of booking. Only 4% of 2021 trips were booked more than three months before travel. Looking at 2022 lead times, we can see that long lead times have shifted quite substantially. Currently, 18% of trips to Qatar are booked three months ahead of travel, which aligns with the World Cup period.
As people secure their World Cup tickets, they are likely keen to get the rest of their travel sorted, as flights and hotels are booking up quickly.
Travel Marketing Tip: The Middle East is an incredible attractions hub, which will provide travellers with a lot to choose from on non-match days. If you are an attractions marketer in the region, don’t be afraid to reach out to those in-market travellers to secure those early bookings.
It’s not too late to activate your World Cup strategy. Talk to our team now.
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We were entirely too dependent on OTAs, and through Sojern, we’ve been able to flip that. OTA bookings are down and we were able to increase our overall online revenue as a result. One of the main drivers, if not the main drivers of this, was connecting with Sojern. You drive people to our website to book direct. With direct bookings, we are able to better provide for our guests, and then on top of it, we aren’t paying out a huge commission.
I appreciate that with Sojern, we have the branding and direct booking campaigns all rolled into one. With Sojern running all of our digital marketing efforts, we aren’t paying multiple vendors for the same booking, which has simplified things for us. We can see that in the last six months, we have more and more direct business thanks to working with Sojern, which is the ultimate goal of any hotelier.
It’s incredible what we’ve gotten through Sojern in terms of direct bookings in such a short space of time. Working with Sojern is the easiest, simplest option out there. They take care of all the legwork and there is little to no input needed from my side. They have been a fantastic partner.
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