Given the UAE’s reputation for being one of the best travel destinations in the world, it would only make sense that some interesting and disruptive innovations within the travel and tourism industry would emerge from its entrepreneurs.
Today, we are showcasing 5 UAE-based startups and SMEs that are developing and providing some exciting products and services within this sector.
Hotel Data Cloud
Hotels rely on complex distribution networks with hundreds of booking channels to sell their rooms. These channels require detailed descriptive content about the hotels, highlighting their features, amenities, services, and facilities. Distressingly, the content currently available is incomplete and even inaccurate, misleading, and obsolete.
Hotel Data Cloud (HDC) is a content distribution platform that is enabling hotels to easily share detailed content and comprehensive information in a standardized, globally consistent format. HDC captures over 600 attributes per property, multilingual descriptions, images with corresponding metadata and also temporary changes, such as ongoing renovations. This reduces manual workload and lets hotels efficiently control the narrative of their listing across all booking channels, improving their discoverability and leading to increased bookings and revenue.
Launched in 2018 by travel pioneers Nisma Benani, Charaf El Mansouri, and Leah Howe, Dharma is a travel tech startup that allows influencers and brands to build modern and exciting travel brands that cater to a shifting industry shaped by COVID-19 influence and changing consumer expectations.
DHARMA was one of the first startups accepted into Mubadala’s Hub71 program, with the founding team relocating to Abu Dhabi from New York and Marrakech. So far, it has worked with Eric Cantona, the sporting legend and former captain of Manchester United, Culture Trip, an international travel media publication, Bitso, a cryptocurrency unicorn, and Equinox, a global luxury fitness brand.
An Emirati-owned startup founded in 2019 and based in Dubai, Stella Stays is attempting to resolve many of the problems faced by travelers, be it in traditional hotels or overly unpredictable holiday homes offered by platforms like Airbnb.
Combining the peace of mind offered by a professional hotel service with the comfort of a holiday home, Stella Stays is bringing the best of both worlds to its clients and bridging a major gap that has emerged in recent years within the sector.
In the vein of a platform like Booking.com, Musafir is an AI-enabled travel company that offers travel agencies a white-label turnkey solution to distribute hotel, rental, flights, transfers, visas, and vacation packages for both corporate and leisure travellers.
Musafir’s advanced platform uses real-time data analytics to respond dynamically to market conditions while taking into account customer segmentation, demand, digitise, and more - enabling them to address their customers’ needs, tap into recovery growth and enhance the trust of travellers.
Another online marketplace, Wego has been on a notable growth trajectory as of late, acquiring multiple travel brands like Cleartrip and Flyin.com to expand its regional footprint.
Originally founded in Singapore in 2005, the travel tech scale-up has since moved its headquarters to Dubai, from which it hopes to grow a thriving business with ambitions for growth and expansion. It has since secured support from notable regional stakeholders, including Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP).