Thursday, May 20, 2010

University Hoteliers Conference 2010


The fourth edition of University Hoteliers Conference took place on 27th April 2010 at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain. The conference was focused on the application of technologies in the hotel sector and was broadcasted online by Hosteltur.com.

The main discussions focused on the challenges in tourism distribution with presentations and roundtable sessions on the role of direct distribution channels, its threats and opportunities, rate parity, offline and online marketing and revenue management.

I attended the event as a speaker on behalf of RateTiger and presented a session on the importance of unifying the message hoteliers want to deliver – focus on "the 3 C’s – Consistent rich Content across all Channels" and the need for maintaining Rate Parity. The idea was to encourage smart hoteliers to keep a laser sharp focus on the channels that are driving maximum return on investment.

Other discussions were focused around topics like the importance of active participation in social media to build brand reputation, focus on the growing need for mobile channel management and how hoteliers need to leverage rates across the internet and embrace new tools and technologies to stay ahead of the game.

An impressive lineup of speakers were gathered for this year’s event including executives from InterContinental Madrid Hotel (IHG Group), Laterooms.com, OciHotel, Marketing Surfers/Buzzturistic, Trivago, Hotel Auditorium, ITH, Hosteltur, CIAC Digital, Empresa Municipal Promoción de Madrid and UVE Digital.

Balázs Szentmáry, Revenue Manager InterContinental Madrid Hotel (IHG Group) remarked: "We must establish clear clauses in contracts signed with distributors and conditions of each rate. Reinforce this concept in the Hotel management through the right training and focus on the customer who still looks for value and not the rate conditions.’

Joan Roca, General Manager Laterooms.com Spain quipped on the importance of why hoteliers should keep online rate parity and mark-up parity. He concluded by saying, "Hotels have different rates every day but that cannot be an excuse for not maintaining rate parity across channels".

During a round table, Jaime Lopez Chicheri, consultant and co-founder of Marketing Surfers and Buzzturistic referred to the increased need for synchronization between the revenue manager and marketing manager of a hotel to ensure that the hotel’s branding and pricing depicts the same image. If they communicate about impartial rates but keep different pricing on each channel, the entire strategy will be counterproductive, because the customer will feel deceived and will find it easier to express it.

The attendees found the conference which was jointly sponsored by RateTiger, ITH and Hosteltur, to be very educative and productive. I look forward to be back at this event next year. Catch my presentation on the Hosteltur video which discusses how companies should rethink their strategies and adapt ever more quickly to the circumstances in an ever changing environment.


Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager - Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Spain and can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com

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