Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CEHAT Congress 2010

Recently, I had an opportunity to be at Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage City, and the capital of Galicia in Spain. I was there to attend the eleventh edition of the CEHAT Congress, the Spanish Hotel Association’s bi-annual conference for the hospitality industry.

Being a significant association, CEHAT gets its share of importance and its events are well attended by members as well as the media. The Congress attracted an attendance of over 350 this year. The opening ceremony was conducted by the Minister for Galician Tourism, Carmen Pardo Lopez; President of CEHAT, Juan Molas, and the President of the Hotel Association of Galicia, Hector Cañete del Campo.

During his speech, Juan Molas laid stress on the importance of public – private collaboration to take the industry forward and to help it emerge from the current economic situation. Some of the topics which garnered a lot of attention were "Is the tourism sector in a recession?" and "Analysis of the current situation and its impact on the hospitality industry". Given the relevance of the two topics, these turned out to be the crowd pullers.

The first topic - "Is the tourism sector in a recession?" had the President of Hotusa, Amancio López Seijas sharing his comment – ‘the tourism sector has a young and dynamic business network, and is capable of pushing globalization and that is their best hope.’ The other speakers in this session were Marisol Turro, President of Sercotel and Alfonso Castellanos, CEO of Mindproject, while it was moderated by Carlos Diaz, VP of CEHAT. The panel discussed numerous issues, including the fragmentation of the sector and the inevitable process of concentration which is working, training and the need for labor reform, the relationship with distribution channels, the role of government, the risks of competing in prices and the importance of tending to specialization, the oversupply or depletion model of "sun and beach”.

The other important discussion was on ‘Analysis of the current situation and its impact on the hospitality industry’. Here the speakers included former Treasury minister, Carlos Solchaga, and the President of the Council of Chambers, Javier Gómez Navarro. Both agreed that while the number of passengers and occupancy figures this summer will look like the high season of 2009, the room rates will show a different graph as it is expected to continue falling, and therefore comparison of the margins may not be positive.

The CEHAT Congress is a must attend event for RateTiger and I will ensure I am around here in each edition. I had the opportunity to set-up meetings with many Hotel Groups, Associations and Independent Hotels and it provided an unparallel business platform to foster long-term relationships and also strengthen the unique relationship RateTiger has with CEHAT as members.

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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