Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ITB Berlin 2012

The travel industry was at centre stage at ITB Berlin – the world’s biggest travel trade show, and one of the best predictors of upcoming trends in the industry. 

With over 230 travel technology companies exhibiting and over 110,000 trade visitors attending, the technology halls were buzzing with activities. The industry is really embracing channel management and the travel technology revolution is at its full steam. I was glad to see that this is mostly being driven by opinionated bloggers and well read journalists who understand the relevance of technology in travel.

RateTiger had a corner stand, giving us enough room to accommodate our never ending stream of visitors. Most of the audience this year showed an increased level of awareness towards the key online distribution technologies and the critical role of an efficient sales channel management strategy as part of the Revenue Management process. 

Cristina Hernandez, Sales Manager, Germany saw a lot of discussion around HRS and the price-fixing issue in Germany. She says “This could spell a game-change for HRS which is expected to launch a new business model. While one of the largest OTA websites, HRS could easily fall victim to consumer and industry dissatisfaction with so many other channels vying for their market. The big question - what happens to rate parity? We will soon see how hoteliers themselves need to respond to this price-fixing ruling.”


On another end of the scale, Cristina Blaj, Sales Manager, UK witnessed discussions on voucher-sites - Groupon growing its travel offering - its marketing activity ramping up, and gaining a greater consumer foothold. However many discussed how damaging this is to revenue and profits. It is claimed that Groupon encourages return purchases at the normal rates following a significant promotional offer, yet the impact of Groupon on this is yet to be seen.

While my colleagues were busy understanding trends in their interest areas, I managed to get involved with discussions on marketing in revenue management, how it is today being forgotten and yet it is so much a part of the buying process. I believe it is important for hotels to have visibility and exposure across as many channels as possible, yet have a strong website for direct sales. Even Cornell University recently published a paper showing how listing on Expedia increases direct website visits. The idea is to have a good distribution mix and keep flexing the different websites while assessing volume to improve occupancy and revenue through different channels.

Overall, like every year, ITB had put up a great show, offering exhibitors and visitors what they came looking for. Check out our pictures from the event. I look forward to the Asian edition of the event in Singapore later this year. Cheers!


Ryan C Haynes is VP - Marketing Communications at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at ryanh@ratetiger.com
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