Wednesday, March 30, 2011

RateTiger @ ITB Berlin 2011

As the organizers describe – “ITB Berlin is THE B2B-Platform for trade visitors – an excellent opportunity to meet business partners and to do business. For all other visitors ITB Berlin is a wonderful possibility to discover the whole world within a few hours.” I completely agree with the event’s definition based on my experience at ITB Berlin 2011.

This year had a buzz like no previous that I had attended - this was my third time in Berlin for this mammoth travel event and no longer did we have people wander past our stand asking us what is channel management? Instead hotels wanted and needed a channel manager. This was such an amazing positive change for us and the industry

We had over 6 journalists come by for conversations with us to discuss some of the key trends in social media, new digital sales techniques and integrated channel management technologies. Many were very interested in the NH Hotels implementation of our tools.

Siew Hoon of Web in Travel stopped by and we had a vibrant conversation on how we can best educate hotels and make them into more informed buyers - so it looks like I have a lot of work on my hands to create more content and informative articles.

Among the various topics of discussion, I attended two sessions as part of the hospitality distribution programme; Holiday Hotels and Online Booking Behaviour that showed how the online buyer has changed and should not be stereotyped however it did find that expensive luxury trips are still more frequently being purchased offline - from findings by GfK Research Panels.

I also attended Social Media and Mobile Devices and the types of people using these for booking and research; it was interesting that only a few years ago we were saying that 'nearly' 50% of travel is booked online, now we are saying 'over' 50% of travellers are engaging with social media and consumer travel reviews that is having a major affect on purchase decisions both before and during the holiday.

We had so much to talk about and so many developments for the business that the discussions were much more diverse than just hotel channel management - this makes me look forward to next year’s event.

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

Online Revealed, Canada

Online Revealed, the Online Marketing Conference for travel industry professionals has grown rapidly because of its hands-on approach to learning and the pioneering efforts of ‘a couple of chicks’ an e-marketing company that gave birth to this event.

This year Online Revealed celebrated its 6th anniversary at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. To add to its existing allure, this year it was held in association with the Canadian Tourism Marketing Summit and the Annual Conference of Hotel Association of Canada.

I was invited to be a speaker at a breakout session on ‘Managing Your Online Distribution’, which had a fantastic turnout. During the workshop I covered various topics including online distribution landscape, useful tools for online distribution, finding and working together with online partners, considerations to maximise your online revenue and top tips for selling online. The audience was very interactive which always adds to a great workshop and controversial discussions such as rate parity, commission fees, and online reviews.

It was a great event and I look forward to the next year’s edition.

Casey Davy is Sales Manager - UK at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of London and can be reached at

BAHA: Revenue Management Breakfast Workshop

The Hospitality Revenue Management Community of BAHA organized an open workshop on 4th March 2011 at the Mint Hotel Tower of London.

The aim of this breakfast workshop was to bring together Revenue Managers and those connected to it, to discuss and debate current industry challenges in a way that was lively and participative, yet still challenging and educational.

One of the major challenges facing Revenue Management is the future ‘pipeline’ of talent. Hence the community invited a selection of RM students to give them a chance to interact with current professionals, build relationships with potential employers and gain valuable insight into the realities of the role.

There were 5 workshops held in parallel sessions, namely Long Term Impact of Price Slashing, Customer Relationship Tactics, Total Revenue Management, Centralization of RM and Market Segmentation. My colleague Stefan and I took part in the Total Revenue Management workshop and found it really interesting and worthwhile. We had a great discussion and stressed upon how selling efficiently online can help Revenue Managers achieve targets. We found the event to be a good opportunity to meet industry peers and like all BAHA initiatives, it was well organized.


Sunaina Jagtiani is Sales Manager - UK at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of London and can be reached at sunainaj@ratetiger.com

BTL

The 23rd edition of Bolsa de Turismo Lisboa (BTL) took place from 23rd to 27th February 2011 after having been postponed from January. The change in dates proved to be a good decision by the organizers as this year’s event saw over 74,000 visitors and around 990 exhibitors, a big jump from all previous editions.

The organizers of BTL were overwhelmed with the response and said, “This year’s success strengthens the position of BTL as a business platform of reference for both professionals (9% increase in national professional credential) and for the public seeking a chance to meet in one place. BTL is today the largest and most comprehensive international tourism fair to be held in Portugal. The date change has proved correct in the areas of internationalization and strategic marketing of package tours for the general public, which corresponded with a great turnout.”

The hotel industry in Portugal is experiencing falling occupancy and RevPar, reason why hoteliers and revenue managers were keen to find ways to boost revenues. We spoke to many hoteliers and helped them with their concerns and queries. I personally consider BTL to be a productive event as I had the opportunity to organize 28 one-on-one meetings with hoteliers and local OTAs to show them the benefits of channel management products. The local media too was interested in meeting with us to gain more information about our products and services.

I have been attending this event for the last four years and I see a growing change in the Portuguese hotel market. Hoteliers now understand the need for a channel manager and are maturing to the concept of online distribution. They are aware of the benefits and ROI they can derive if they leverage the right technologies properly.


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 Madrid and can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com