Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ITE 2012


The upcoming International Travel Expo in Hong Kong has an impressive profile of international exhibitors, buyers and regional trade visitors. I will be attending the event on behalf of RateTiger and I look forward to the opportunity of meeting hoteliers from the region especially from Macau, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia.

These markets have experienced significant growth in tourism and corporate travel over the past decade as the media looks in detail and the countries develop their economies. There is substantial online sales growth for Asia and it is essential hotels act now to build exposure across the internet sales market, especially for Chinese, European and North American traveler markets. Hotels in the region are beginning to experience greater competition that will only grow as the Asia market matures. Therefore channel management tools to handle multiple sales channels will be essential.

The event attracts more than 650 exhibitors from 55 countries and regions and offers a great platform to buyers and sellers to meet under the same roof in a professional setting. The Travel Expo covers both leisure and MICE/Corporate travel, and highlights trendy themes such as Cruise, Wellness & Medical Tourism, and Honeymooning etc. Apart from the exhibition, the event also features seminars and panel discussions targeting different sections where various travel related companies are invited to present.

I am eagerly looking forward to the 14 -15 June when I will be in Hong Kong for this event. I personally feel that ITE truly justifies its slogan 'We bring World Travel to Asia and Asians to the World'.

Post event updates to follow in June.

Michael Atienza is Sales Manager for APAC at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. He can be reached at Michaela@ratetiger.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

RateTiger presents at HSMA’s Pricing & Distribution Day


Germany’s Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association (HSMA) hosted its annual “Pricing & Distribution Day” in Frankfurt recently. An audience of around 300, consisting for mostly hotel executives involved in distribution and revenue management, was keen to learn about the latest trends and strategies in their sphere of action.

In the light of rising distribution costs and the increasing feeling amongst hoteliers that they are no longer in control of their own rates, sales channels and products, the guiding theme of the event was how to find and apply the right balance between direct and third party distribution. Clever online marketing, a strengthening of direct distribution channels, Web 2.0 applications and mobile technologies were among the options discussed to lower the costs of distribution. Speakers included top managers from major hotel brands such as Accor and Best Western, HRS CEO Tobias Ragge, consultants and industry experts. Amongst the latter, Ragnar Strerath, Division President RTConnect at RateTiger, was invited to share his expertise.

His presentation titled – “Learning against helplessness - How hoteliers can rid themselves of feeling dependent on their distribution partners” – dealt with options to get back on eyelevel with OTAs and other sales channels. The key message: it needs both distribution management technology and market insight, none of these two will do the job alone. Ragnar explained which competencies are essential, these ranging from insight in the distribution landscape and its options and conditions, product development and placement skills to revenue management, online marketing and competitor analysis. But how can hoteliers obtain this knowledge? While technology can be bought – and Ragnar pointed out relevant features for channel managers and the most important questions to ask possible suppliers – the latter can be acquired in various ways: by training existent staff, by employing specialists, or by working with external experts.




Ragnar listed the pros and cons of each option: while in-house training takes time and hardly ever reaches the level of focused experts, it might also be too expensive for smaller hotels to employ a specialist. For these, consultants who help setting up a strategy and choose suitable technology can be a promising alternative, particularly if these consultants are largely paid per booking and consequently interested in the hotel’s success. Ragnar concluded with some statistics on Ramada’s performance, which has improved significantly since implementing RateTiger, quoting hotel’s Regional Director Markus Barth as testimonial.

The presentation was followed by an intense discussion, which showed that the speaker touched the needs of today’s hoteliers and that his insights were well received.

Jasmin Keller is PR Representative for the German speaking markets and is responsible for driving all PR activities for RateTiger and eRevMax brands in the region. Jasmin is based in Hamburg and can be reached at ratetiger@jasminkeller.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tianguis Turistico 2012


I had the pleasure of attending Tianguis Turístico this year which is considered Mexico’s largest tourism trade show. Previously held in Acapulco for the last 36 years, this year the Mexican Ministry of Tourism decided to organize the event in Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta in order to promote different regions of the country.

Tianguis Turístico is an ideal platform to promote Mexico’s vacation destinations to a very specific local and international market, with the purpose of developing destination tourism and related products and services for the tourism sector.


With over 300 hotels participating, it was good to see discussions revolving around pricing trends and revenue management. With Mexico seeing an increase of 5.5% in inbound tourism, hoteliers are targeting more OTAs and have started realizing the importance of using a channel manager.

Kudos to the organizing committee at Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta for their excellent teamwork in successfully promoting and executing Tianguis Turístico. It was a well organized event which provided terrific exposure to the region as well as great value to attendees and exhibitors alike. 

I look forward to Tianguis Turistico Mexico 2013 at a new destination.

Sheila Martinez Sotelo is Sales Manager - Mexico & USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at sheilas@ratetiger.com

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

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


Looking or booking? Will mobile really drive new revenues?

Last minute bookings are not a new phenomenon. What is new today is that increasing numbers of travelers have the ability to search and make a booking via a mobile device. And they no longer plan the details of their trip in advance. According to recent research by EyeforTravel, LBS expenditure is expected to near $10billion by 2016, while smart phone sales are predicted to reach 982 million units by 2015. What is more, marketers are expecting an ‘onslaught’ of mobile apps and tools within three years.

How to Manage Facebook
Caterer & Housekeeper lists out five key strategies that a hotel must follow for effective marketing through its Facebook page. They are
  • Post eye-catching picture to attract followers
  • Select the  Brand profile picture carefully
  • Customize the app icons
  • Pin Up the important post 
  • Use milestone app for product launch or announcement
Online Travel Shoppers Respond Best to Intuitive Ecommerce Experiences
Like almost all online customers, travellers comparison shop to find the best deals. A Q4 2011 report on worldwide visitors to travel and hospitality websites by web analytics company iPerceptions found that price was the main barrier to shoppers completing online reservations. But after price, functionality and site design were among the biggest stumbling blocks for prospective customers.

Domestic visitors vital to London Olympics
The UK will only welcome an additional 330,000 international visitors as a direct result of hosting the London 2012 Olympics, reveals research at WTM Vision Conference London.  According to Euromonitor International Head of Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner, the UK will welcome 29.4m international visitors this year, a 2% increase on 2011, or 588,000.

Leisure hotel rates set new growth record in March
Average daily rates paid by leisure hotel guests climbed +9.2% in March over 2011, beating the previous record of +8.3% set in December over 2010, according to the latest data from Pegasus Solutions. In North America, hotels benefited from a climb of +8.5% in daily rates for leisure stays, which outperformed the +7.3% record set in February.