Friday, July 27, 2012

NASSCOM EMERGE: Establishing a Niche in a growing market


Last Friday I attended my very first NASSCOM event in Kolkata.  For those who are not aware, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is a trade association of Indian Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry aimed at promoting and harnessing IT and Communications technologies for inclusive and balanced growth.

The topic for the event was ‘How to establish a Niche in a growing market?’ It was presented as a panel discussion and was essentially an experience sharing session characterized by a lively interaction between the panelists and the audience. Udai Singh Solanki, MD & CTO, eRevMax was invited as a panelist and he was fabulous on the day. He was joined by Atul Agarwal, Managing Director, InSync Tech-Fin Solutions Ltd and Kamal Agarwala, Founder & CEO, Exactlly Group Of Companies while Indranil Choudhury, co-founder & CEO, Lexplosion Solutions Pvt Ltd moderated the panel.


The session started with a round of introductions, post which the panelists shared their experiences on how they identified the niche segments in which their companies operate today and how they continue to lead in their segment. The topic was very close to the hearts of people on both sides of the table. Most of the attendees represented start-up firms providing products and services in highly specialized fields e.g. weather forecasting, engineering animation, to name a few.

The panelists each had a different yet similar story to tell. The difference primarily lay in how the business idea was conceived. Udai shared the story of how a chance meeting between the company’s founders led to the birth of eRevMax. He said, “Ideas should be rooted in a business need as there have to be takers to start with! When we created the Shopper product, we already knew that rate shopping was a pain point for hotel Revenue Managers and we provided them with an effective solution for it."

When asked as to what the process is to define and succeed in a niche, Udai responded, “To start with, one must focus on both core competence and differentiation in terms of products / services offered. Establishing a niche is only the starting point. Competition will catch up sooner rather than later. Hence meeting the demands of a dynamic market in order to grow requires the ability to identify new opportunities and quickly respond to it. In our case, we continued to identify problems and develop new products to make life easier for revenue managers and today we can say we are the market leaders in hotel online distribution segment.”

Other panelists mentioned how they became niche players by trial and error, as a part of evolving and trying to establish a sustainable business. For a few, the idea stemmed from understanding genuine concerns of customers and a passion to resolve it for them. For yet others the motivation came from a sense of weariness of corporate life and the need to do something challenging.  The challenges faced by companies thereafter were quite similar.

The discussions also touched upon how start-ups find it difficult to attract and retain the right talent pool. The importance of having the right team cannot be emphasized enough!

It turned out to be a great session with meaningful takeaways for attendees. The panel discussion concluded with felicitation of the panelists followed by refreshments which provided networking opportunities to start-up owners keen for more ideas to push their business.

Overall, a well organized and interesting session, and I look forward to other such events. 

Kudos to NASSCOM for the job done well!

For pictures from the event, click here

Anupama Dasgupta is VP – Human Resource at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all HR and Organizational Development activities for RateTiger and eRevMax globally. Anupama is based out of Kolkata and can be reached at anupamadg@erevmax.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

GBTA Convention 2012 – Preview

Come Monday and one of the biggest Business Travel events will kick off in Boston, Massachusetts. With two former US Presidents featuring as key speakers among the biggies of the travel industry, there is surely some exciting time ahead!

With over 1400 pre-registered buyers, the 2012 GBTA Convention will have the largest buyer attendance in its 44 year history, which speaks volumes about the show. The agenda looks well-defined and with huge cuts on global business travel budgets, we can expect to witness hot discussions and debates on ways to achieve more productivity.

How do we do that?
Well with technology moving forward in leaps and bounds, there will be much to catch up on. And of course I will be there at the RateTiger stand 959 speaking to attendees on how they can leverage our tools to achieve ultimate rate transparency

A recent PhoCusWright report mentions how quickly corporate travel bookings are moving online, with over 56% of all business travel bookings to be made over the internet by 2013. The technology boom doubled with increase in mobile and tablet usage has converted corporate travelers into corporate tourists. Further with travel managers keeping a close check on online hotel rates, it has become difficult for hotels to disregard their corporate contracts and offer differential pricing.

New technology and software tools are expected to play an important role with TMCs experiencing increased pressure from companies to thoroughly assess and deliver returns from their travel spend. Corporates are defining stricter ROI metrics to ensure they get ‘more from less’ when it comes to their money spent. Therefore buyers need to look at rates carefully and ensure they are getting the best deal – hence the importance of rate shopping tools (aka RTCorp). Our corporate price management tool will give the transparency needed when negotiating RFPs with hotels.

I look forward to all the discussions and networking, as well as checking out what others in the business travel space are doing. Watch this space for updates when I am back from the show.

Jan Murza is Sales Manager - USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of Orlando, USA and can be reached at janm@ratetiger.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

RateTiger Q2 Sales Meet


I attended the recently held RateTiger Sales Meet in Glasgow. This was the first time I attended this event in my new capacity as Sales Manager UK and I found the whole experience to be very rewarding.

The EMEA team gathered in Erskine Bridge Hotel for two days of team building activities, presentations, trainings and a lot of fun. Brainstorming sessions were conducted on current industry trends and detailed analysis of the company’s sales and marketing strategies were shared. We were treated to a professional training session on advanced presentation skills to enhance our expertise.

Our CEO Michael McCartan shared important company and product updates while Keith Watson, Head of Commercial Operations, gave us inputs on new support structure and processes. Casey Davy, VP Sales EMEA, provided the team with useful tips to a more successful sales process, and ran through some administrative aspects of sales, while Ryan Haynes, VP Marketing, shared the upcoming marketing plans and encouraged us to work closely with partners and associations. 

I was given the opportunity to present my recently prepared competitor mapping analysis and I received a lot of kudos for it. All the sessions were productive and it was a great opportunity for us to come together and share a sense of camaraderie.

And obviously the after-hours parties were a complete hit. We were delighted when we found that we have been booked for ‘A Journey with Taste’ going back into the history of whiskey tasting, sampling the products from the top distilleries across Scotland. This was followed by a late night at The Corinthian Casino Club downtown in Glasgow - a perfect closure to the two day marathon meetings!

More fun pictures here ;)


Cristina Blaj is Sales Manager - UK at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of London, UK and can be reached at cristinab@ratetiger.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Newshound: Trends and Reports - Hotel Online Distribution


Reviews and more reviews: a question of confidence


Efforts are being made to ensure that travellers are getting accurate information that is relevant to them. Even online travel agencies (OTAs) are now diligently integrating reviews on their sites, e-newsletters, promotional campaigns and other outlets. Firstly OTAs are improving descriptions of hotels across the board so that customers can more directly compare rooms and facilities at different hotels. This includes more photos and videos for travellers to browse through. Secondly, the overall contribution from various stakeholders including employees, fellow travellers, hoteliers and so on is on the rise on their sites.
http://www.eyefortravel.com/social-media-and-marketing/reviews-and-more-reviews-question-confidence

How Facebook is Shaping Your 2012 Travel Decisions

Recent studies reveal that what matters most when planning a trip is not where you’re going, but rather who you know that has already traveled to that destination.  Without a doubt, the ubiquitous marketing tool’s unique brand interaction is setting a new beat to the travel pulse. While trusted travel brands unquestionably provide valuable trip advice, word of mouth from a loyal group of friends may be more worthwhile.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/traceygreenstein/2012/07/06/how-facebook-is-shaping-your-2012-travel-decisions/

Hotel Industry Business Outlook: Summer 2012

What does the summer have in store for the hotel industry? The recently published Christie + Co’s Business Outlook Summer 2012 report reveals all. With the banks coming to terms with their positioning and exposure in the hotel sector, the year to date has been typified by some reasonable transactional activity, according to the publication.
http://www.hotel-industry.co.uk/2012/07/hotel-industry-business-outlook-summer-2012/

What online retailers can learn from Orbitz


All stores - both online and physical - should tailor offerings to their purchasing segments. In an online environment, that might mean offering different choices to customers based on their purchase history or the kinds of products they've clicked on in the past.
http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/what_online_retailers_can_learn_from_orbitz

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

HITEC 2012 - The Show That Was!

For four years I was whiling away in the London office, coordinating the prestigious North American tradeshow that is HITEC. Over 5,000km away, the RTConnect and RTSuite sales team along with management members swooned the delegates and built relationships with some of the biggest and brightest hotel tech companies. I waited in earnest to find out their experience, with often William Goldsberry getting overly excited by the opportunities.

2012 – and I am told I get to go. The prospect was daunting, Goldsberry and our CEO tried to reassure me that it is not the big bad beast I imagined. (I was having nightmares of conversations with CIO and CTOs about the best system integration techniques). Indeed they are right, HITEC is a friendly show and much smaller than that of WTM and ITB, but much more specific in its approach.

I met journalists from across all the North American publications; it was a pleasure to meet them in person after 5 years. And their enthusiasm to finally meet the face behind all the emails on product updates, customer wins and case studies, was inspiring. We talked distribution, channel mix, sales opportunities and how RateTiger will be in more places in 2013 than it has done in its 10-year history.

The rest of the team had a good show, in fact I never saw them for the number of meetings they had. The RTConnect team were talking about seamless connectivity, and channel integration as more companies look to direct connect, from CRS to PMS and plenty of channels.

We were pleased to be joined by Trust and Travel Tripper for our post - HITEC meal. We even had chance to head to Fells Point, on the edge of the Baltimore harbour. The old cobbled streets, red brick buildings and array of small restaurants, eateries, bars and pubs reminded me of a quaint town of England – home! We made sure we had some of their finest seafood delicacies including fish and mussels. But, Must go back for the Crab! 






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