The movers and shakers of the travel industry (that includes us!) will be converging on Berlin this week for the 49th ITB Berlin trade show.
Over 10,000 exhibitors from 190 countries and territories will be spread across 26 halls. It's going to be big!
ITB Berlin was already a significant networking event for the industry, but with heightened international tension (Ukraine, Russia) and ongoing financial uncertainty, it has become an “important networking platform and marketing instrument for exhibitors and trade visitors”, said Dr. Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Center Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin. “As the world’s leading travel trade show it accurately reflects economic developments in this sector”, he said in Travel Daily News.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of ITB Hospitality Day, a free event organised by Maria Pütz-Willems, Editor in Chief of HospitalityInside.com, which is expecting over 2,000 attendees. Driving the conversation is a host of topics that are on everyone’s mind right now.
High on the list is protecting hotels and systems against hacking and cyber-attacks. On Thursday, 5 March 2015, two leading cyber specialists, Stefan Hölzner and Dr. Florian Kohlar from KPMG Security Consulting will be giving a live demonstration of how hotels can protect against sophisticated hackers intent on stealing consumer data.
The sharing economy will also be debated, with a panel moderated by Hans-Juergen Klesse, a journalist for the German magazine, Wirtschaftswoche.
The big question is, with multi-billion dollar startups, like Uber (current valuation: $41bn) and Airbnb (valuation: $13bn) leading the “sharing economy”, how will the travel industry adapt? Marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon, are not a new concept. What's new, is this peer-to-peer model is being applied to travel and tourism, in the same way, that OTA’s changed the way people find and book hotels and flights.
Will the industry just have to live alongside these new competitors or are there ways we can start fighting back?
There will also be talks on the evolving impact of IT, the emergence of new hotel styles which speak more to Millennial travelers (Budget & Lifestyle) and digital vs. real values, hosted by YOTEL CEO, Hubert Viriot and Gesine Haag, the founder of Barefoot living. These two experienced entrepreneurs will discuss how hotels can gain a greater understanding of what consumers want, and how they can stay up to date without chasing trends too hard.
Increasingly, consumers want to feel a deeper connection to brand “values” which resonate with their personal values, hopes and aspirations, which some hotels can struggle to capture and understand.We have spoke to thousands of hotel owners, and understand these challenges first hand, which is why we launched our PriceCheck widget as a new way to help hotels demonstrate their prices are on par with OTA’s.