BTL – Bolsa de Turismo de Lisboa- 2009, defied industry trends receiving 71,121 visitors, a growth of 6% on last year. According to a statement from the organizers the show “supplanted the original expectations,” not only by the number of visitors it received, but also by the satisfaction shown by most of the 900 exhibitors at FIL (Feria Internacional de Lisboa).
In addition over 40 international destinations and 600 foreign professionals participated in the event across four halls of the FIL in the first two days of the event, when the show was only for industry and trade professionals.
There was positive feeling expressed at BTL during the official inauguration by Vítor Neto, president of the Organizing Committee; “This is not a BTL of crisis and defeatism. BTL is one of trust, responsibility and determination, who wants to show everyone that the Tourism in Portugal enjoys good health and has strength and determination to overcome the challenges it faces.”
However hoteliers had concerns of their own related to the economic downturn. Many of the revenue managers and proprietors we spoke to were interested in ways they can boost revenues. The industry in Portugal is experiencing falling occupancy and RevPar – below that of 2007. The largest annual decline in occupancy was for 5 star hotels, down 11.6% to 49.8%. RevPar for 5 stars is down 5.2%.
Rural Initiatives BTL and Business BTL, which debut this year at the exhibition, had a very good turnout. We expect that these elements of the show will continue for 2010.
One of our customers, Group Vila Galé Hotels won recognition for the design of their exhibition stand. Group Vila Galé unveiled the new company logo and introduced a membership card Vila Galé Premium that works as a credit/payment card and loyalty programme. The hotel chain also announced the opening of Vila Galé Lagos, a four-star superior hotel on 25 April 2009.
We at RateTiger consider BTL to be quite productive. Our Sales Manager Pilar Sanchez Aita had the opportunity to meet 20 hotels to show the benefits of channel management products.