FITUR 2010 (Feria Internacional de Turismo)

The 30th edition of the International Tourism Fair in Madrid, FITUR 2010, has left us enthusiastic as we experienced overtones of recovery in the sector. This edition won’t be remembered as the brightest in terms of participation and spending, but has left a good taste in projects and good wishes from the exhibitors.

The data shared showed some light at the end of the tunnel: although the area covered by the fair has declined over the previous year, the number of participating countries, 170, still held FITUR between 2 or 3 main trade shows in the tourism industry.
In general, stands were smaller and somewhat simpler than in previous editions, but some have been very original considering the lack of budget with creative designs. The overall size has fallen from 12 to 10 halls.

RateTiger was present at this year’s CEHAT booth (Spanish National Hotel Association) to strengthen our market presence and confidence in the Hotel sector.

During FITUR we announced the integration agreement with Tradyso – one of the major CRS in the Spanish market- the new integration will help Tradyso’s 1000 customer hotels to completely automate and streamline online distribution and management through itsTradyso CRS.

FITUR has made clear commitment to the Online sector, Web 2.0, technology, social networking, video marketing among others during FITURTECH conferences.

Following this concept, the Director of Turespaña (Spanish Tourist offices), Antonio Bernabe, presented at Fitur the new campaign that will promote tourism in Spain through social networks under the slogan “Spain, a country to share.” The concept of this new promotional campaign is based on Spaniards touring different Spanish cities and divulging the secrets and local attractions, sharing information and experiences in order to attract foreign tourists through networks like facebook, twitter and YouTube.

FITUR also offered solidarity to the recently destroyed island nation of Haiti and provided a complimentary stand at the trade show.

In summary, this 30th edition has shown us, above all, the enthusiasm for the recovery of a sector affected by the global crisis and the opening of new tourist destinations that focus on online distribution as an unbeatable engine to boost sales.

Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager for Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at

INFOCOM 09-10: Creating business opportunities through social media marketing

INFOCOM 09-10, the largest congregation of ICT professionals, corporate leaders, academicians and policy makers in India is organized in Kolkata annually. The recently concluded event had quite a few parallel sessions on ICT focused topics. Creating business opportunities through social media marketing was one of the interesting sessions that I attended.

The session attracted around 50 – 60 people with a good mix of students, executives, as well as senior members from various business houses and corporates. The two main speakers Sriram from Iridium Interactive and Siddharth from Indusgeeks shared engrossing insights about social media marketing and virtual gaming marketing respectively. The session focused on the growing need for Indian businesses to look at social media marketing as an important aspect of their overall marketing plan.

Sriram shared quite a few Indian examples as to how corporates like ICICI, Reliance etc have handled rumors and criticisms and used the right crisis management measures to ensure consistent brand image. He also laid stress on the fact that content on various media is beyond a company’s control. Hence one needs to be very proactive in their approach and respond to these conversations to clearly put forward their stand on the discussed context. Platforms like Facebook, twitter, blogs etc today are being effectively used as effective marketing and PR tools in the West and Indian businesses too need to start adopting it.

On the other hand, Siddharth brought in a new angle to the session by sharing videos on how virtual gaming like Second Life and other such forums are the future of marketing. He stressed on the need to target the growing population who now have a virtual Avatar (he referenced the recently released blockbuster Avatar) and link with them. Certain examples he shared – Advertising in Sports-focused-online-games is today one of an attractive ways to reach out to a huge fan base instantly. These are the new techniques that he is promoting and also the fact that its no more about Brand campaigns..infact we are in a transformational stage, today it is more about Brand Experience.

The key take aways from the session – One cannot just rely on the online impressions being generated by a brand anymore, there is an increasing need to provide visitors with a brand experience. This then needs to be measured by the amount of time they spend on your web pages, responses on you blog, tweet backs, discussions around your brand etc. Hence an effective digital & social media marketing strategy is a must for any brand today.

BTL 2010

The 22nd edition of BTL – Bolsa de Turismo de Lisboa- 2010 which was held from 13 – 17 January 2010, showed mixed signs of caution in the Portuguese Hotel sector. Inaugurated by Minister of Economy, Innovation and Development, José Vieira da Silva, BTL witnessed more than 1,000 companies exhibiting from 45 countries.

Alongside the Portuguese Tourism Awards, which, for the 5th time is being hosted at BTL, Bernardo Trindade, Secretary of State for Tourism, emphasized the importance of perspective in 2010, in close coordination with national tourism industry. To reverse the downward trend in 2009, he called for the participation of all stakeholders in the sector and pledged to support and provide solidarity of the Government in this strategic economic sector.

However hoteliers had concerns of their own related to the economic downturn. Many of the revenue managers and proprietors I spoke to were interested in ways they can boost revenues. The industry in Portugal is experiencing falling occupancy, it reached less than 70% last year, and RevPar approximately to EUR 48,00 – below that of 2008.

Bernardo Trindade also encouraged investors and welcomed the role of BTL as reflecting the pulse of the industry and demonstrate the efforts of private investment.

I consider BTL to be quite productive, I had the opportunity to meet 26 hotels, Groups, Chains and local OTA’s to show the benefits of channel management products, also I meet AHP (Portuguese Hotel Association) for our Membership agreement to strengthen our relationship with the Hoteliers in Portugal.

This is the 3rd year RateTiger attended BTL and that confirms our interest in the market and give us the recognition in the Hotel sector.

Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager for Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sale of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at