A couple of weeks back I was in Dubai to attend the Arabian Travel Market with my colleague. It was our first visit to a mid-east event and hence I would like to share a bit of background detail on the event. Organized by Reed Exhibitions, organizers of World Travel Market in London, ATM is the principal travel and tourism exhibition in the Middle East, attracting exhibitors from all over the region as well as from Asia, Europe, South America, etc. This was the 17th edition of ATM and it continues to grow in importance and size.
Many hotel brands exhibited at the event including major international chains like Accor, Starwood, Marriott, IHG, etc. as well as the larger regional players like Rotana, Coral and Ramee. The independent hotels and smaller chains were also present and were operating from booths on destination stands like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A separate section was dedicated to Travel &Technology companies which had representations from OTAs including HRS, Expedia, etc. and a couple of providers such as Amadeus.
My colleague Sudhir and I concentrated on exhibitors from our respective regions – generally only meeting up in the evenings to discuss the day’s happening and then moving on to sample the extremely varied nightlife Dubai has to offer. We managed quite a few meetings with prospective hoteliers and presented RTSuite solutions to them. Channel management solutions are not widespread in the region and are mostly used by 5 star hotels.
However with the growth of ecommerce and shift in booking patterns from offline to online channels, many hotels, including single star and standalone properties, are now looking to work more actively with online channels. The feedback I received was very encouraging and hoteliers were very receptive to my presentation of RateTiger solutions.
Overall I am very pleased with the interest shown by exhibitors – it seems the timing is right for us to focus on the region, as previously hotels were not selling through enough channels to warrant the investment. ATM was definitely worth a visit and I will surely be back next year.
Giles Gurney is Sales Manager – Europe & Middle East for corporate products at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He can be reached at email@example.com