NBTA International Convention & Exposition 2010

Earlier this month, I was in Houston to attend the International Convention organized by the National Business Travel Association, the leading Association for the corporate travel community. The event included a full schedule of educational seminars as well as an exhibition floor for travel buyers & sellers to interact.

I was excited to see a gathering of over 6000 attendees from all sectors of the corporate travel vertical including corporate travel executives, airlines, hotel groups, transportation companies, corporate travel management companies, meeting planners and technology companies.

The convention began with the announcement of NBTA’s plan to aggressively pursue a more global approach and its rechristening to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). This was followed by educational sessions covering various aspects of corporate travel.

Key speakers focused on the recovery of the industry over the past 3 quarters with an expected increase in rates for 2011. One of the main topics of conversation was the increase in unbundled fees in the airline industry and the possible implementation of these in the hotel industry to give hotels the opportunity to increase revenues.

I found NBTA Convention to be the perfect platform to introduce RateTiger’s real-time hotel rate benchmarking tool – RTCorp to the corporate travel managers. The corporate travel industry is at a point where corporates need to be able to benchmark their contracted rates so that they can obtain the best possible rates for their companies.

Traditionally corporate travel managers used to contract their hotels once a year for the year. However with the advent of hotel yield management, hotel rates are changing consistently, sometimes on a daily or even hourly basis. RTCorp gives travel managers the opportunity to evaluate their contracted rates against the OTA lowest published rates and provides them with the reports necessary to approach and re-contract their hotels.

Our presence at NBTA helped educate the travel managers as to the value of benchmarking their contracted rates against the OTA rates. Our direct meetings generated a lot of interest amongst the attendees and we found corporate travel managers understanding the need for a benchmarking tool to help them negotiate with their travel suppliers harder and get a better and open deal.

Overall it was a great experience and kudos to NBTA for putting together a very well organized and meaningful event. I look forward to attending the next convention but with a different name – the GBTA International Convention 2011 😉

Mark Neter is International Sales Manager at eRevMax. He is based out of US and can be reached at markn@ratetiger.com

BHA Annual Luncheon

The BHA Luncheon event was an extension of our partnership with British Hotel Association. It took place in the Great Room of the Grosvenor House Hotel on 29th June and had a great turnout of over 700. 
We had the pleasure of inviting both clients and partners to intermingle over a great meal; we were joined by Bridgestreet Apartments, English Rose Hotels, Expedia, The Leonard Hotel, Supranational Hotels, and St. Giles Hotel. 
The BHA Luncheon this year was more special because it ended one era and welcomed another as the CEO Bob Cotton stepped down and the current CEO Ufi Ibrahim stood at the helm.

For us, this was another great opportunity to re-establish contacts with many hotel owners and directors and network with industry peers.

Casey Davy is Sales Manager – UK at eRevMax. He is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. Casey is based out of London and can be reached at caseyd@ratetiger.com

AHP Hotel Distribution Seminario

The last day of June saw the Association of Hotels of Portugal (AHP) organizing a seminar on Hotel Distribution. It brought together a group of experts in the area of hotel distribution to advice hoteliers on best available tools and latest trends in hotel management, online distribution and channel management.

An increasing number of tourists make their hotel reservations via the Internet. Also though the economy is recuperating, it has not held back Portuguese people from traveling. According to “The Travels of the Portuguese in 2010” study conducted in May this year, the Portuguese say they want to travel at least once this year. This has further made hoteliers more optimistic about business and has enhanced the need to distribute online to ensure they get their fair share of bookings from this dynamic medium.
The seminar was therefore a great platform to present directly to owners and hotel managers, marketing managers and marketing directors who are the real decision makers. I conducted a presentation on RateTiger and the concept of our solutions which included the advantages of online distribution; how to distribute more and better without changing its structure; how to boost sales team and how to ensure price parity. 
Other presenters included Zoover (Hotel Review sites and their importance); Viatecla (advantages of integrating review sites and how to monitor them) and Travelport/Galileo Portugal (GDS and Hotels). With over 60 hoteliers present it was just the perfect sized audience for making a strong presence amongst them. 
Overall the seminar was excellent and very productive. I received a lot of questions which showed the interest level of the audience and I was also approached for more information on RateTiger products. I look forward to other sessions by AHP as these are quality events which are purely B2B and helps all involved find what they need.
Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager – Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Spain and can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com

HITEC 2010

The RateTiger USA team attended the annual HITEC event last month. The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) showcased the integration of current technology trends and how the industry is being shaped like never before.

Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando was the hub of all the activities, events and power discussions from June 21–24 as it became a one-stop platform for technology experts, hoteliers, travel companies and industry leaders to network and find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines.

HITEC remains one of the best B2B platforms for RateTiger meeting many PMS and CRS companies who are looking to extend their existing products. This is our chance to present our powerful back-end tools for vendors and large hotel chains, RTCorp and RTConnect, though it amazes me how much of the industry is playing catch-up with new business revenue models through the internet.

The overall footfall at the show was much better compared to last year and that was a big relief for us. The main RateTiger attraction (apart from myself) was the RTSuite iPhone app demo that we showcased to visitors. Customers liked it very much and were interested in the application.

Tradeshows like these provide us an opportunity to see how customers and the industry in general perceive RateTiger. We always get to hear good reviews and appreciation, which further encourages us to innovate and develop new features and products to serve the sector better. I am already looking forward to HITEC 2011. Congratulations to HFTP for making HITEC so successful year after year.

Bill Goldsberry is Director of Int’l Group Sales at eRevMax. He is based out of Florida and can be reached at williamg@ratetiger.com
 

Publituris Portugal Travel Awards 2010

The Publituris Portugal Travel Awards 2010, considered the “Oscars of Tourism in Portugal” took place on 18th June at the beautiful Tivoli Victoria Hotel in Vilamoura.
Our client, the elegant Internacional Design Hotel was conferred with the Best Four Star Hotel in Portugal title. The hotel’s design concept, great location and extraordinary customer service makes staying here a truly memorable experience for guests. 
The impressive, classical facade reveals an exciting and contemporary interior. Each of the hotel’s four floors has a special theme inspired by world cultures. From minimalism and Zen to urban chic, pop art and African touches, each room is different with images, lighting, textures and colors creating a unique and stylish ambience. 
 
Celso Terra Assunção (in picture left), Director of Internacional Design Hotel was present to collect the award. The event was superbly hosted by José Pedro Vasconcelos and also featured a concert by Rodrigo Leão & Cinema Ensemble. The Gala was attended by Bernardo Trindade, Secretary of State for Tourism.
We at RateTiger are pleased to have winners on our side and extend our warm wishes and congratulate every member of the Internacional Design Hotel for winning the coveted trophy and making this chic hotel a truly world class property.
Pilar Sanchez Aita is Sales Manager – Spain & Portugal at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Spain and can be reached at pilara@ratetiger.com

RateTiger Academy Distribution Day, Frankfurt & London

After the launch of RateTiger Academy at ITB Berlin, we organized a couple of Distribution Day seminars this month. The first took place on 8th June in Frankfurt, Germany and the second on 15th June in London, UK. 
My colleague Ulf Guldi accompanied our CEO Sascha Hausmann and a couple of Xotels members for the German seminar; while I was at the London session which had our International Sales VP Keith Povah addressing the attendees.
The concept behind RateTiger Academy is to help hoteliers gain better control over travel channels in changing markets including pricing techniques, revenue management, competitor strategies and distribution management.

The Distribution Day was a full day programme focused on helping hoteliers to optimize their online and offline hotel distribution channels. The seminar focused on bringing renewed insight in today’s hotel distribution landscape and provided alternative techniques and ideas that can help to increase and optimize revenues and profits. 
The highlights included importance of online and offline business, marketing power of individual channels, cost of distribution & channel contribution and distribution power / yielding opportunities.
We planned to have a maximum 25 members for each session but the London seminar got a great response and we had 27 attendees. The session was very fruitful for the hoteliers and we received a lot of positive feedback. They were very happy with all the information and knowledge sharing on revenue management and online distribution concepts and available technologies.

The newly opened H10 Hotel in Waterloo, London proved to be the perfect location for the seminar. The Distribution Day turned out to be a very fulfilling experience for the attendees as well as the organizing team from eRevMax and Xotels.

Casey Davy is Sales Manager – UK at eRevMax. He is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. Casey is based out of London and can be reached at caseyd@ratetiger.com

The Hotel Industry Forum 2010

I was in Portugal in the second week of June to attend the Hotel Industry Forum. The 4-day event took place at the beautiful Grande Real Santa Eulália Resort in Albufeira, an exclusive resort hotel with the perfect combination of elegant standards and relaxed atmosphere.

The Hotel Industry Forum is a premier business platform for executives who work within the UK and European hotel and leisure industry. The event covers the full supply chain requirements of hotel and leisure group operators.

This weekend event brought together buyers and suppliers from various facets of the industry and enabled us to create opportunities for new business, enhance relationships with existing clients, and share best practices amongst industry peers. It was the perfect forum to not only do business but also build close rapport with acquaintances in a socially charged environment.

I met over 35 hoteliers who could be perfect users of RateTiger solutions in the long run. I also managed to contract some new clients and potential upgrades. Overall it was a great opportunity for networking and building long-lasting relationships, as well as reinforcing brand awareness.

Casey Davy is Sales Manager – UK at eRevMax. He is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. Casey is based out of London and can be reached at caseyd@ratetiger.com

IHA Hotel Congress 2010

The German Hotel Association [Hotelverband Deutschland (IHA)] recently organized its Annual Conference from 9 – 11 June in Adendorf, one of the oldest and most beautiful parts of Germany.

Expert sessions on latest developments in the field of Channel Management, Metasearch and Direct bookings, Web Tourism 3.0, Social Media and Mobile trends had packed audiences. Since channel management was one of the key topics, it gave me an opportunity to present RateTiger as the specialist in the field with solutions ranging from benchmarking, allocation to revenue management. This helped raise the level of awareness about RateTiger among the hoteliers present. Listeners became prospects and prospects converted to customers.

The IHA-Get-Together and the Gala evening were culinary delights which fostered networking in a relaxed atmosphere. I really enjoyed attending this well planned event and with good key note speakers and relevant topics, the value of this event increased manifold. With over 150 hoteliers, it was definitely an event worth attending.

Ulf Guldi is Sales Manager – Germany at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of Cologne and can be reached at ulfg@ratetiger.com

Institute of Hospitality Annual Luncheon 2010

The Institute’s Annual Lunch Champagne Reception is one of the top networking and social events in UK’s hospitality industry calendar. It attracts an abundance of senior management professionals, offering a fantastic opportunity to share ideas and build new contacts. The luxurious Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington proved to be the perfect venue for the June 8th event.

This was the first luncheon I’ve had a chance to attend, usually the sales team have their mitts all over these events, but fortunately there was a space at our table for 10. An event of this nature gives me the opportunity to find out more about our customers; who they are, how they run their hotel, what their challenges are and what value they find in RateTiger. For a marketer this is all invaluable information that we can use time and time again; anecdotal information that my team can share with journalists and use within our marketing campaigns.

The event itself was jovial with an excellent presentation by Philippe Rossiter FIH, Chief Executive, and a hilarious speech by another speaker. The three-course lunch was well presented and there was a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. It’s exciting to be part of the IoH as it undergoes change to represent a larger sector of the hospitality industry and diversify with more education-led events. I look forward to the opportunities ahead – and another luncheon!

Ryan Haynes is the Marketing Head at eRevMax and is responsible for driving all PR and Marketing activities of RateTiger and eRevMax brands globally. Ryan is based out of London and can be reached at
ryanh@ratetiger.com

Revenue Management – A Look At 2010

The North California chapter of HSMAI organized an educational luncheon last month at Hotel Adagio in San Francisco. The team brought together a panel of leaders in Bay Area Revenue Management, all experts in their field.

I managed to be there and was glad about my decision. The topics revolved around new Revenue Management Strategies for 2010 & beyond and long term growth strategies for developing market share. Panelists included Gerald O’Rourke from Hilton, Mandy Kam from San Francisco Downtown Marriott Hotels and Gregory Weiss from Joie de Vivre Hospitality and they shared some really interesting insights.

The event was meant for hoteliers and revenue managers. This helped me develop new contacts locally and further popularize RateTiger. For a local event, it was good and I would like to be around for such events.

Bill Goldsberry is the Director of Int’l Group Sales at eRevMax. He is based out of Florida and can be reached at williamg@ratetiger.com