RateTiger visits Italian hospitality events

With various hospitality focused events taking place around the globe, we try our best to find out the best ones to attend. Recently I visited a couple of events – TFP in Milan and Revenue Day in Rome. Both were completely different events and though TFP Milan had a good turn-out, I really enjoyed the much smaller Revenue Day session which was very interesting and focused.

TFP was massive in scale with over 2500 people present but since the focus was focused on hospitality recruitment, I found the event to be a bit boring. On the other hand Revenue Day had around 50 hoteliers and the main speaker was the famous Italian Revenue Manager Franco Grasso who did an interesting training type session on revenue strategies.

I also got an opportunity to do a short presentation explaining how to apply Revenue Management through technology products like RTSuite and RTStrategyEngine. I was also invited to share inputs on channel management opportunities present to hoteliers today. Other discussion topics included Web 2.0, Brand Reputation, etc.

I feel such training sessions and Revenue Day organized by different associations are very helpful , not only for us as technology providers but also for hoteliers as they get exposed to various upcoming and useful tools that can be of immense help in their day to day operations.

I look forward to researching and attending various other such events in Italy.

Enzo Aita is Sales Manager – Italy at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. Enzo is based out of Italy and can be reached at enzoa@ratetiger.com

Florida Huddle 2010

Organized at St. Petersburg/Clearwater from January 24 through to January 26, 2010, Florida Huddle turned out to be a great event for me.

The event focuses completely on buyer-supplier meetings and is a good platform to meet prospective buyers and close deals. A new segment called the Travel Service Provider has now been incorporated as well. However they need to clearly define the requisites to qualify as supplier and /or travel service provider.

The discussions at the event revolved around the current economic scenario, similar to the OHV agenda. Hoteliers in Florida too are driving occupancy and not ADR. More than 165 hoteliers were present in the total gathering of 200 plus visitors and all were eager to find out the best way to take prices up again.

From the business perspective, presence at Florida Huddle is always lucrative as it allows decision makers from the buyer and supplier sides to meet directly and cut deals. RateTiger too signed many new contracts at the event and it was a very successful event for all involved.

Siobhain McArdle is Sales Manager for south eastern states of USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She is based out of Florida and can be reached at siobhainm@ratetiger.com

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 pilara@ratetiger.com

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 pilara@ratetiger.com

WTM 2009

World Travel Market has consistently performed as a fantastic tradeshow within the hospitality community over the years, and 2009 was no different. Despite the industry having high cloud coverage over the past 18 months, WTM’09 was an excellent exhibit of the bright light at the end of tunnel for bustling hoteliers.

Both new and veteran exhibitors alike will testify that this year’s event was well attended, and more importantly attended by the right parties. At RateTiger we definitely felt the presence of hoteliers and OTA’s visiting our stand with intent. Visitors have become shoppers! As a result, our expanded stand was constantly lively and packed with prospective hoteliers roaring with the desire to put a tiger in their hotel.

WTM has always been a dynamic event not only for generating new clients, and building on existing relationships but also for creating new partnerships and sharing great ideas. For me personally, the event was a great success, especially hearing the many stories from hoteliers’ on how RateTiger tools have already or will in the future save them time and help maximise revenue.

Without a doubt I look forward to WTM 2010. See you there next year.

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

2009 NBTA International Convention & Exposition

San Diego recently witnessed the very successful NBTA International Convention & Exposition organized by National Business Travel Association (NBTA). It turned out to be a very busy event where I met many old friends from the industry, which is not a surprise given that over 5,600 travel professionals attended the 4-day event (August 23 -26, 2009) at the San Diego Convention Center.

The setting was spectacular as the convention center was situated right on the waterfront. The attendees were a blend of airlines, hotels, software providers, OTAs and travel company representatives.

The discussions mainly revolved around how to survive the current economic scenario. There were over 65 educational sessions where industry experts from the corporate travel community discussed business travel growth in today’s volatile economy and shifting corporate culture. It was a very intense and active convention with a blend of all the components of the travel experience.

With more than 400 exhibitors and 1240 travel buyers, it was a good milieu of people. A big advantage from RateTiger’s perspective was the opportunity to meet up with independent hotel groups face to face. The added access to the OTAs was a huge plus which helped develop rapport with them for future business relationship.

I would conclude by saying that the NBTA Convention is rightly known as the Business Travel Event of the Year. It has lived up to its reputation and is one of the few successful travel events in recent times.

Phil Stiles is the Vice President of Sales at RateTiger. He manages RateTiger’s sales and support operations in North, Central and South America regions and has facilitated the expansion of the RateTiger brand in the US market leading to increased business opportunities. Phil is based in RateTiger’s Florida office and travels to the European and Indian offices when work demands. Being a new business specialist, he attends various travel trade shows throughout the year to keep himself abreast of latest developments.

UK rates fall – the first time in four years

The first news to hit the wires on Monday continued to throw gloom into the financial markets with Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index (HPI) revealing rates for rooms in the UK to have fallen for the first time since 2004.

The HPI indicates that in the final quarter of 2008 prices dropped 4% to an average of £97 per room per night compared to £101 a year earlier. The rates are representative of many major UK cities as hoteliers scramble to maximise occupancy over rates. However, properties in more remote regions, like Inverness in Scotland experienced a rate decline of 15%.

A new report from Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) hospitality and leisure team claim that rates in London will decline as much as 23% in 2009. While on average it will drop by approximately 10% across the UK.

It is essential today that hoteliers focus on expanding their sales channels and market outreach. This will help to maximise opportunities and secures bookings in the short, mid and long-term. Since 1995, the internet has experienced a significant increase in bookings with travel websites gradually becoming the key source for consumer’s travel purchases.

Employing proper channel management technologies will enable hotels to identify appropriate selling rates through competitor benchmarking. Allocation mechanisms will then help to allocate inventory to the most successful and relevant channels to maximise occupancy. In a single year, total business via the internet for Thistle’s 56 hotels increased 130%:

“Basically, Rate Tiger gives the hotel an understanding of what the demand is and what is happening so we choose our rate wisely,” said Warren Mandelbaum, Area Revenue Manager, Thistle.

2009 is a year that requires exploring opportunities presented by online sales channels, focussing on price and offering to capture a share of the difficult market.

Welcome to the RateTiger blog

Welcome to the RateTiger blog. As channel management specialist for the hospitality industry we provide tools for hoteliers to easily benchmark and distribute rates and inventory online. Going forward this blog will provide you with news, insights and industry activities to keep you informed of developments in our sector.

The RateTiger blog will be updated regularly with news items that will be of interest to hoteliers selling rooms across the internet; reviews of events from our representatives across the world; and an insight to the thoughts and feelings of key players in the channel management space.

The online channel management market is a new and exciting industry only coming into its own over the past few years with the rise of popular consumer travel booking engines like for example Expedia, Lastminute and bookings.com. In 2007 nearly half of all travel bookings in the US were made through online channels. The internet enables consumers to look for deals online rather than rely on traditional travel sources. Watching the trend, online distribution sites seem to have an even more significant impact on hotel bookings over the next few years.

Therefore, hoteliers selling rooms across multiple distribution websites are continuously increasing the number of channels they distribute inventory too. It seems more important than ever to ensure updates are accurate and management of these channels is not extremely time intensive.

With a weak economy channel management becomes even more a priority for hoteliers to help maximise rates and occupancy. This blog will help identify ways you can make the most of the market.