Last month I visited Durban to attend ‘The WTM of Africa’ – INDABA. It is one of the largest travel trade events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar.

INDABA showcases the widest variety of Southern Africa’s best tourism products, and attracts international visitors and media from across the world.

I attended all four days of the tradeshow as it had a huge focus on hotels and related products. The main trend affecting the regional market is the swift movement of hotels from GDS to OTAs and localized agents. I got an opportunity to network with industry peers and found INDABA to be great event. I look forward to the next edition of the show.

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

BITAC Tech & Operations 2011

BITAC is a technical show with vendors ranging from energy management systems to security systems to kitchen inventory management to just about anything that a hotel might need.  It basically provides hotels with opportunity to explore better ways of running their hotel operations at affordable prices.

The main discussions revolved around the need for being economical in all purchases. Hoteliers are looking at everything with magnifying glass, very careful in what they invest and how they spend their money. Vendor relationships were touched upon and examples of service providers who stuck by hoteliers in bad times were highlighted.

Overall BITAC was a nice event with lot of networking opportunities and good exposure for us.

Jan Murza is Sales Manager – USA at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. He is based out of Orlando and can be reached at


I was invited to Ibiza last month for the OnLiners event where online marketing and distribution companies got to meet and interact with local hoteliers. The idea was to introduce hoteliers to the online selling opportunities and the huge potential it holds for them.

Ibiza is a small island where the local travel agents have been the only distribution channels for hoteliers. With online travel gaining momentum globally and OTAs offering attractive distribution options, many local hoteliers are eager to explore and make the most of online opportunities. Some however are wary and still very tied to tour operation contracts and guaranties and cannot play with their prices and allotments.

Various OTAs did presentations for hoteliers, showcasing benefits they offer and how they help them reach out to wider audiences. We did a presentation on how to sell online and importance of managing channels efficiently. Specific focus was paid on online distribution and marketing initiatives that will help hotels generate bookings and garner better revenues.

Overall it was a great networking platform for all involved to come together and share ideas and experiences for the benefit of others. 

Cristina Hernández is Sales Manager – Spain at eRevMax and is responsible for sales of RateTiger products in the region. She can be reached at

RateTiger @ ITB Berlin 2011

As the organizers describe – “ITB Berlin is THE B2B-Platform for trade visitors – an excellent opportunity to meet business partners and to do business. For all other visitors ITB Berlin is a wonderful possibility to discover the whole world within a few hours.” I completely agree with the event’s definition based on my experience at ITB Berlin 2011.

This year had a buzz like no previous that I had attended – this was my third time in Berlin for this mammoth travel event and no longer did we have people wander past our stand asking us what is channel management? Instead hotels wanted and needed a channel manager. This was such an amazing positive change for us and the industry

We had over 6 journalists come by for conversations with us to discuss some of the key trends in social media, new digital sales techniques and integrated channel management technologies. Many were very interested in the NH Hotels implementation of our tools.

Siew Hoon of Web in Travel stopped by and we had a vibrant conversation on how we can best educate hotels and make them into more informed buyers – so it looks like I have a lot of work on my hands to create more content and informative articles.

Among the various topics of discussion, I attended two sessions as part of the hospitality distribution programme; Holiday Hotels and Online Booking Behaviour that showed how the online buyer has changed and should not be stereotyped however it did find that expensive luxury trips are still more frequently being purchased offline – from findings by GfK Research Panels.

I also attended Social Media and Mobile Devices and the types of people using these for booking and research; it was interesting that only a few years ago we were saying that ‘nearly’ 50% of travel is booked online, now we are saying ‘over’ 50% of travellers are engaging with social media and consumer travel reviews that is having a major affect on purchase decisions both before and during the holiday.

We had so much to talk about and so many developments for the business that the discussions were much more diverse than just hotel channel management – this makes me look forward to next year’s event.

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


The 23rd edition of Bolsa de Turismo Lisboa (BTL) took place from 23rd to 27th February 2011 after having been postponed from January. The change in dates proved to be a good decision by the organizers as this year’s event saw over 74,000 visitors and around 990 exhibitors, a big jump from all previous editions.

The organizers of BTL were overwhelmed with the response and said, “This year’s success strengthens the position of BTL as a business platform of reference for both professionals (9% increase in national professional credential) and for the public seeking a chance to meet in one place. BTL is today the largest and most comprehensive international tourism fair to be held in Portugal. The date change has proved correct in the areas of internationalization and strategic marketing of package tours for the general public, which corresponded with a great turnout.”

The hotel industry in Portugal is experiencing falling occupancy and RevPar, reason why hoteliers and revenue managers were keen to find ways to boost revenues. We spoke to many hoteliers and helped them with their concerns and queries. I personally consider BTL to be a productive event as I had the opportunity to organize 28 one-on-one meetings with hoteliers and local OTAs to show them the benefits of channel management products. The local media too was interested in meeting with us to gain more information about our products and services.

I have been attending this event for the last four years and I see a growing change in the Portuguese hotel market. Hoteliers now understand the need for a channel manager and are maturing to the concept of online distribution. They are aware of the benefits and ROI they can derive if they leverage the right technologies properly.

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 Madrid and can be reached at

Florida Huddle

Organized at the Daytona Beach from 23 – 25 January, Florida Huddle turned out to be a great event for us.

The event focuses completely on buyer-supplier meetings and is a good platform to meet prospective buyers and close deals. This year’s event saw a turnout of over 350 people which is very good for an event of this size.

The discussions revolved around the hoteliers’ concern over the extremely low ADR in Orlando while Miami and other south coastal areas witness an improvement in performance and rates. More than 200 hoteliers were present and all were eager to find out the best way to take prices up again.

RateTiger’s major advantage this year was our stand’s location in the VIP lounge, receiving a lot of visitor traffic. Jonathan and I managed to meet a lot of attendees to whom we showcased RateTiger and its suite of premium online channel management tools.

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 signed many new contracts at the event therefore very successful.

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

FITUR 2011

With the recovering markets, we were excited to see how major trade events in Spain would open. The first major event of the year – FITUR 2011 hosted a total of 10,500 exhibitors from 166 countries and regions in January. It showcased a good representation of hospitality companies and technology providers while the increase in visitor turnover reached 200,000.

Her Majesty Queen Sofia inaugurated the 31st edition of FITUR. This official opening by the Royal family once again proves their unconditional support for the tradeshow and, in general, for the Spanish tourism sector.

During the FITURTECH conference, the discussions focused mostly on topics like online sector, web 2.0, innovative technologies, social networking and video marketing among others. Further hoteliers were also keen to discuss about the market conditions as well as means and ways to improve the Average Room Rate.

We represented RateTiger at the event and had various meetings pre-arranged at our stand. We also attracted a lot of general visitors which gave us an opportunity to showcase the main product line RTSuite and at the same time highlight new tools like RTReview and other additional modules.

It was a well-planned event and we look forward to many more editions of this wonderful event.

Catch all the action at RateTiger stand here in these pictures.

Pilar Sanchez Aita and Cristina Hernandez are Sales Managers at eRevMax and are responsible for sale of RateTiger products in Portugal and Spain. Reach them on and respectively.

Sales and Marketing Online, November 2010

The Sales and Marketing Online was a one-day conference in Warsaw, Poland organized on 16th November 2010. With various sessions focused on online distribution, there were speakers from across the industry including the likes of Daniel Łukaszewicz – HOOBI, Alexander Ryll – Avvio, Jakob Riegger – TrustYou, Brendan May – IdeaS as well as Keith Povah – RateTiger.

RateTiger was invited to present in the Plenum session on “Channel Management” and the presentation title was How does online distribution help improve Yield Management strategies”. Keith gave interesting examples on how our client hoteliers have leveraged online channel management strategies to increase occupancy and revenue.  The presentation by Brendan from Ideas was also very well received and he mentioned how their partnership with RateTiger brings added value to hoteliers.

Over 55 delegates comprising hotel owners, Revenue Managers, Managing Directors and Sales Managers attended the event. The delegates received us very well due to the relevant content of our presentation. We were also invited to conduct a workshop on RTSuite products which was a great success.

The organizers Concept Media conducted a survey and found that 26 hotels out of 55 attending hoteliers wanted to learn more about RTSuite products and RateTiger. Overall it was a great event which provided us with good networking opportunity especially with small to medium sized groups.

Aldona Kaczmarczyk
Sales Manager, Poland

NASSCOM Product Conclave, November 2010

The NASSCOM Product Conclave held annually in Bangalore is a confluence of innovative minds and entrepreneurial spirit of the Indian Products Ecosystem. This year, the focus was on “Scaling New Heights – From cloud adoption to lean startup models” and the Conclave took place from 10 -11 November 2010 at Hotel Lalit Ashok.

Among various sessions that formed a part of this conclave, I found Cloud computing – Transformation to the cloud, Building products for Billion Indians, The New Internet: An Economy of Scale and partnership and Product companies’ problem and solution, to be particularly interesting.

I gathered of lot of information and this knowledge would be of immense help to me going forward. Some of my key take-aways include a clearer understanding on various concepts like entrepreneurship, people management as well as virtualization and cloud computing.

Further the event turned out to be a good networking platform and I got an opportunity to meet many like-minded people including some industry colleagues. The interaction with some of the speakers was also very encouraging and I look forward to attending more of such events in the future.

I cannot complete this post without mentioning NASSCOM who did a fantastic job of organizing, coordinating and executing this whole event so efficiently and professionally.

C. Dharmaraj
Chief Architect, Bangalore

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