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

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

CEHAT Congress 2010

Recently, I had an opportunity to be at Santiago de Compostela, a World Heritage City, and the capital of Galicia in Spain. I was there to attend the eleventh edition of the CEHAT Congress, the Spanish Hotel Association’s bi-annual conference for the hospitality industry.

Being a significant association, CEHAT gets its share of importance and its events are well attended by members as well as the media. The Congress attracted an attendance of over 350 this year. The opening ceremony was conducted by the Minister for Galician Tourism, Carmen Pardo Lopez; President of CEHAT, Juan Molas, and the President of the Hotel Association of Galicia, Hector Cañete del Campo.

During his speech, Juan Molas laid stress on the importance of public – private collaboration to take the industry forward and to help it emerge from the current economic situation. Some of the topics which garnered a lot of attention were “Is the tourism sector in a recession?” and “Analysis of the current situation and its impact on the hospitality industry”. Given the relevance of the two topics, these turned out to be the crowd pullers.

The first topic – “Is the tourism sector in a recession?” had the President of Hotusa, Amancio López Seijas sharing his comment – ‘the tourism sector has a young and dynamic business network, and is capable of pushing globalization and that is their best hope.’ The other speakers in this session were Marisol Turro, President of Sercotel and Alfonso Castellanos, CEO of Mindproject, while it was moderated by Carlos Diaz, VP of CEHAT. The panel discussed numerous issues, including the fragmentation of the sector and the inevitable process of concentration which is working, training and the need for labor reform, the relationship with distribution channels, the role of government, the risks of competing in prices and the importance of tending to specialization, the oversupply or depletion model of “sun and beach”.

The other important discussion was on ‘Analysis of the current situation and its impact on the hospitality industry’. Here the speakers included former Treasury minister, Carlos Solchaga, and the President of the Council of Chambers, Javier Gómez Navarro. Both agreed that while the number of passengers and occupancy figures this summer will look like the high season of 2009, the room rates will show a different graph as it is expected to continue falling, and therefore comparison of the margins may not be positive.

The CEHAT Congress is a must attend event for RateTiger and I will ensure I am around here in each edition. I had the opportunity to set-up meetings with many Hotel Groups, Associations and Independent Hotels and it provided an unparallel business platform to foster long-term relationships and also strengthen the unique relationship RateTiger has with CEHAT as members.

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

Executive Vendor Summit 2010

Our jet setting CEO Sascha Hausmann was in Houston, Texas earlier last month to attend Hospitality Upgrade’s invitation-only Executive Vendor Summit. From what he tells us, it turned out to be a good show and he enjoyed being there those three days.
With lots of executives from across the industry present, the networking session was bound to be productive and meaningful. Even the line up of speakers was impressive and he particularly enjoyed the sessions by Jim Underwood (professor & author) and Colonel Philip A. Bossert, Jr who is Commander, Air Force ROTC Detachment 003, and Professor of Air Force.
Jim’s address focused on how companies can use strategic alignment to overcome adversity. Interestingly he is a leading expert in the field of chaotics and strategy and has authored books like Thriving In E-Chaos which won the International Competia Award 2001, and More Than A Pink Cadillac, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal best-selling book.
Colonel Philip was the dinner speaker and he spoke about leadership and alternative management. With real life examples, he managed to have a captive audience and the attendees were really impressed by his repertoire of case histories.
An event worth attending as the organizers put in lot of effort to get the right speakers, attendees and create the right ambience for a summit of this stature. Congratulations of Hospitality Upgrade for putting up a successful show!

Arabian Travel Market 2010

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 gilesg@ratetiger.com


As every year, March is the month during which the international hospitality industry meets in Hamburg for INTERNORGA. Europe’s biggest trade fair of its kind has a remarkable tradition – in 2010 the harbor city in Northern Germany saw its 84th INTERNORGA. Between 12 and 17 March, 1,105 exhibitors from 28 countries presented their products and services to more than 100,000 trade visitors from all over the world.

However, as in past years, RateTiger has not been amongst these exhibitors but focused its sales force on ITB, which took place partly parallel to INTERNORGA. The reason is plain: the trade show has a strong focus on gastronomy rather than hotel technology. Visitors are more likely to be concerned with choosing a new kitchen or some supplier for frozen food than with optimizing their online sales channels.

Yet there have been good reasons for me to spend two days at this vibrant event – the hospitality journalists. The journalists visit INTERNORGA en masse, to find out about new products to write on, catch new advertising clients, or new subscribers for their publications. It’s a great opportunity to have so many press contacts in one place, to update them about the various developments at eRevMax and RateTiger!

Being a Hamburger born, these two days have been a home match for me, and while I believe that INTERNORGA is not likely the best place to meet software buyers, I am convinced that it’s a perfect chance to intensify press relations. Last year we’ve had several articles published after INTERNOGA, particularly our case studies. This year I’ve met with the journalists of six publications plus the editor of an online news portal, and they’re all keen to write on channel management some time this year.

Everyone agreed that it’s necessary to educate hoteliers about the potential as well as the demands of the online market. Multiple channels require constant and strategic updating, which seems frightening and impossible for certain hoteliers, but at the same time the chance exists to increase occupancy and make money.

Like last year, INTERNORGA 2010 has been a success, with us managing to divert editors’ attention to channel management and online distribution. German editors have begun to associate channel management know-how explicitly with RateTiger, proving that eRevMax’s strategy to focus on education and training works out.

Jasmin Keller is the PR Representative – Germany at eRevMax and is responsible for all PR activities of RateTiger in the region. Jasmin is based out of Germany and can be reached at ratetiger@jasminkeller.com.

ITB Berlin 2010

ITB Berlin 2010 has kicked-off to an excellent start as our CEO completes a contract of partnership with Micros as RateTiger technologies further integrates with Micros Opera suite to provide channel management features. Our sales managers have also been bouncing around the very large exhibition centre meeting with hotels chains and property owners to display the wide-range of services RateTiger provides.

This year we are also providing support to manage Advertising campaigns with our special partner TravelScream; hoteliers seem to be lapping this up while trying to get their head around how we are integrating all their processes into one – their eyes often beam when we say that as they realise how much time they will save.

Our RTSchool is being received with great interest, the Distribution Days in May and June will help hoteliers understand and get a greater grasp of multi-channel sales through a programme exploring channel management in changing markets with Xotels.

This year we have installed a large and impressive touch-screen display on our stand in hall 8.1 which is currently running the RateTiger iPhone application. Those RateTiger team members with an iPhone are proudly and excitedly presenting it to all delegates visiting us.

There is a constant stream of attendees through the Technology Hall all of which are at least pausing by the RateTiger stand in interest. It seems this is the year of channel management – we are all really feeling it, suddenly hoteliers truly understand how these technologies work and the necessity for them.

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

Collecting the European Seal of E-Excellence 2010

We were honored to achieve the accolade of European Seal of E-Excellence for a second year in the row.The award recognized our commitment to providing intuitive and innovative solutions for the hospitality industry. Following last year’s success for RTStrategyEngine, this year it was time for RTSuite to take centre stage.

We applied for the European Seal of E-Excellence following the completion of our consolidation of hotel products (Shopper, Allocator and ChannelManager) into the single user-interface RTSuite. RTSuite was welcomed by our customers utilising two products, now making it quicker, faster and more efficient to manage multiple channels while remaining competitive.

The European Seal of E-Excellence was presented at the famous global technology show – CeBIT in Hannover, Germany. Here, companies have launched and unveiled new and life changing technologies from the Apple iPhone to Google Maps – I had the chance to get up close and personal with one of the Google Filming Cars – pretty meaty machines! So, with innovation being at the forefront of CeBIT it was only natural for the European Seal to be presented here.

The 60-minute ceremony acknowledged innovations and technologies from all across Europe followed by a social event for winners to discuss their award-winning tools. It became apparent that the theme was social media, from research to aggregation to dissemination – most of the winners worked across these new digital platforms providing solutions to help companies manage new business opportunities.

It was also interesting to learn that the recession hit the technology industry hard and CeBIT had fewer exhibitors than previous years, as noted by many delegates and witnessed by many bare spaces. However many are confident that it will pick up in the next 12months after a years lull. We at eRevMax look forward to RateTiger achieving more accolades this year and hope to return to the European Seal of e-Excellence in 2011.

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

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