BHA Annual Luncheon 2009

The famed BHA Annual Luncheon is getting bigger and better. This year’s gathering took place at Grosvenor House, London on June 24, 2009. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was invited as the guest of honor to share his views on tourism.

RateTiger’s Director of Sales Keith Povah and Sr. Sales Manager Sunaina Jagtiani attended the event with some prospective and current clients.

“The champagne reception provided great networking opportunities and an ideal platform for members to interact with some key industry people to understand their take on the current market scenario and get an insight on how they are mapping their road ahead,” said Keith Povah.

BHA Chief Executive Bob Cotton officially opened the event, attended by over 600 people, stressing the significant role that tourism and hospitality industry plays in the UK’s economy. He mentioned how the industry helps create jobs and brings revenue thereby assisting in the revival of the economy.

Before inviting Boris Johnson to address the audience, Bob stressed on the importance of the Government’s role in providing the right kind of environment and encouragement for the industry to operate successfully and grow.

Sunaina really enjoyed the Mayor’s speech and says, “Boris delivered a great speech focusing on current economic trends and its impact on tourism. He applauded the hospitality industry for the immense effort it has put in coping with the market and mentioned how despite the prevailing conditions, there are more hotels opening in London. He also touched upon the plans for 2012 London Olympics and urged greater investments in hospitality sector to ensure that London maximizes the benefits coming its way through this mega sporting event.”

Keith and Sunaina hosted some of the key hospitality members including Marketing magazine’s Travel & Tourism Specialist Alex Brownsell, Len Louis from Classic British, Paul Kay from Greene King Hotels, Stuart Bailey from Splendid Hotel Group, Ghislaine A. Oliver of Hotel Info Ltd., Colette Togus and Darren Kerr from Corus Hotels and Kieran Tobin from Destinations of the World (Europe) Ltd.

The audience represented a good mix of hotels, management companies and travel technology companies. The overall discussion was focused on the current economic trends, however hoteliers highlighted that the scenario was not as bad as they had expected.

HITEC 2009

Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference, HITEC, is today considered one of the world’s largest hospitality technology events. It took place from June 22-25, 2009 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California USA. RateTiger was represented by Sascha Hausmann, COO and Phil Stiles, VP of Sales.

As expected the attendance was lower than in previous years by around 35 to 45%. The main theme of the event was partnerships and product launches. Many travel technology companies announced partnerships and integrations to further help the industry offer seamless connectivity and better technologies.

At HITEC we announced our integration partnerships with Trust International and Micros as the travel industry moves towards automated online distribution. Seamless connectivity remains the priority for PMS / CRS companies and channel management is now used to supplement where XML seamless connectivity cannot be established technically or from a ROI perspective for existing key players.

A new addition to this year’s HITEC was the Roundtable session, one of which was hosted by RateTiger. Sascha led a discussion on – ‘Maximizing revenue during turbulent economic times: has seamless connectivity failed?’ He considers Roundtables to be a good concept which encouraged considerable knowledge exchange and he would like to see this becoming a regular feature at HITEC.

The Twitter discussion had the most successful roundtable attendance Digital and social media is what hotels are focusing on to get those ‘more-than-ever important’ travelers’ attention. So gear up people!

RateTiger also hosted a tutorial session on ‘Channel Management and the traditional reservation system’. Phil and Sascha had a good audience who understood the relevance of the topic and requested further information to make better buying decisions.

This year’s event turned out to be more of an exhibitor-meet-exhibitor show than a visitor-meet-exhibitor show. RateTiger did meet with some hoteliers and provided product demonstrations. Their feedback conveyed their trust in our brand and made us aware of the fact that RateTiger is identified as a company which innovates constantly and has relevant new tools to offer, which is what we continually aim for. HITEC rocks!

INTERNORGA, Hamburg, 2009

If you would ask a German about the annual event for the hospitality industry with the longest tradition, the answer would be INTERNORGA, which celebrated its 83rd anniversary in 2009. One of Europe’s biggest trade fair of its kind, based in Germany’s trade metropolis Hamburg, is year after year a must for hospitality suppliers.

This year’s INTERNORGA took place 13-18 March, and with 87,000 square meters of exhibition space it was larger than ever before. 103,000 trade visitors were attracted by 1,050 exhibitors. However, RateTiger was not amongst these exhibitors as INTERNORGA has a strong focus on the catering and restaurant/bar industry. Only approximately 16% of its visitors work in the hotel business, and most of them are rather concerned with choosing new cutlery or a convection oven than revenue or channel management software.

Nonetheless, RateTiger’s German PR representative Jasmin Keller spent a day at this busy event and met a number of press contacts. Her impression: “It is indeed a massive event! Yet you will probably not find many buyers for channel management software.” Asked whether INTERNORGA was hence a less important event: “Not at all! All our key media contacts are present to promote their publications as well as to learn about new products. It’s a perfect way to meet up with everyone!”

A need to create awareness for the necessity of a strategic approach to the online market is the common outcome of her meetings. The editors agreed that it is vital for hotelier’s future success to learn about the importance of the Internet as a point of sale. “Many hoteliers are still skeptical about using third party distribution sites or cannot afford the time to update these extranets properly,” said Jasmin. “The editors are aware that those must be educated: about the opportunities for their business; the risk they take by not participating on this market; the best ways to manage the web strategically; the need for continuous benchmarking and updating; and the possibilities to safe time and maximize revenue with supportive software solutions, such as RateTiger.”

Overall INTERNORGA has been a success for RateTiger, with several editors planning to pick up on channel management. The company’s claim of being not only a software vendor but also to focus on education, training and consultancy has proved to be the right strategy.