After a 3 year hiatus, the world’s leading travel conference returned. On March 7th-9th, 2023, over 90,000 attendees from around the world met in Messe Berlin, for ITB Berlin.
Revinate was there with our own stand in addition to co-exhibiting with Oracle Hospitality, as their certified partner. We had lively discussions about first-party data, sustainability best practices, accelerating demand, and more as we spent time with our hotel technology partners.
Did you miss ITB Berlin? We have you covered. Here are 4 key takeaways from the event.
What you will see here
The hotel technology environment is more alive than ever
ITB has always been the place to learn more about different technology solutions within the hospitality industry. But in 2023, hoteliers took the stage to share their own experience with technology.
Sessions were focused around data, personalization, and some surprising discussions around the Metaverse. One particularly intriguing session was led by Amanda Du, Head of E-Commerce at Penta Hotels, “Metaverse and NFTs: How do hotels enter the Web3 era?” During the session, Du shared the opportunities that the Web3 space offers for hotels. (If you want to hear her top tips and the ABCD framework, listen to her conversation with Karen Stephens on our Hotel Moment podcast).
Besides the eTravel stage, 4 different halls were dedicated to hospitality technology where hoteliers could find major technology platforms such as MEWS, Triptease, and Guestline, and numerous startups. This year at ITB, international participants increased from 50% to 70% despite the event being shortened to just 3 days.
The halls and eTravel stage were packed with hoteliers keen to learn. Victoria Sweeney, Sales and Marketing Director at Hotelchamp, said she was happy to see hoteliers talk about experimenting and embracing new technology.
Hotel technology platforms are here to stay and hoteliers have started seeing the value in implementing these platforms.
First-party data is a leading focus
We need to prioritize first-party data as we prepare for the reality of a cookie-less world. More people are expected to travel — boosting recovery rates and occupancy rates.
Panelists like Henk Adriaans, Revinate’s Head of EMEA, and Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General, United Nations World Tourism Organization, explained that recovery is at an all time high, and is expected to remain that way throughout the year.
What does this mean for hoteliers? How do they cope in an environment where staff shortages and the rising cost of operations are a reality?
The answer is by leveraging first-party data. Patrick Apostolo, Director of the Radisson Hotel Group, shared how they digitized the entire guest journey. The group adopted technology that offers a seamless check-in experience for their guests by gathering guest data and validating it prior to check-in. The data is then stored and reused for future stays.
This is only 1 of the many examples of hoteliers thriving by using first-party data. In time, all of the first-party data collected can be used to send relevant and personalized offers to guests.
Direct bookings are on the rise
“Data is your secret weapon”, said Charlie Osmond, the Co-Founder of Triptease during his presentation, “Game over OTAs: New strategy for turning data into direct bookings”.
As we previously discussed, by collecting first-party data, hoteliers can store relevant guest data to use in their offers. Even if reservations are made through OTAs, it’s important to encourage guests to share their preferences, and book directly next time.
Many hoteliers still rely on OTAs to secure reservations, but the success of direct bookings should not be overlooked. Thomas Landen, Chief Marketing Officer at RoomPriceGenie, shared more stories regarding the success of direct booking strategies.
And here at Revinate, we have seen many stories of successful direct booking strategies, such as IPP Hotels, which generated an average €11,000 in direct revenue per email campaign. Or, the iNUA Collection, generating €5.6m in direct revenue, or €185k in revenue per month.
What is the common denominator that connects these success stories? The answer is leveraging first-party data to send personalized and segmented marketing campaigns.
Sustainability is becoming a priority
Implementing sustainability practices in your hotel is no longer an option, your guests expect it. It’s no surprise that responsible and sustainable tourism were 1 of the most anticipated topics at ITB Berlin. Over 20 sessions were centered around this topic.
Hoteliers have dedicated pages on their websites advocating sustainability, and release social posts that highlight their green initiatives, but the younger generation expects more.
During the panel discussion, “GenZ and the transformation of travel”, Etienne Matichard, the Director of Sales at Ennismore, said that Gen-Z don’t want to hear hoteliers talk about sustainability, they want to see hoteliers implementing it in their day-to-day operations.
It’s great to be transparent about the pledge to be more green, but you want to avoid being disingenuous. Instead of multiple displays on your property involving sustainability, try showcasing smaller actions that can be just as impactful during your guest’s stay. For example, create signs to encourage guests to turn off the lights or the tap in the bathroom, or to reuse their towels to save energy and water.
Sustainability is now an integral part of many people’s lives. By implementing small but thoughtful initiatives in your daily operations, you can make your guests not only enjoy their stay, but feel good about their stay.
Stronger than ever
Despite economic challenges, 2023 is expected to be the year of full recovery. ITB Berlin was the epitome of the industry bouncing back. Hoteliers are emerging strong and ready to explore new ways to provide excellent experiences for their guests. We were happy to see many of the hospitality professionals in person again and look forward to seeing more of you on the road this year!
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