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ITB Berlin News - Day 1

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42 SPECIAL FEATURE TRAVEL TECHNOLOGIES Increasing Direct Bookings Emotional Impact is key – but how is this achieved? It may seem odd but the latest innovation in website design is to have sites that produce bookings! Vincent Ramelli, CEO of WIHP gives us the latest run-down on website design & functionality in the tourism and hotel sectors… Vincent Ramelli CEO and Founder of WIHP Vincent Ramelli is the CEO and Founder of WIHP an online marketing agency that specializes in high ROI online marketing for hotels. Coming from a marketing background and having owned and run several hotels, Vincent’s global view of the hotel business combined with his marketing background has made WIHP a leader in the hotel marketing industry. Over the years, hotel websites have evolved from being a presentation of the hotel into a tool that increases direct bookings. At WIHP we have invested a lot of resources to analysing and tracking results and our designers have made huge progress in turning websites from a mere presentation page into an efficient booking tool. What are the latest innovations in helping a website stand out? In one word it would be emotional impact. However many factors affect the emotional impact, it’s not just great visuals. To make websites stand out they must also respect search engine guidelines in order to increase organic traffic, which stays relevant. The problem of over-optimising websites is finally being understood by the profession and marketers need to find the fine line between adequate and too much search optimising. Our partnerships with major search players in the market such as TripAdvisor, Sabre and Google has helped us work out how to properly make hotel websites standout while staying relevant. As a result, we have seen conversion rates increase in addition to organic traffic. What are your prime objectives at ITB Berlin? Continuing the success of our Convert hotel website solution that has been an overwhelming success and helping hotels with their online advertising using our unique platform for TripAdvisor, Google and other channels. For us ITB is the hub of all things travel and we’ve increased our presence here to meet the demand that continues to grow in the hotel marketing space. Hall 10.1 Stand 120 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 6 th March 2013

TRADE NEWS 43 Buyers’ Circle © India Tourism VIP service for top trade pros means higher efficiency at ITB Berlin David Ruetz Head of ITB Berlin Located in the Marshall Haus on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, the exclusive ITB Buyers’ Circle Lounge, offers separate meeting rooms in quiet surroundings offers excellent opportunities for networking at length. We asked David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, to tell us about the background to this service. We have for a long time watched the behaviour of our buyers at ITB Berlin and noticed that some lacked adequate working space. We’re not talking about just handshakes and courtesy visits, but real working space. So we put together a package that has major advantages that otherwise would not be accessible. We did not want to copy other models, such as at ITB Asia, where we fully host the buyers. We felt that ITB Berlin needed something different. So by creating the ITB Buyers’ Circle, we are offering leading buyers from the international tourism industry a suitable environment, concentrating valuable resources and thus significantly reducing their workload. Intense networking and obtaining the latest industry information are crucial to a buyer’s success. The services of the ITB Buyers’ Circle save buyers’ time and significantly increase their efficiency. Members of the ITB Buyers’ Circle also benefit from gaining free admission to ITB Berlin and Fast Lane access to … we have a team onsite at Messe Berlin that qualifies each application personally…” the exhibition grounds as early as 9 a.m. They can also make use of the Europcar shuttle service on the grounds and will receive a trade visitor ticket to ITB Asia from 23 to 25 October 2013. Who qualifies? We have an online questionnaire that tells us about the size of the company, the purchasing volume, the estimated annual turnover, and then when the application is being processed online we have a team onsite at Messe Berlin that qualifies each application personally. People are thus hand-picked, attempting to have a balance between German and non- German buyers. From Germany we have around 210 buyers, and the others are international buyers from Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, Australia, Asia and Africa. Their overall spending capability is 1.5 billion euros. 61 per cent of the members are tour operators, 11 per cent represent the corporate travel and MICE sectors. Trade Visitors Given a VIP Welcome at India Pavilion Trade visitors to ITB Berlin will be VIP guests at India’s Happy Hour on Wednesday from 5 PM to 6 PM. The “India Pavilion” at ITB this year is again abuzz with more than 100 participants from India showcasing India as an attractive tourist destination. A delegation led by the Honourable Minister for Tourism, Dr K Chiranjeevi along with Senior Officials from the Central Tourism Ministry and several State Governments will be present for several business meetings. Meanwhile, Thursday morning sees the Incredible India Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 AM at the Tiergarten Hall of the InterContinental Hotel, and Thursday night, a cocktail reception is an “invite only” event. Chic Outlet Shopping Launches New Packages Offering 10% Commission for the Travel Industry For travel agents and tour operators looking to satisfy the needs of clients looking to embrace the latest Shopping Tourism trend Chic Outlet Shopping has launched a range of new packages across the Collection of nine Villages across Europe. Chic Outlet Shopping is the Collection of luxury outlet Villages by Value Retail, the only company specialising exclusively in the development and operation of luxury outlet shopping villages. Currently home to more than 900 boutiques, the nine Villages offer the authentic previous seasons’ collections of leading luxury fashion and lifestyle brands with savings of up to 60%, and sometimes more, on the recommended retail price, all year round. Available for travel agents and tour operators to book at a net rate, providing commissions starting from 10% on the retail price, the packages start at €44 and include return transport on the luxury Shopping Express coach service, Gift Card, a VIP card providing an additional 10% discount in selected boutiques and lunch in the Village. More info: ITB BERLIN NEWS • Wednesday 6 th March 2013

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ITB Berlin News