6 years ago

ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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10 TRADE TALK NEW ORGANISATION LAUNCHED TO BRING TOGETHER TOP HOTEL GMS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE Paul Gorman and David Ruetz Welcome to the Club! ITB Buyers Circle inaugurates its 1000 th member As ITB’s exclusive meeting place for the top buyers in the travel industry, the Buyers Circle (BC) has kept its membership low in its first five years. Despite ITB Berlin’s 115,000 professional trade attendees the BC has only just reached the milestone of 1,000 members, and Head of ITB Berlin David Ruetz took the opportunity to personally welcome the lucky debutant - Paul Gorman, General Manager Travel, Luxury Escapes. Mr Ruetz explained to ITB Berlin News the ethos and joining policy of BC: “Four out of 10 ITB attendees come from abroad. In the BC we have a different ratio - at least 50% of them need to be from abroad and 50% from Germany, which is still a big strong outgoing market. To be selected as a BC member means you have to pass several levels of proof. We turn down as many applications as we accept - that’s not nice for some people, but it shows that we don’t accept just anyone!” And for Paul Gorman, whose company Luxury Escapes is based in Melbourne, Australia, it represents a great opportunity at his first visit to ITB Berlin. “I knew the Buyers Circle was pretty small, but for a company this size to only have 1,000 members it is an honour to be a accepted” he said. “We are a new distribution model in the industry, and trying to gain traction and credibility outside the tradition channels, particularly in Australia, is not easy - so to be able to access the BC in an organization like ITB allows us some identification with the suppliers we’re talking to as a serious business: they’ve been vetted and so have we. You need to qualify to be in the BC. That proves we’re not here to waste anyone’s time - there’s a lot of people at ITB just brochurecollecting - but with BC we can hone in on exactly the people we need to talk to.” Paul has already been able to assess trends and opportunities in his market since arriving at ITB Berlin, including the shifting of traditional GIT destinations into the FIT market and the popularity of European river cruises. “Seasoned campaigner that I am, with 30 years in the travel industry, I know we need to be right on top of what the next trend will be for our market. Right now we’re doing a stay-put resort package in the Tuscan hills - in 10 days we’ve sold over 2,000 room nights out of Australia. FOR A COMPANY THIS SIZE TO ONLY HAVE 1,000 MEMBERS IT IS AN HONOUR TO BE A ACCEPTED We don’t put any constraints on what we sell - we hope we offer a customer such a good package the go to places they never thought of going to before.” He also mentioned opportunities opening up in destinations like Vietnam, Cuba and Sri Lanka. David Ruetz concluded, “Paul’s membership of BC shows two interesting aspects: it makes us happy that an Australian company will come to Berlin to do business; such a far-away nation discovering ITB Berlin as a useful tool. And also his product is luxury - and the luxury market is something ITB Berlin is strongly focusing on right now.” John Cameron CEO, Honourable Order of International Hotel General Managers (HOIHGm) The Honourable Order of International Hotel General Managers (HOIHGm) was officially launched just days ago at its first regional headquarters in Dubai, UAE. The international organisation - the world’s first and only initiative of its kind dedicated exclusively to the hotel general management community - is designed to raise the profile of hotel GMs, whilst providing a range of professional and personal membership benefits, such as portable healthcare and insurance options. Membership is open to all hotel GMs, those who have previously served in the position, owner/ operators, as well as retirees and aspiring young professionals on the career path to becoming a GM. HOIHGm was founded by Leon Larkin, an Australian national with over 40 years’ experience as a GM in some of the world’s leading hotels in Europe, Asia and Australia. John Cameron, another highly experienced hospitality executive, has been named as Chief Executive Officer. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

TRADE TALK 11 ADVERTORIAL Sunset at Big Beach Travel Pros Vie for Brand USA MegaFam 2016 Brand USA confirms MegaFam 2016 routes in partnership with American Airlines and British Airways Brand USA, in partnership with American Airlines and British Airways has confirmed the USA MegaFam in May 2016, a multi-destination familiarisation tour for travel agents from the UK and Ireland. The 2016 MegaFam will focus on the USA’s great outdoors and each itinerary will visit a National Park as next year celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service. Visiting a total of 18 states, this year’s MegaFam also features four states, including Alaska and Hawaii, which have not previously been visited on the UK/Ireland MegaFam. The brand new itineraries developed specifically for 2016 are: • Pennsylvania – West Virginia – Virginia – Delaware – Maryland • Florida – Georgia – South Carolina • Colorado – New Mexico • Nevada – Utah – Arizona • Washington – Oregon • Alaska • Hawaii • Finale: California After exploring one of the seven itineraries, agents will fly into LAX for a finale event in California. Here, the agents will share their variety of experiences with the goal of educating other agents and enabling them to better sell the destinations upon return. Agents can win a place on the MegaFam by booking American Airlines and British Airways flights to the United States. To qualify, agents will also be required to earn a number of specialist badges on the agent-training site, www. USADiscoveryProgram. Details of how agents can qualify to win a place on the 2016 MegaFam will be released by the end of the year, as will the exact dates. Christopher L. Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA, said “The Brand USA MegaFam is now an established mustdo event for agents across the UK and Ireland. The competition to win a much sought-after place on the fam increases year-onyear and we are delighted to be able to, once again, work with our valued partners at American Airlines and British Airways in developing another exciting set of routes. By working closely with destination partners we aim to showcase the very best each destination has to offer. Our goal is to supply travel agents with the knowledge and assurance they need in order to sell more of the USA as a holiday destination, and to ensure the United States is kept top of mind – with both agents and their customers.” David Thomas, Director of Sales UK & I, said: “As we mark the fifth anniversary of our Joint Business with British Airways, we are embarking on our fourth MegaFam trip together with Brand USA. This popular agents fam trip has contributed to an increase in interest in the U.S. as a destination (for the UK market) and we have responded with enhanced products and services, new departure cities, new destinations and more flat-beds than anyone else on the Atlantic. It is an exciting time for transatlantic travel.” Chris Rankin, British Airways, Head of Consumer Sales UK&I, said: “We’ve had a very successful three-year partnership with Brand USA, which has generated much greater agent’s awareness of the wide variety of destinations within the U.S. we fly to, including our new route to San Jose, which starts next year. The support from agents is vital to the MegaFam’s success and helped to boost and grow sales on our North America network. With over 46 flights a day to the USA with British Airways alone, we’re proud to be working once again with our American Airlines partners to continue this crucial sales drive and make the 2016 MegaFam incentive bigger than ever.” Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California: “We’re hugely excited to welcome the Brand USA MegaFam to California. American Airlines and British Airways have long been strong partners of Visit California. With a fourth gateway to the state opening with British Airway’s new route into San Jose, 2016 is the perfect year to host the MegaFam finale. We look forward to welcoming top selling agents from the UK & Ireland to showcase some of the incredible experiences that our diverse state has to offer and highlight that California is more accessible than ever for their customers.” Hall 2.1 / Stand 480 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

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