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ITB Berlin News Preview Edition

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  • February
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12 TRADE TALK An

12 TRADE TALK An Exclusive Club for Top Buyers ITB Berlin’s Buyers Circle is back – for a handpicked few Following the success of the ITB Buyers Circle in 2012 and 2013, in 2014 ITB Berlin will once again be offering senior buyers access to a premium circle at The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. We asked David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, the purpose of this “special club”. This circle allows a limited number of senior buyers from small and mediumsized enterprises as well as from larger companies while at the show. What percentage of the people here are really decision-makers, and what kinds of sums are we talking about? Around 600 senior buyers representing the international tourism industry joined the exclusive Buyers Circle at ITB Berlin 2013. The overall purchasing power of people at the Buyers Circle last year totalled 1.5 billion euros. 61 per cent of the members were tour operators, while 11 per cent represented the corporate travel and MICE sectors. The international members making up this circle came from Europe, the USA, Canada, South America, Australia, Asia and Africa. At 51 per cent, more than half of its members were from every EU country outside Germany, as well as 38 per cent from non-EU countries. What kinds of services can members expect? Among the many benefits of joining the ITB Buyers Circle include a free ticket to the show and fast lane admission at the entrances, from 9 am if required. The up to 700 hand-picked members of this exclusive group will be able to retreat to the ITB Buyers Circle Lounge, which will again be in the Marshall Haus on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds, where guests can make use of free Wi- Fi service, refreshments, private meeting rooms and business corner. Buyers who apply for membership will also gain free admission to ITB Asia, which takes place from 29-31 October 2014 in Singapore. If someone is interested in being part of the “circle”, what should they do? We cordially invite buyers to apply for a place among this privileged circle at ITB Berlin 2015. Interested buyers can apply online for one of the sought-after places at: www.itbbuyerscircle.com. David Ruetz Head of ITB Berlin THE OVERALL PURCHASING POWER OF PEOPLE AT THE BUYERS CIRCLE LAST YEAR TOTALLED 1.5 BILLION EUROS ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 21 st February 2014 www.itb-berlin-news.com

TRADE TALK 13 EUROPE’S OTA MARKET RIPE FOR CONSOLIDATION AS BOOKING, EXPEDIA BATTLE FOR SHARE, SAYS PHOCUSWRIGHT Europe’s fragmented online travel agency (OTA) market is giving way to consolidation as pan- European OTAs rapidly gobble up market share according to latest statistics from PhoCusWright. According to the company’s new European and Global Edition Report, after jumping 16% in 2012, OTA gross bookings are projected to sustain double-digit growth through 2015, driven by fierce competition among global heavyweights. Pan European brands, led by Priceline’s Booking.com and Expedia, increased their share of the region’s OTA market to 64% in 2012, up from 60% the previous year. By contrast, just four brands controlled 95% of the more mature U.S. OTA market in 2012, a possible harbinger of things to come. “Further consolidation is inevitable in Europe’s OTA market as global players take center stage,” says Luke Bujarski, PhoCusWright’s director, research. “With the global brands leveraging their momentum and marketing dollars to outcompete each other, regional players will find it increasingly difficult to compete in Europe’s lucrative hotel segment.” Booking.com is increasingly turning Europe’s OTA battle into a single-horse race. The popular hotel booking website now commands over 30% of the region’s OTA market. The Luxury Segment – Making the Right Connections ITB Berlin is an essential element for Thomas Cook Selection when it comes to meeting new potential partners Arlett Walleck, Senior Product Manager - Thomas Cook Selection comes to ITB Berlin for three days – from Wednesday through Friday. We asked her what the main goals are of her visit… My main purpose is to meet my important hotel partners, tourist boards and airline partners to discuss further business, to improve our services and to talk about the next contracts for the winter season 2014/2015. What is the role and importance of ITB Berlin for you as a purchasing fair? Besides ILTM in Cannes in December, ITB Berlin is very important for us in the luxury segment. We need to talk with new hotel partners about the products, we have to discuss the first contract draft for the new season and we have to negotiate joint marketing deals. It is very important to us, especially when talking to new partners, to make sure that the extravagant offer is truly one of luxury. Luxury is not just a question of money, and the majority of our luxury travellers prefer by far to book through a travel agency that enjoys their confidence – regardless of any possible extra cost and we, as a tour operator, need to find the best partners. What kinds of new products are you primarily seeking this year? Besides hotel product, we’re talking to partners who offer catamaran and yacht-charter-trips. One challenge is always finding “off the beaten track” destinations of which our clients can upload latest pictures to Twitter and Facebook when travelling with Thomas Cook Selection. What do you see as being the main trends at the moment, and what is your personal forecast for business for the upcoming year? The main trends in the luxury business at the moment include special and “custom-tailored” roundtrips, especially in Oman, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Latin America and USA; Catamaran Charter requests worldwide but mainly for Thailand, Cuba and Maldives; Eco-friendly Resorts. Like last year, I expect again a good increase for the luxury travel business. Arlett Walleck Senior Product Manager, Thomas Cook LIKE LAST YEAR, I EXPECT AGAIN A GOOD INCREASE FOR THE LUXURY TRAVEL BUSINESS. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 21 st February 2014

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