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ITB Berlin News Review Edition

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14 ITB

14 ITB BERLIN CONVENTION Lee McCabe, Head of Travel Strategy, Facebook Social Goes Mobile Global Keynote by Lee McCabe, Head of Travel Strategy, Facebook With a very downto-earth delivery, Lee McCabe, Head of Travel Strategy, Facebook gave a simple factpacked presentation that nonetheless delivered some surprises. As much about the general habits of modern consumers as about Facebook itself, the first fact that impressed the audience gathering in Hall 3 of the ICC was this: “Last year, in the USA, digital consumption overtook TV consumption for the first time. This is as significant as the last big change, when TV overtook radio in the 1950s.” McCabe was quick to point out that the rest of the world would quickly follow the USA. It was an interesting way to stress the importance of focusing on reaching those people that live in a more digital world. “Omni-channelling” was very much the buzzword at the ITB Summit; McCabe broke this down into efficiency, multichannel and identity. Looking specifically at how the travel industry could use Facebook and other mobile platforms more efficiently to target advertising, he illustrated how “70% of people updated their Facebook status while on holiday” – and that this, as well as the role of Facebook as the world’s “mostused platform to share holiday photos,” was the moment that inspired the user’s friends to “dream” and think about taking a holiday themselves. BY 2015, 12% OF ALL TRAVEL BOOKINGS WILL BE DONE ON A MOBILE DEVICE In other words – one person’s entire friendlist becomes a captive audience primed to think about potential travel destinations and booking a holiday of their own. This kind of site-specific targeting, alongside the ability to identify the real people with their individual tastes, income and circumstances, was the best way to use the kind of “Big Data” Facebook specialises in. Another intriguing statistic, relevant to the market, is how quickly mobile activity is overtaking traditional desktop & laptop behaviours. “By 2015, 12% of all travel bookings will be done on a mobile device,” McCabe predicted, suggesting that, in the move from web to apps, any travel company that invented “one good app” for all travel needs would drive efficiency and loyalty. One of McCabe’s final revelations was the way mobile social media has re-democratised the way people make their travel choices. A process that historically began with person-toperson word-of-mouth recommendations, through generations of dealing with travel agents and then web algorithms, has gone full circle and is back – literally - in the hands of the people. ITB BERLIN CONVENTION 2014: FOCUS ON DIVERSITY The ITB Berlin Convention again underlined its role as the leading think tank of the international travel industry with a wide and fascinating range of topics. From 5 to 8 March 2014 leading international experts and tourism professionals gathered to discuss the future of the travel industry. This year, Malaysia, the Convention & Culture Partner, made a special contribution. The Hon. Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Tan ITB MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION DAY – INVESTIGATION: HOW RELIABLE ARE ONLINE CUSTOMER EVALUATIONS? Anyone listening to Professor Dr Roland Conrady at the ITB Berlin Convention 2014 can be reassured: the investigation carried out by the Academic Director of the ITB Berlin Convention and professor at the Worms Technical College together with his students for ITB Berlin 2014 reveals that everyone – travellers, platform operators and hoteliers – have become much more professional in their dealings with online hotel evaluations. Although almost half of all guests still believe Sri Abdul Aziz, the Malaysian Minister of Tourism and Culture, opened the ITB Berlin Convention. BUSINESS TRAVEL DAY – A JOURNEY AROUND THE EARTH IN 90 MINUTES – WITH NASA When Ulrich Walter relates details about his trip into space he sounds like a professional tour guide, even providing advice about taking photographs. But the scientist and astronaut, who is also chair of the Aerospace Systems Department at the Technical University of Munich, is in fact ”only“ describing a fascinating series of images at the ITB Berlin Convention: These photos, taken from an altitude of between 350 and 400 km present the world from every perspective. The northern lights at night, the archipelago of artificial islands off Dubai and, in particular: one of eight sunrises and sunsets experienced each day, because one circles the Earth every 90 minutes. that up to one third of all the evaluations provided have been manipulated most review sites have established quality assurance processes, automatically filter out suspect evaluations, subject them to thorough examination and make their decision about publication on this basis. The highest ratings for the comprehensiveness of the hotel information, detailed nature of the evaluation and protection against manipulation are obtained by Holidaycheck and Opodo, followed by Expedia, TripAdvisor and Abin-den-Urlaub. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Tuesday 18 th March 2014

ITB BERLIN CONVENTION 15 © Cleverdis (From left) Michael Altewischer, Executive Director, Wellness-Hotel & Resorts; Moderator Christina Eulgem, Chief Executive, Margengold PR; and Ronald Fricke, Executive Director, beauty24 Healthy Wellness Market for 2014 Steady growth rates in past years due to increased frequency among existing customers At this year’s ITB Berlin 2014 Convention, wellness organizer beauty24 and Wellness-Hotels & Resorts presented current trends and developments in the wellness travel industry. Based on a 2014 survey with more than 3000 participating hoteliers and guests, the results reveal a chastened yet optimistic industry outlook-- despite the first decrease in growth numbers since the beginning of the wellness boom 20 years ago. Michael Altewischer, executive director of Wellness-Hotel & Resorts, and Ronald Fricke, executive director of beauty24, spoke about the underlying reasons for the changing growth rates and provided insights into the preferences of frequent wellness travelers. According to the survey findings, only 43% of the participating hoteliers registered a revenue growth in 2013 compared to almost 65% in 2010. 58% of the hoteliers expect further growth in 2014 compared to 75% in 2010. Referring to the curbed industry optimism as “complaining on a high comfort level,” Fricke highlights the industry’s longstanding and steady growth rates. Both Fricke and Altewischer attribute decline to the exhaustion of potential markets. After the target group already expanded to encompass men and families, there remain few new markets the wellness sector could tap into. Despite this lack of opportunity, the industry was fortunate enough to maintain steady growth rates in the past few years due to the increased frequency of wellness holiday bookings among existing customers. Another relevant survey cited in the discussion refers to customer preferences. In comparison to other types of holidays, wellness tourists spend more time in their hotels, regardless of their age. It therefore comes to no surprise that 95% of the surveyed wellness tourists state the most decisive factor for relaxation was ambience. These findings also reflect the 2013 investment trend among hoteliers: 85% invested in the renovation and expansion of their hotels in the past year. Michael Altwischer clearly attributed this development to “the positive effects of the reduced VAT rate for the hotel industry.” Facts & figures Global wellness tourism economy spotlighted in ITB Berlin conference As more and more people pay attention to their health and want to keep up their healthy habits when they travel, sometimes even taking trips specifically to maintain their health and wellbeing, wellness tourism is becoming increasingly recognised as a sector in its own right. During a conference at ITB Berlin, Susie Ellis, Chairman of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit announced her organisation’s new affiliation with the UNWTO, which has recognised Wellness tourism as a niche category. The UNWTO will soon start promoting wellness tourism and collaborate on research with the Global Spa & Wellness Summit. At the conference, it was revealed that wellness tourism accounts for 14% (438.6 billion dollars) of all domestic and international tourism expenditures. International wellness tourists spend about 65% more per trip than average international tourists, and domestic wellness tourists spend in average 150% more per trip than average domestic tourists. Europe, North America and the wealthier Asian countries are leading the market today; however, half the projected growth through 2017 will take place in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa. Wellness tourism is projected to grow by 9.1% annually through 2017, a growth rate that is nearly 50% higher than the overall global tourism. ITB BERLIN NEWS • Tuesday 18 th March 2014

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