Hoteliers flocked to ITB Berlin last week to hear the latest on travel technology and trends. With a total attendance of 160,000, the event continues to be one of the world’s leading travel trade shows.
ITB Berlin provided OTA Insight with a great opportunity to meet partners old and new, catch up with industry peers and discuss the latest developments.
Here are our key takeaways from this year’s convention:
In a session looking at the future of hospitality during the rise of artificial intelligence, Chris Silcock, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer for Hilton, asserted that the future for hotels lies in algorithms that provide guests with a personalised experience.
87% of hoteliers at large and full-service hotels indicate that recent upgrades to their technology capabilities have enabled them to be either “successful” or “very successful” in improving the overall quality of the guest experience.
President of Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Clinton Anderson, believed that the use of smart data to make a hotel’s direct booking promotions more personal may rival OTAs in terms of the customer feeling their preferences are better known.
This transition to attribute based shopping arose originally from the airline industry, but in recent years has become a buzzword in hospitality, challenging hoteliers to reconsider their strategy whilst maintaining the right product mix.
During ITB Berlin, Booking officially launched their hotel software marketplace / app store, bringing even more focus around technology investment and integrations to break down the data silos surrounding business intelligence.
According to research, nearly one-quarter (23%) of hoteliers who have not upgraded their PMS within the past 3 years plan to do so in the next 12 months.
With others in the space working to bring more connectivity and clarity to hotel data, including Mews, Protel and Snapshot, it’s clear that integrations will continue to be a key theme in hospitality; with the need for tech partners to work closer together with marketplaces in the coming year seeming more apparent.
Amidst discussions on the emerging tech trends the travel industry has been anticipating, particularly from Airbnb and Google, the former continued to expand its accommodation strategy by announcing their acquisition of HotelTonight during ITB Berlin.
This ties in with Airbnb launching a programme back in February 2018 to allow hotels to officially be included in its core service.
The $400 million deal consists of cash and stock and further encroaches on the market space of OTAs.
A panel on luxury travel explored the notion that ‘transformation travel’ - the desire to be physically and mentally enriched by a trip - has replaced ‘experience travel’.
Ideas put forward by Chris Cahill, CEO of AccorHotels Luxury Brands, suggested that for luxury hotels it was necessary to analyse their data further to find new ways to provide high levels of experience and drive brand engagement. This again touched on guest personalisation and unique tailoring.
Mindfulness was also mentioned when thinking beyond the dreamy decor and opulent smells and surroundings that hotels have often employed in order to provide guests with a luxury experience.
Dr Monika Imschloß, Junior-Professor of Marketing and Retailing at the University of Cologne, said tapping into mindfulness for hotel guests was needed in order to have them enjoy the full scope of services on offer.
“If the mind is not behind (the idea), then I can have the best sensory design strategy and it will go unnoticed,” she said.
While these exciting developments were underway, OTA Insight showcased its latest innovations and product updates, as well as hosting a series of Tech Talks on recent industry trends, presented by ourselves and other leading hotel technology companies. These Tech Talks covered a variety of topics, from future proofing hotels, driving revenue and looking at parity performance.
If you didn’t get a chance to meet the team in Berlin, contact us today.