Travel Technology – one of the foundations of the global travel industry. As David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, put it: "At the moment, the innovation seen in the travel industry is not so much about products, but really all about processes." This view is shared by Uli Pillau, managing director of hetras, who also believes that travel technology is currently one of the most important innovation drivers in the global travel industry. In his words: "Mobile platforms in particular are becoming more and more important in the travel industry, and, at the moment, the hotel sector is being completely turned on its head – not by gadgets – but by new processes."
Hotel guests today are already having a lot more control over their stay, can check in and out using their mobile devices, and even book conference rooms from their cell phone. "On landing in Stockholm", explained Pillau, "I can now, e.g. immediately check into HTL Hotel in the city center, get a room number and even a key - all through my cell phone. This means I will be able to walk straight into my room on arrival at the hotel and avoid any waits", – a service that is open to every HTL Hotel guest, adds Pillau.
However, we are not only starting to see a new generation of guests, but there are also a lot of pioneering hotel operators who have long since modernized their processes and optimized their operations by standardizing them. Uli Pillau is also very much aware of a new generation of hotel managers, where the 'newness' is not defined by age. Modern hotels today are data-driven. "I know a lot of hotel operators that have a real 'big data vision' and are actively using and implementing this vision in their group of hotels. Today, in order for a hotel to achieve a good market position, it is absolutely imperative for it to move away from traditional sales models. It's all about e-commerce, i.e. about building the right marketing funnel and optimizing conversion rates."
Automation, cloud-based hotel management, delivering a mobile travel experience - which is precisely how many of the new generation hotels like HTL and Ruby Hotels are already being run. However, hotel operators from other market segments, e.g. hotel groups that were previously run using more traditional processes, such as Carat Hotels, are now also starting to catch on to this trend. "What it all boils down to ultimately," so Pillau, "is that all of these processes allow hotels to be more efficient, generate more sales and avoid unnecessary expenses." To give but a few examples: How do you identify top bookers and direct them to your own website? How can you optimize advertising campaigns? How can you adjust payment plans that don't get booked?
At this year's ITB, Tanja Baier, Philip von Ditfurth and Uli Pillau will be providing answers to these and a number of other questions, including: How can hotel operators benefit from these new software solutions? How can standardized processes ensure that operations are ideally coordinated? What makes cloud solutions ideal as a platform for bringing together hotels and customers? What does 'mobile travel experience' mean and how do you successfully implement it?
At this year’s ITB – the world's leading travel trade show – which will be taking place from 4th to 8th March 2015 in Berlin, travel technology has proven itself as one of the biggest, most dynamic and most international of all exhibitor segments. This year, hetras is a partner at the "ITB Corporate MICE Lounge", an exclusive networking space provided by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), Germany.
Pictures: HTL hotels, Carat Hotel