10th ITB Hospitality Day: IT is driving the industry forward

10th ITB Hospitality Day: IT is driving the industry forward

Cyber attacks, the sharing economy, luxury, lifestyle, budget hotels, digitisation and internet distribution are the topics at the 10th ITB Hospitality Day – admission is free for visitors to ITB Berlin

The ITB Hospitality Day is celebrating its tenth anniversary. “In 2006 we had 880 visitors to this event. The number of listeners now annually attending the ITB Hospitality Day at the ITB Berlin Convention is over 2,000“, is how David Ruetz, head of ITB Berlin, commented the success of the event that has become a driving force and a platform for exchanging information among senior executives of the hospitality industry. Maria Pütz-Willems, chief editor of hospitalityInside.com, has been responsible for content at the event since its launch.

On Thursday, 5 March 2015, the agenda will once again feature the latest topics and outstanding speakers will be taking an in-depth look at future trends in the hospitality industry. “Check out – hack in”: more and more hotels now have to deal with the problem of internet hacking. On the opening day of the convention Stefan Hölzner, senior manager, and Dr. Florian Kohlar, representing KPMG Security Consulting, will be giving a live demonstration of how to guard against cyber attacks. These two specialists will be taking a look at security loopholes, showing how hackers steal customer data, copy bank cards and break into video conference systems.

Another trend with the potential to change the hospitality industry is the sharing economy. Traveller information is becoming more and more accessible, something that online providers are exploiting by analysing big data. However, the sharing economy is also a big force driving tourism trends. Can the conservative hospitality industry still keep up? What business models do they have lined up, and can they accommodate the sharing economy? These are the questions that Robert Wissmath, managing director of DICON Marketing und Beratungsgesellschaft, Berlin; Michael Hartmann, senior executive advisor on the executive board of EcoleHôtelière de Lausanne; Marco Nussbaum, chief executive officer of the progressive prizeotel chain and Marcus Bernhardt, the group chief commercial officer of Europcar in Paris, will be debating at a panel discussion moderated by Wirtschaftswoche reporter Hans-Jürgen Klesse.

As a result of the internet trends unfold dynamically at an unforeseen pace, triggering a huge response from customers. Simultaneous demand for two opposing lifestyles has become a dominant force: a desire for luxury and for budget accommodation. How can a hotel establish a (new) position in an age in which nothing is certain? Hotel chains are bombarding their customers with more and more lifestyle brands. The boom in budget designer hotels has created a desire for chic and stylish living, particularly with the younger, mobile generation. However, satisfying the demand for low cost and lifestyle creates confusion with services, prices and quality. Where does one draw the line between these hotels and the upmarket or even luxury segment? At an event moderated by Claudia Roth, advisor for Luxury Brands and managing partner of Totally Indispensable, Emile Bootsma, managing director of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin; Michael Struck, chief executive officer of the recently established Ruby Hotels and Dina Soliman, director, Brand Management Europe of the InterContinental Hotel Group, will be discussing ’Luxury & lifestyle, budget & lifestyle: a global attitude towards life turns the conventional hotel industry model upside down’. Additional details of the programme of events are available at www.itb-kongress.com.

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Digital vs. real values
At the CEO Panel on the topic of ’Design flashes, digitisation or sustainable values?’ young trendsetters will be able to have their say. Hubert Viriot, chief executive officer of Yotel and Gesine Haag, digital entrepreneur and founder of barefoot living, are proof of how the hospitality industry can successfully reinterpret consumer trends and desires found in other sectors. Yotel Hotels were created because the company’s founder was fascinated by the level of luxury that British Airways offered its first class passengers. Gesine Haag, who for several decades has been helping to create brands and digital worlds, is currently working on the barefoot living concept together with Til Schweiger.

Digitisation is the topic of the final panel discussion at the 10th ITB Hospitality Day. Its thought-provoking title is ’IT takes over the hotel industry: how software and internet distributors are shaking up the industry’. While hotel managers continue to argue about commissions an entirely different struggle involving online distributors is going on in the background. This is about the power of search engines and booking portals in the future. Will SEOs, OTAs and Google be taking over the hotel booking market? Who has control of data and which search machines are likely to swallow others? How much are online distribution costs likely to rise? Can hotel brands survive this clash of the internet giants? Taking part in the debate will be Vassilis Syropoulos, founder and director of the software company Juyo Analytics; Peter Verhoeven, managing director, EMEA, of Booking.com; Brannon Winn, vice president of Business Development EMEA of Sabre Hospitality Solutions; as well as Luis del Olmo, EVP Group Marketing & Asia Pacific at Meliá Hotels International and executive chairman of IDISO. Wilhelm Konrad Weber, partner of Swiss Hospitality Solutions, will moderate the event.