A high level of bookings has already been received for the ITB Travel Technology halls with the section featuring around 15 per cent more suppliers than last year’s event.There will be more than 140 exhibitors from the fields of data processing, software development, multimedia, e- and m-commerce.
Its outstanding feature: the ongoing, dynamic developments taking place in web and travel technology and on the market are attracting well-established, leading names to Berlin, bringing with them a steady flow of new ideas and solutions. At the same time they offer niche market opportunities and a new potential to many new challengers too. In this respect three groups are particularly worth noting.
With Travel 2.0 - web architecture designed specifically to encourage user participation - (travel) search engines and community portals such as Travelzoo, Holidot.com and NextGen are looking for the way into “real life”. “In real life” is how they want to make use of the ITB Berlin as a means of presenting themselves with their platforms to trade visitors and to consumers too. The displays will demonstrate how the internet can be transformed from a static source of information into a dynamic and lucrative contact centre for the travel industry’s various target groups.
This new process of internationalisation is attracting growing numbers of suppliers of travel technology from emerging markets to Berlin. Until now the emerging nations have primarily been known for their role as fascinating destinations. As the markets continue to boom, however, they have made the transition from importing technology to driving innovation, leading to the formation of powerful IT companies and a middle class that is keen to travel. Suppliers of technology who are specialising in these new markets are ideally placed to act as partners in this internationalisation process and in the development of significant new target groups. They include such names as Yatra Online, TI Infotech (both from India) and Comanche Hotel Solutions (Thailand). The new exhibitors also include suppliers from Eastern Europe, Turkey and Egypt.
Many innovative start-ups are continuing to exploit gaps in technology and software, or to use specialised products as a means of attracting a particular clientele. In 2008 it is encouraging to see how many newcomers to the market are making use of the ITB Berlin on account of its role as a leading centre for contacts and information. In sectors with a particularly diverse range of suppliers, such as hotels, the technologies have to meet many widely differing requirements, depending on the size of the service provider and the market at which it is aiming. At the same time, however, there is a constant need for new forms of presentation and information, in order to create distinctions between what is on offer, and to serve the mass market and many smaller sectors more effectively. It is in this latter area in particular that the solutions offered by start-ups are beginning to make making inroads.
However, once again it is the many well-known commercially dominant technology companies that occupy the most space at ITB Travel Technology: IBEs, suppliers of hotel software, CRS, Siemens IT Solutions, Bewotec, Trust International, Partners Software, ISO, HitchHiker, Traveltainment, Serenata Intra-Ware, Micros-Fidelio and many others are offering solutions to meet the needs of every branch of tourism. The ITB Berlin thus confirms its position once again as the leading international meeting place for the industry and for travel technology.