ITB Berlin: ideas for the future
From 4 to 8 March at ITB Berlin visitors can find out everything that is new in the travel industry, including 360-degree views of holiday destinations, tips from locals and apps that function as tour guides. Topics will include digital services, a return to personal assistance for making holiday choices and authentic travel experiences. The latest trends at the world’s largest travel trade are listed below.
Dubai from above: More and more people are turning to videos and photos with 360-degree views of destinations in order to make the perfect holiday preparations. At ITB Berlin on the stands of London in Hall 18 and Dubai in Hall 22a visitors can explore these cities from above and experience their destinations ahead of making a trip. In Hall 5.1 exhibitors such as Diginetmedia, the world leaders in this sector, will have an overview of virtual tours with bird’s eye views.
Travel agencies make a comeback: In recent years online travel bookings have been on the increase. Despite this, travel agencies are doing good business again. The reason is that customers can take advantage of expert assistance from experienced specialists who can recommend the perfect holiday destination for their needs. What is more, visiting a travel agency often saves customers time they would otherwise spend with long searches on the internet. This year, visitors can again obtain expert advice from the stands of exhibitors from around the world and can book their next holiday trip directly at the show.
New experiences: For many visitors a positive experience takes precedence over the holiday destination itself. Mylocalscout is a provider that reflects this trend. A community made up of ’ambassadors’ helps travellers to discover the perfect holiday experience and to make their journey an unforgettable one. According to a survey by Travelzoo, whose findings will be presented at this year’s ITB Berlin Convention, for some a spectacular holiday experience has priority over a low-cost trip.
Online travel agency help: The latest generation of booking software lets travel agency customers benefit from innovative and service-oriented applications. Apps that focus on package tours are able to provide holidaymakers with important and up-to-the-minute travel agency information on prospective trips. This enables travel agencies to offer assistance before, during and after customers go on holiday. They can also be contacted with queries at any time. For travel agencies, with whom the majority of package tours are booked in Germany, this innovation promises closer customer ties and increases customer satisfaction. Holidaymakers can also find and book individual travel modules with customised apps. This guarantees greater price security and transparency. At ITB Berlin in Hall 5.1 exhibitors such as Digital Trip, RATIOSoftware and Peakwork will be showcasing the technical innovations that await travel agencies and their customers.
Sharing is in: The sharing economy has now become a part of the travel industry. Rental websites such as Airbnb, wimdu and 9flats offer down-to-earth accommodation for private and business travellers and have the advantage of offering local hospitality and insider tips. This topical theme will also be debated at the ITB Berlin Convention. Numerous panel discussions involving industry opinion-formers and senior executives as well as surveys will be examining this phenomenon.
Apps - reliable travel companions: The ongoing development of travel apps means they can now be used for making payments as well. At ITB Berlin exhibitors such as Ypsilon and Wirecard will be demonstrating how, with more and more trips, flights and hotel overnights now being booked via mobile devices, secure data transfer and payment systems are becoming increasingly important. Apps have also become indispensable on holiday trips. They function as outdoor activity guides or point out cultural attractions on city breaks. At ITB Berlin companies such as IDPraxis, Team Action Zone and xtourmaker will be showing customers the innovative apps they can use on their trips.
Sustainable luxury tourism: Green and socially-oriented projects have also arrived in the global travel industry’s premium segment. More and more luxury hotels are making use of alternative energy sources or are involved in sustainable local projects. ITB Berlin recognises this and in 2015, for the first time, will be presenting the World Legacy Awards. In collaboration with the renowned travel magazine National Geographic it will honour the outstanding achievements of tourism companies from around the world and for the first time will recognise the best ideas and projects at ITB Berlin.