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ITB Hospitality Day: Focus on major current affair topics

ITB Hospitality Day: Focus on major current affair topics

The latest current affair topics are also the subject of discussion in the hotel industry. Thus, at this year’s ITB Hospitality Day the agenda will feature major topics, including data security, luxury & sustainability and China’s changing tourism demands. On 6 March 2014, at the ITB Berlin Convention, leading experts will be contributing to the current debate about the hotel industry. Maria Pütz-Willems, editor-in-chief of, the exclusive media partner of the ITB Hospitality Day, is again responsible for the programme of this ninth event.

At 10.30 a.m. in Hall 7.1b, the ITB Hospitality Day will open with a keynote speech on the recent disturbing developments regarding data security. Uwe Bernd-Striebeck, a partner of KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft Essen, will describe the specific threat to the hotel industry and the possibilities for dealing with the risks and implementing counter measures. Court cases and court decisions in numerous countries regarding online marketing monopolies in the hotel industry have also sparked internal debate. Ariane Gorin, vice president of Market Management EMEA, Alexander Pyhan, Sr., director of Global eCommerce Channels Marriott International, Susanne Weiss, managing director of Ringhotels and Dr. Mark Friesen, pricing advisor of Quinta Consulting will be debating “How much business does your website generate? Hotels, hotel chains and online portals are all competing for commissions and profits.“ Carolin Brauer, managing director of Quality Reservations, will moderate the discussion.

In recent years China has been challenging Germany for the title of ’the world’s most travelled nation’. The increase in travellers from China is placing new demands on hotel owners. Darren Gearing, regional vice president of Europe Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and Luis del Olmo, executive vice president of Asia-Pacific Meliá Hotels International, will be speaking about the prospects and opportunities regarding Chinese tourism. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of China Outbound Tourism Research, will moderate the event. Representing the Chinese tour operator Caissa Touristic (Group) AG will be the company’s hotel procurement manager, Yufei Gu.

The CEO panel at this year’s ITB Hospitality Day is bound to feature a lively debate. Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of Six Senses Hotels Resorts & Spas, and Ross Harding, the founder and executive director of Finding Infinity, will be discussing “Luxury & eco – contradiction or entitlement?”. Six Senses has gained a reputation as a global and trustworthy partner in the eco-luxury tourism segment. Ross Harding, an engineer and newcomer to the tourism sector, will be showing hotel owners the lighter side of the sustainability debate. Maria Pütz-Willems, chief editor of, will moderate the discussion.

The discussion round entitled “A different perspective: How do bloggers and hotel review platform analysts view the hotel industry?“ will be examining the effects of reviews left by hotel guests. The practice of reviewing hotels has become widely established and among the new opinion-formers are bloggers. Benjamin Jost, co-founder and managing director of TrustYou, Tom Breckwoldt, territory manager, Business Listings, Germany, Austria and Switzerland TripAdvisor, as well as Marion Schumacher, vice president of PR & Communications, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and travel blogger Yvonne Zagermann will be debating the changes taking place in the industry and the effects of reviews. Axel Jockwer, professor of Tourism Management and Marketing at EBC Hochschule Stuttgart, will moderate the event.


Concluding the ITB Hospitality Day will be a discussion on private accommodation providers. Faced with new competitors the hotel industry must meet the challenge that this popular consumer trend poses. At the panel discussion moderated by Prof. Macy Marvel, advisor, Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, discussion will focus on “Social tourism or grey market? The power of Peer 2 Peer“. Arnaud Bertrand, chief executive officer of HouseTrip, Christopher Oster, co-founder of Wimdu, and Roman Bach, chief marketing officer of, will be representing the providers of private accommodation. Ramón Estelella Halffter, secretary general of the Spanish Confederation of Hotel and Tourist Accommodation, and Thomas Allemann, senior management executive of hotelleriesuisse, the Swiss hotel industry association, will be debating whether and by what means cities and hotel associations can counter the boom in the private accommodation market.