luni, 3 martie 2014

Romania is One of the First Exhibitors of ITB Berlin

Interview with David Ruetz, Head of ITB Berlin, for Bucuresti What, Where, When & Bucharest NightLIFE, by Gabriel Arsene, Editor in Chief

Gabriel Arsene: Tell us more, please, about travel trends in the run up of the ITB Berlin 2014.
David Ruetz: In recent years there has been a paradigm shift in the travel industry. Before travellers actually go on holiday they deal with a host of different channels such as the internet, smartphone apps, traditional media and travel agencies. For the travel industry this means that it must coordinate the information and products it offers to an even greater degree. Today the path a customer takes before ultimately booking a trip is no longer difficult to understand. Big data offers a wealth of information, helping to better understand customer behavior. This helps to significantly improve the dialogue with the customer and enables the travel industry to tailor its products accordingly, which in the medium term can potentially boost sales. For the tourism industry, rapidly developing omni-channel marketing instruments such as real-time advertising and user centric marketing are becoming more and more important.
This year, ITB Berlin will kick off with an event on the topical subject of omni-channel marketing featuring high-ranking participants. Digital omni-channel marketing has combined the various methods of addressing the customer to a greater degree than the previous model of multi-channel marketing. For the tourism industry, rapidly developing omni-channel marketing instruments such as real-time advertising and user centric marketing are becoming more and more important. Among those taking part in the new ITB Summit on 4 March 2014 from 2 to 6 p.m. will be Facebook’s Head of Travel Lee McCabe, who will talk about the prospects for social media securing new customers. Rounding off the programme will be a thought-provoking discussion at which members of various parts of the media will debate the future of marketing communications.
Gabriel Arsene: Do you consider that the German travel market (in- and outgoing) developed during the years after each edition of ITB, or the ITB developed studying the trends of the German and International travel market?
David Ruetz: ITB Berlin unites supply and demand from around the world. In doing so, it always provided significant impetus for growth – not only for the German market. ITB Berlin kicks off the travel season around the globe. No other place in the world gathers so many leading representatives from the private and public sector. This is where the tone is set for the future of travel for a billion people every year. In 2013, ITB Berlin attracted over 110,000 trade visitors, of whom about 40 per cent come from abroad. The large part of international buyers is proof that ITB Berlin is the most important marketplace for the global travel industry.
Gabriel Arsene: Where would you place ITB Berlin 2014, the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show, within the complex International travel market?
David Ruetz: ITB Berlin is truly the world’s leading travel trade show. Every year ITB Berlin creates the best B2B platform enabling its exhibitors from all over the world to initiate excellent business dealings and make first-class contacts. All sectors of the leisure and corporate travel market are represented. The volume of business negotiated and concluded at the show is in the order of six billion Euros. This is impressive proof that ITB Berlin gives exhibitors’ business a long-term boost. In addition, ITB Berlin offers an ideal fixed costs ratio compared to the volume of business initiated measured against the number of buyers (cost per contact), ideal services and infrastructure. It also stages one of the world’s largest and most important tourism conventions with over 21,000 participants. It is recognized as the leading think tank of the global travel industry and addresses the most important issues in this industry. It presents solutions and best practice examples for current and future challenges. Exclusive empirical studies, expert panelists and innovative concepts offer indispensable insights into the major trends of the global tourism industry and also provide specific guidance on how this could relate to the own business.
Gabriel Arsene: Do you have any statistics or information regarding Romania's presence at ITB, during the years? Do you see Romania as an Official Partner Country? What steps should take the Romanian National Tourism Authority in this regard?
David Ruetz: Romania is one of the first exhibitors of ITB Berlin. Since many years Romania´s participation at ITB Berlin with a booth of 400 square meters is impressive. This year, an all-new, smaller-sized hall has been set up for Europe (Hall 7.2b), which will be home to Romania. The new hall layout with its geographical divisions makes it easier for visitors to find their way around. It shortens the distances they need to cover, thus giving them more time to find out about new things and have in-depth meetings. We hope that Romania will do even better business this year due to this improvement.
Each year ITB Berlin receives applications from a number of countries for a partnership. The choice of the official partner country is determined by several factors, including a particular country's long-term strategy and a clearly defined concept for its appearance at ITB Berlin. The costs incurred by the guest country depend on the scope of the presentation but can be expected to amount to at least several million Euros. The organisation of the opening event is one of the partner country’s “obligations”. The country is also expected to take over a share of the convention activities, rent highly visible advertising areas on the Exhibition Grounds and stage various events in and around Berlin. If Romania is interested in being a partner country, we surely can offer an attractive package. There is no specific procedure for selecting the partner country at ITB Berlin. Informal consultations should be the first step.

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