[email protected] Berlin: using e-business and travel technology to gain a competitive edge


BERLIN – “Expanding E-Travel Across Europe” is the overarching theme of the Travel Technology Conference, which will be held on March 12, 2009 using English as the conference language. The program has been drawn up by PhoCusWright from the USA, internationally-acknowledged market researchers and consultants specializing in the travel sector.

The findings of the European Online Travel Overview from PhoCusWright show that the selective application of technology is indispensable for the success of the travel, tourism, and hospitality sector: “Today more than a quarter (28 percent) of European travel is booked online, and by 2010 the number of online bookings will have risen by a third,” according to Michaela Papenhoff, senior market analyst for PhoCusWright und CEO of h2c consulting gmbh. In a series of keynote speeches, executive round tables, CEO interviews, and brief “Five Minutes of Fame” presentations, [email protected] Berlin will provide comprehensive insights into developments, innovations, and new services.

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Prominent speakers on current developments in travel e-business
Highlights of the program will include the session, “Technical Innovation Re-Invents Train Travel Distribution.” In the future, buying rail tickets should be as easy as purchasing flight tickets online already is. The keynote address by Eberhard Kurz, CIO Deutsche Bahn AG, will provide an informative introduction to the discussion about technological and economic barriers and the possibilities for making reservations via the Internet.

Another keynote speech, “Luxury and Romance Meet Technology,” is also bound to stimulate debate. Tamara Heber-Percy, co-founder of the web portal, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and James Lohan, managing director of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” will explain about the wide-ranging online field of luxury brands, both in boutiques and in the travel industry.

A series of interesting executive round tables will provide plenty of material for discussion throughout the day. For example, “The Semantic Web Meets Travel” will give an indication of just how fast-moving the Internet is. No sooner does the full potential of the web appear to have been exhausted, when the next generation appears: the “Semantic Web.” Another round table entitled “The Power of Local,” promises to be quite contentious, too. Despite the worldwide expansion of large OTAs (online travel agencies), many regional OTAs continue to thrive on their own domestic markets. Their competitive advantages at a local level are the key to their success. The discussions about “Best Practices in Mobile Applications for Travel” will take a closer look at mobile travel communication. This includes new wireless technologies, convergent next-generation devices, and user-friendly applications such as mapping. And the round table dealing with “Economics of Pay Per Action (PPC) and Pay Per Click (PPA)” will reveal that hybrid business models are becoming increasingly attractive due to the inclusion of price excess among search terms (e.g., Google Adwords), thereby presenting a new challenge to traditional reservation methods.

In the four sessions entitled “Five Minutes of Fame,” CEOs of recent start-ups in the travel industry will provide some brief insights into their successful business models. “The most important feature of this extensive program is that the deployment of travel technology will be explained by prominent speakers using practical examples from the business world,” according to Michaela Papenhoff. “Experts in sales, marketing, and corporate development in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors will be able to learn how to make best use of technological progress in order to achieve earnings, improve margins, and attain operative efficiency.”

And March 11, 2009 will see the start of the second PhoCusWright Bloggers Summit, which began so successfully last year. Bloggers from the travel industry will exchange ideas about current and future trends in the field of user-generated content. There will be free workshops presenting numerous case histories, addressing such aspects as fragmentation and consolidation in the areas of social media, Twitter, and SEO.

[email protected] Berlin will be taking place on March 11 and 12, 2009 in Hall 7.3, Europa Room, during the ITB Berlin Convention. More details about the events are available at www.itb-convention.com/phocuswright . Advance applications to attend PhoCusWright [email protected] can be made online. The participation fee is 350 euros and covers all the sessions, snack, lunch, and a cocktail reception following the conference. An Early Bird rate of just 300 instead of 350 euros applies until January 31.

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
ITB Berlin 2009 will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Sunday, March 15 and will be open to trade visitors from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade fair, the ITB Berlin Convention will be taking place from Wednesday, March 11 to Saturday, March 14, 2009. For full program details, click on www.itb-convention.com.

Fachhochschule Worms and the US-based market research company PhoCusWright, Inc. are partners of the ITB Berlin Convention. Turkey is co-hosting this year’s ITB Berlin Convention. Other sponsors of the ITB Berlin Convention include Top Alliance, responsible for VIP service; hospitalityInside.com, the media partner of the ITB Hospitality Day; and Flug Revue, the media partner of the ITB Aviation Day. The Planeterra Foundation is the premium sponsor of the ITB Corporate Social Responsibility Day, and Gebeco is the premium sponsor of the ITB Tourism and Culture Day. TÜV International is the basic sponsor of the event entitled “Practical Aspects of CSR.” The following are partners collaborating with the ITB Business Travel Days: Air Berlin PLC & Co. Luftverkehrs KG, Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR), Vereinigung Deutscher Veranstaltungsorganisatoren e.V., HSMA Deutschland e.V., Deutsche Bahn AG, geschaeftsreise1.de, hotel.de, Kerstin Schaefer e.K. – Mobility Services, and Intergerma. Air Berlin is the premium sponsor of the ITB Business Travel Days 2009.