Highlights from ITB Berlin 2017

Last week the Cendyn team packed their bags from around Europe, Canada and the US to come together and join in on the madness that is ITB Berlin. Not only did we have the pleasure of attending ITB Berlin last week, we were also able to squeeze in attendance at both the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) and an event hosted by the HSMAI EU team at the beautiful Sofitel Berlin Kurfurstendamm in the lead up to ITB.

IHIF – March 6-7, 2017

The IHIF covered a multitude of topics but it’s big focus was looking at the current investment climate in Europe. The key themes that came across came out of 2016 and showed; significant growth of Airbnb, the tourism after-effects of terrorism in Europe, the impending Brexit landscape and finally how mergers and acquisitions (e.g. Starwood/Marriott) are affecting brand identities across the globe.

HSMAI event, March 7, 2017

The HSMAI Region Europe and Travel Industry Club Germany hosted an event on Tuesday March 7th that was targeted at the independent hotelier and really resonated with the whole audience. We heard from Steven van Belleghem, a thought leader on the transformation of customer relationships and the future of marketing. His presentation was truly inspiring, and coming from a marketing background myself, was taken aback with his predictive understanding of where customer-centric organizations are headed in our ever-changing, high speed digital world.

Steven took us through the journey of what makes brands successful with their loyal customers and what the future of this looks like for organizations across the globe. His love of Disney shone through quite a bit (see below for proof!), however as a brand, Disney’s true dedication to customer experience and happiness is one to be in awe of. We also saw examples from organizations such as Amazon, Zappos, Uber – all where the user interaction and experience has driven customer loyalty and brand recognition – instead of putting the love of the brand first. More and more we see this in the hospitality industry, as hoteliers live and breathe the importance of guest satisfaction and experience dictating where guest loyalty sits over the actual brand.

Following this, Steven went on to discuss what the future of customer satisfaction looks like and how technology and human interaction need to work together to create the perfect balance. To Steven, this was technology taking over the most laborious, admin-heavy aspects of everyday tasks in different organizations, leaving the human aspects of each role to shine through in qualities that we succeed in – understanding emotion, surprising customers and adding happiness to every experience. For hospitality, this could be huge; allowing employees at hotels to focus on the human interaction with guests, leaving the mundane tasks of checking-in, ordering room service etc. to technology. It would in turn make those processes fast, efficient and no longer a pain point from a guest perspective. This opened up the room to some great discussion, mainly about the opportunities within the hospitality industry and how behind and set in stone many properties are with their processes. Definitely a topic to watch, as I can only see this aspect of the hotel industry improve.

ITB Berlin, March 8-10, 2017

After HSMAI, the Cendyn team swiftly headed over to Messe Berlin, the incredibly large over-sized conference hall(s) that sit on the outskirts of Berlin. Wednesday was a great success in terms of attendance, the whole stand was buzzing with consultants, hoteliers and vendors walking up to discuss our products with the team. We also announced the exciting news that Cendyn is now the most integrated CRM in the hospitality industry, this news didn’t just resonate with hotel IT teams, it also highlighted the possibilities for marketers, sales and revenue staff. With over 175 technology vendors in the industry, Cendyn now allows hoteliers to see the one true single profile of their guest in one place, allowing them to cohesively pull data from all their platforms and work as a team to focus on what’s important for the guest.

This led us eagerly into Thursday where we saw the most traffic on our stand. At 1pm, Michael Bennett, SVP Global Marketing & Business Development joined with our SVP Product Marketing, Duane Hepditch, to discuss the concept of CRM³ – using Management, Measurement and Monitoring to capitalize on the use of CRM. Using these three aspects of CRM, they delved into how, through examples, hoteliers can understand what benefits hoteliers can see using CRM and ultimately what ROI and results can be seen. We saw examples from both the USA and Europe. Watch the presentation here:

Following that, Duane Hepditch headed over to the Sojern Lounge to take part in a panel session on how hoteliers can drive more direct bookings. He was joined by Sanjay Wahi, VP Product, Property Solutions, Sojern, Thomas Landen, Head of Marketing EMEA, Revinate and moderated by Nick Hall, Founder Digital Tourism Think Tank. The session was recorded so can be watched here!

It was a very busy week for the Cendyn team but hugely successful and of course, a few german beers were enjoyed by all in between! We’re already looking forward to next year!

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