ITB has come and gone.

It’s incredible to think that just a week ago ITB’s 50th anniversary was in full swing. As the world’s leading travel trade show, it brought together people and companies from across the travel industry and the globe. While maintaining its rich culture and international perspective, it also delivered on its strategic focus: The future of travel.

And we were honoured to be a part of that.

We connected with hoteliers and industry professionals all throughout ITB Berlin’s seminars, trade floors, and happy-hours. Industry experts presented on the future of travel for B2B business and we were wowed by the Oculus, mini robot, and life-like robot hostess that managed guest queries.

In case you couldn’t make it to ITB this year, we’re showcasing the highlights and insights that made it an experience to be a part of. We want you to feel like you were there with us. If you did attend the show, let us know what you enjoyed most in the comments below.

The future of travel

There was a significant focus on virtual reality and artificial intelligence this year at ITB. In one moment, we were experiencing the highest peaks of the Alps through advancement in virtual technology. Moments later, we were greeted by Toshiba’s robotic concierge. The life-like robot was stationed in one of the hallway foyers, to engage with guests. Do you think that robots like her will become the norm or is hospitality about the human touch? Many hoteliers were divided on this topic. But this was just the beginning of the discussions around the future of travel.

Skyscanner’s Filip Filipov delighted the audience with the latest in customer booking behaviour. He showed attendees how technology influences the way travellers search for their ideal flight and accommodations online. He hinted at the fact that the main travel demographic is younger and more technologically inclined than ever before. He showed us how audio devices may be used by this demographic to obtain search results efficiently based on articulated wants and needs. He explored the typical way in which flights and accommodations display their information, with a focus on price, and revealed that travellers prefer to know all of the details that matter to them: What is and is not included in the price.

a crowd of people walking through the hallways at ITB

Hospitality as an education and as a profession

ITB had an entire hall dedicated to hospitality careers, populated by some of the most renowned educational institutions in the business. We stopped by and spoke with Prof. Dr. Sonja Munz from the University of Munich and Ulrike Kuhnhenn from the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality about where the curriculum is going and what some of the major aspects of hospitality education are today.

During the weekend, many students, bloggers, and individuals with a penchant for travel and tourism came through the trade show including the Istituto-Ivo De Carneri. Hailing from Northern Italy, this school is exceptionally unique. The students study marketing and tourism and focus on bonding with each other as much as they do networking with others.

We were delighted when they came to our booth and asked us what trivago is, what a CPC campaign entails and so on. After that, the conversation began to focus on our job opportunities and what life at trivago is like. Walk talked about the benefits, our values, and the dynamic onboarding week that is schedule for new-comers.

Networking

Ultimately, this is at the heart of ITB. Our head of Hotelier Care and Operations, Ioannis Savvidis, saidITB is the energy, it’s the passion, and it’s the people who are shaping the future of travel. They come together, under one roof to meet and share the latest in travel technology and hospitality. By taking part in ITB Berlin’s 50th anniversary this year, we got to meet with the traveller’s of tomorrow to help the hotels of today streamline their marketing goals.”

We met with hoteliers, destination marketers, and industry experts from across the globe. It was particularly special because the atmosphere at ITB is one that fostered learning as much as connecting socially. There was an emphasis on social marketing and ITB led many seminars around this topic, while other experts and hoteliers told us what ITB meant to them and their business.

We met with the hoteliers personally whom we typically work with online and there’s something to be said for the power of talking face-to-face. There’s this energy that hoteliers like Detlef of  Riemann Hotel in Bad Lautenberg and Sabine from Apfelhotel bring to the show that encourages further learning and bonding. And this is the power of ITB. It brings everyone together from across the industry, under one roof.

We connected with destination marketers from Germany, the USA, Holland, Georgia, the UK and beyond, and noticed a mutual air of excitement. Bonding began over discussions of travel trends and extended well into the early evening most days while accompanied with libations of choice. At the Holland booth we met Frans of Lovers Canal Tours and Esther from Lindbergh. We discussed the Internet as an ‘online market place’ and how it enables travel companies to connect with numerous travellers at once.

We shared notes about ITB and the experiences that we’d had thus far. Of ITB, Frans said that it’s “a real pleasant and important occasion to meet up with our business partners to talk about our products for the new season, our cooperation, and meet each other in person. For us it means a lot to participate … because a lot of people visit … to learn more about … touristic possibilities.”

Journalists and bloggers came to report on the latest trends as well. Many came by our booth to discuss the future of travel first hand.

trivago MD Johannes Thomas speaks with a journalist at ITB Berlin

Special Moments

Late in the afternoon on Friday we received a nomination and invitation to the annual Awards at ITB Berlin hosted by the Cologne Business School (CSB).  Our team headed to the award ceremonies Saturday evening along with hundreds of exhibitors and participants.

As soon as the show kicked off there were dances and cultural performances from across the globe. Early on in the ceremony, trivago was awarded a spot in the ‘Top 10’ exhibitors for the ‘Travel Technology’ category. We learned that this award was based on the overall impressions our stand left on incognito visitors from the CBS. It was also ranked for quality of information, authenticity, innovation and design. With this year being our first official attendance at ITB, we’re thankful for this recognition and look forward to making next year even more memorable.

It was an incredibly dynamic show, full of opportunity. We’d love to hear about your take so please don’t hesitate to connect with us via the comment section below or on social media via  #trivagoITB.

Jamie Patterson

Jamie believes that playing host to guests from far and wide enriches the soul. Especially when it means having a full hotel. Born to entrepreneurial parents, she’s passionate about business growth. With a decade of traditional and digital marketing work behind her, she’s joined trivago to demystify metasearch and hotel marketing for you. One blog post at a time.

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