ITB Berlin NOW Convention 2021 - The Leading Travel Industry Think Tank

Rethink, Regenerate, Restart - Tourism for a Better Normal

ITB Berlin NOW Convention Program Highlights for a Hospitality Professionals and Hoteliers

We've selected the ITB Berlin NOW Convention program's parts we find especially interesting from a hospitality and hotel professional's viewpoint.

ITB Berlin Convention Soft Opening (Monday) l ITB Berlin Future Track (Tuesday) l ITB Marketing & Distribution Track (Wednesday) l eTravel Data Talks (Thursday) l eTravel Hospitality Technology Forum, hosted by techtalk.travel (Friday) l ITB Berlin NOW Virtual Hospitality Café, powered by Infor (all days)

Lea Jordan, Image: Messe Berlin GmbH

ITB Berlin Convention Soft Opening

Shape the Future of the Travel Industry l Philip C. Wolf and Lea Jordan about Opportunities for the Travel Industry

Two generations (of travel professionals) in a forward-looking conversation about opportunities for the travel and tourism industry.

Philip C. Wolf (Travel Industry Investor, Mentor & Serial Board Director, Former Founder of Phocuswright) industry veteran and Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at techtalk.travel, shared ideas in a genuine conversation, focusing on opportunities. What actions to take and why pivoting is crucial? How do companies look like that embrace the crisis successfully and will step out as winners? Why is this a time to think about market share growth? What role play collaboration, leadership, mentoring, and technology? 

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)

techtalk.travel's Team Note: Philip C. Wolf passed away prematurely on 16th March 2021. Our sincere condolences and sympathy are with his family, friends, colleagues, and mentees. We join the many travel professionals worldwide in honoring his memory.


ITB Berlin Future Track

Google, Richard Holden in Interview: Helping the Travel Industry Prepare for What’s Next

Richard Holden, Vice President Product at Google, interviewed by Gerry Romanescu, Managing Director at G&B Travel & Hospitality Partners Switzerland. Richard shared insights on Google travel-related search trends, announced that Google makes it free for hotels to appear in the Google Booking links, and provided some context around that offering. Also, he recommends travel industry professionals to leverage this Google website, that offers helpful tools and real-time data insights about where demand is coming from: travelinsights.withgoogle

Watch this interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Hyatt Hotels, Mark S. Hoplamazian in Interview: The Future of the Hospitality Industry

Mark S. Hoplamazian, President & CEO at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, interviewed by Lea Jordan from techtalk.travel
Mark shared what he expects the global hospitality industry's recovery to look like, mid-term and long-term - looking beyond the crisis and how the hospitality industry will evolve. Mark spoke about social change and new customer needs. Looking at changes in society accelerated by the pandemic and current crisis, what changes he sees and anticipates in consumer demands. Looking into the future, Mark elaborates on the most significant changes that will stay with us as a society and ultimately reflect on consumer behavior and Hyatt's value proposition. Also, he explains how Hyatt approaches Diversity and Inclusion and its role in Hyatt's overall strategy.

Watch the interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Accor Hotels CCO Patrick Mendes in Interview: Outlook Global Hotel Market and Hospitality Mega Trends

Executive Interview: Patrick Mendes, Chief Commercial Officer at Accor Hotels, interviewed by Monica Pitrelli, Editor and Global Traveler at CNBC

Watch the interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer about Traveller Trends, Insights and Tripadvisor's Innovations for the Tourism Industry

CEO Interview: Steve (Stephen) Kaufer, CEO at TripAdvisor LLC, interviewed by Christa Larwood, Travel Journalist at BBC

Watch the interview on-demand here.(Ticket required)


Sabre CEO Sean Menke in Interview: Looking beyond the crisis towards a new era of personalized travel

ITB CEO Interview: Sean Menke, President & CEO at Sabre Corporation, interviewed by Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at techtalk.travel.

In this conversation, Sean Menke explores how he’s set up Sabre, a leading software and technology provider powering the global travel industry, for success beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Weathering many crises over the years and decades, travel has always proved resilient and Sean is convinced that the industry has the opportunity to come out stronger on the other side. Technology will play a major role in facilitating recovery, ushering in a new era of personalized travel that will present more opportunities for businesses and a better experience for travellers.

Watch this interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Deutsche Hospitality CEO Marcus Bernhardt in interview: The future of the European hotel market, market consolidation, the role of digitization and learnings from Asia

ITB CEO Interview: Marcus Bernhardt, Chief Executive Officer at Deutsche Hospitality, interviewed by Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at techtalk.travel.

How will Deutsche Hospitality manage to become one of the top 3 European hotel companies within the coming 5 years, as well as growing the portfolio from today 130 to 600 - 700 hotels within 5 years only? How does the future of the German and European hotel market look like? Marcus Bernhardt talks about his growth and expansion plans, hotel market consolidation and the example of Deutsche Hospitality. He speaks about technology adoption in the hospitality industry, looking at the digitisation of the customer journey and guest loyalty: what can we learn from Asia? How does COVID-19 change customer demands and consumer behavior? How did Deutsche Hospitality respond?

Watch this interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Marriott International, President EMEA Satya Anand about the Transformation of the European Hospitality Industry

ITB Outlook Keynote: Satya Anand, shares his views on how the European Hotel Industry's recovery will look.
European hoteliers need to focus on three focal areas: First, to have a robust leisure product and strategy. Second, business travel will evolve, and so must we (hotel industry). Third, service and operational delivery must be on point to secure consumers' trust. Satya shares context on each of these focal areas and defines four critical factors for hoteliers to focus on: cleanliness and hygiene, digital, sustainability, and service excellence. Satya states we are entering a new renaissance of travel, with significant change and opportunities, and predicts those who embrace the new will be the winners and that 'our collective love of travel will never disappear'. Satya's top 3 thoughts for the hospitality industry are to listen to the customer, to support your people, and to remain agile and ready.

He closes his keynote and the ITB Future Day with the claim: 'Let's embrace the change together!'

Watch the keynote speech on-demand here. (Ticket required)


ITB Marketing & Distribution Track

Money Rules the World - Financial Investors and Tourism Trends

Sascha Hausmann, Partner at HOWZAT ennea Group interviewed by Gerry Romanescu, Managing Director at G&B Travel and Hospitality Partners Switzerland. How is the pandemic and current crisis impacting financial flows? What tourism and travel trends are VCs and financial investors focusing on? What are the implications for travel and hospitality offers of the future?

Watch this interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Amazon Web Services - Cloud Services: New Opportunities for the Global Travel and Tourism Industry

Executive Interview: David Peller, Managing Director, Travel and Hospitality, Amazon Web Services (AWS), interviewed by Philip C. Wolf, Former Founder at Phocuswright and Serial Board Director

Watch this interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Hospitality Thought Leaders l 3 Questions, 9 Minutes

Selina CEO and Founder Rafel Museri about Hybrid Hospitality, Workcation & Extended Stay

Rafael Museri, CEO & Co-Founder at Selina speaks with Lea Jordan about why now, more than ever, is the time for hybrid hospitality concepts, what Selina is about, why Selina pivoted their product and commercial offer to meet new customer demands. Selina claims to have the ideal product to meet customers' post Covid-19 expectations - How come? Why is Selina growing and expanding despite the crisis?

Watch this session on-demand here.(Ticket required)


denizen Founder David Turnbull about the Future of Hospitality - Rethinking Real Estate & Space

David Turnbull, Founder at denizen-next generation neighborhoods

Why are the worlds of hospitality and commercial real estate colliding? From 'space as a service' to 'space with a service' - what is this shift about? Who are the long-term winners and how will Real Estate look like in 2030?

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Glenn Fogel, CEO at Booking.com about the Future of European and Global Travel Distribution 

CEO Interview: Glenn Fogel, CEO at Booking.com, interviewed by Philip C. Wolf, Former Founder at Phocuswright and Serial Board Director

Watch this CEO-Interview on-demand here. (Ticket required)


B&B Hotels CEO Max C. Luscher about the future of Budget Hospitality

Hospitality Thought Leaders, 3 Questions, 9 Minutes: Max C. Luscher, CEO Central & Northern Europe at B&B Hotels

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


eTravel Data Talks

From Human Touch to Human Tech - The Role of Data towards a frictionless Travel Experience across all Travel Verticals l Panel

Image: Messe Berlin GmbH, (Lea Jordan, Christian Warneck, Anthony Hunt, James Adams and Dirk Rogl - left to right)

Panel with Anthony Hunt, Vice President Strategy at Shiji Group; James Adams, Chief Commercial Officer at Sixt; and Christian Warneck, Vice President Airline Solutions at Amadeus. Moderated by Dirk Rogl and Lea Jordan.

  • How to maximize data across the entire travel value chain?
  • What is needed to provide a seamless and personalized travel experience? What are challenges, opportunities?
  • And what’s next: How to leverage and store data to reduce friction for the traveller?

Watch the impulse keynote 'From Human Touch to Human Tech' by Christian Warneck from Amadeus on-demand here. (Ticket required)

Watch the panel discussion with Christian Warneck from Amadeus, Anthony Hunt from Shiji Group and James Adams from Sixt on-demand here. (Ticket required)


eTravel Hospitality Technology Forum, hosted by techtalk.travel

Reasons to be optimistic - Technology, Hospitality, and the way forward

Stan van Roij, Vice President – Hospitality Solutions & Program Management at Infor

Stan van Roij puts the spot on 8 key areas that hospitality organizations need to address in order to stay resilient as we head further into the 2020s. Cloud, Mobility, touch-less technology and more.

Watch the keynote on-demand here. (Ticket required)


How AI Chatbots supported hotels during the crisis

Olga Heuser, CEO & Co-Founder at DialogShift speaks about how to unlock the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and conversational bots in hospitality, how to drive direct bookings and support personal service while freeing up employees from having to handle recurring requests and tasks.

Watch the Best Practice Case 'The Rise of Hotel Chatbots' presented by Olga Heuser on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Upselling and Digital Marketing: Automation Makes it Easy

Valyn Perini, Vice President Partnerships and Marketing at Nor1, an Oracle Company: Guest requests for upgrades are as old as the hotel industry itself but realizing that upgrade demand on a hotel's digital channels is an operational burden. Automation and intelligence are the solutions. Understand how to optimize digital real estate to present relevant and targeted offers to guests, generating loyalty and driving revenue without adding operational overhead.

Watch the Best Practice Case on-demand here. (Ticket required)


The Power of Listening builds Trust

Benjamin Jost, CEO and Co-Founder at TrustYou

The key to building trust lies in communication and feedback. We call it the “power of listening”, says Benjamin. First, in the booking phase, hoteliers can reassure travelers of their stringent cleanliness efforts by prominently displaying safety certifications and recent guest reviews. When the guest arrives on-site, real-time messaging and survey technology enables seamless conversations with the hotel, allowing them to solve issues quickly and earn their guests’ trust. Lastly, after the guest checks-out, hoteliers can assess the levels of cleanliness, sanitization, and COVID-19 measures based on guest feedback. In the end, this flow will build and nurture trusted relationships between hoteliers and their guests. Learn more about how to build trust in this session.

Watch this keynote on-demand here. (Ticket required)

Rebuilding Trust in Hospitality - Discussing the Importance of Guest Reviews and Feedback

Georg Ziegler, HolidayCheck; Benjamin Jost, TrustYou and Lea Jordan, techtalk.travel (left to right)

Panel with Benjamin Jost, CEO at TrustYou and Georg Ziegler, Director Brand, Content & Community at HolidayCheck, moderated by Lea Jordan.

Watch the Panel about Guest Reviews and Feedback on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Contactless hotel technology tools and their impact on reliance in a post-Covid world l Best Practice Case, 5:40 pm

Byron Webster, Co-Founder & Executive Director at SABA Hospitality; Mikel Arriet, General Manager at Anya Resort Tagaytay; Martin B Jones, Chief Disruption Officer at MBJ Associates; and Take Picken, General Manager at the Shangri-La Singapore.

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Impala's Founder Ben Stephenson on Hotel Distribution 2.0 and why deep connectivity will change distribution in the hospitality industry for good

Ben Stephenson, Founder & CEO at Impala

Historically hotels have had to rely on an extremely fragmented distribution stack to sell their rooms through OTAs and TMCs. The multiple layers of Bedbanks, Channel Managers and GDS have created a world where no one knows who's selling what and how. Distribution 2.0 is now allowing hotels to build direct relationships with sellers at scale, ensuring that the right room is in front of the right guest at the right time, all with consistent static content and rate parity that doesn't need to be policed. 

In the coming years, without steep integration fees, Distribution 2.0 will also provide for a new generation of room sellers. These sellers are already building new booking experiences that allow guests to pick individual rooms, perform pre-check in, or see a view before they arrive, generating extra revenue for hotels and better end-to-end journeys for travellers.

Watch the session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Automation and Digitisation: Revolutionising the guest journey in 2021 and beyond l Best Practice Case

Michael Kessler, CEO at ReviewPro

As travel recovers and guests start coming back, accommodation providers will be operating with leaner teams and a strong need for efficiency and agility. Automation, AI, chatbot and messaging solutions will be key to any organization's success. But these improvements are not a flash in the pan: setting the correct processes now will set you ahead of the game once recovery hits. In fact, Michael predicts that the digital revolution that we have seen in other areas of life will also be a game changer for hospitality.

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


Digital Payments in Hospitality - Why payment processes are essential to a future-proof commercial hotel strategy

Jarno-Alexander Stuth, Vice President Key Accounts at Concardis, interviewed by Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at techtalk.travel

Watch this session on-demand here. (Ticket required)


ITB Berlin NOW Virtual Hospitality Café, powered by Infor and hosted by techtalk.travel

For those who want to exchange ideas and knowledge with other users and exhibitors the places to meet were the themed virtual cafés at ITB Berlin NOW. 

André Baljeu, Founder at techtalk.travel hosted the Hospitality Café powered by Infor - Thank you to everyone who came by for a virtual coffee and great conversations about hotel technology.

Stan van Roij, Vice President – Hospitality Solutions & Program Management; Wolfgang Emperger, Vice President Infor Hospitality and Jens Boecker, Director of Sales DACH & CEE from Infor have been around to chat with you about Cloud Technology, Property Management, Revenue Management, Sales & Catering, Financials, BI & Analytics.


ITB Berlin NOW l Facts & Figures at a glance

The Platform: www.itb-now.com

The platform will be open until 31 May 2021.
The Live Event, incl. the ITB Berlin NOW Convention took place from 09th - 12th March 2021.
Good to know: All interviews, sessions and panels from the ITB Berlin NOW Convention will be available on-demand until 31st May 2021 on the ITB Berlin NOW platform.


About ITB Berlin NOW

ITB Berlin NOW took place from Tuesday, 9 to Friday, 12 March for trade visitors only and as an entirely virtual event. During the five-day event, around 65,700 users visited the online platform. ITB Berlin is the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. As part of ITB Berlin NOW, the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, the largest travel industry event of its kind, also took place as a virtual event. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is the co-host, Mascontour Track is the sponsor of the ITB Future Track, Google and Lufthansa are track sponsors of the ITB Marketing & Distribution Track, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the ITB Sustainability Track partner, SIO AG is the track sponsor of the eTravel DATA TALKS and Studiosus is the session sponsor. For exhibitors, trade visitors and the media, participation in the ITB Berlin NOW Convention is included in the price of a ticket.

The ITB Berlin 2022 will take place from 9 to 13 March.

For additional information visit www.itb.com/now and from the ITB Social Media Newsroom.