ITB Berlin Convention 2022: News highlights from Wednesday, 9 March 2022
How the company behind Facebook is building a virtual universe
Building the virtual metaverse may still take a few years, but Jan Starcke, Travel Industry lead of Meta, the company behind Facebook, was inviting everyone from startups to global players to contribute. As an example of how it could benefit the travel industry, he said that customers could collect information on their destination in a 3D-animated / digitalised space before booking their trip. It would also be a giant leap forward for providers.
Airbnb observes a trend towards longer stays and is helping 100,000 Ukrainian refugees
Creating a strong community and strengthening the brand instead of spending on search engine marketing – this successful concept has enabled Airbnb to achieve higher sales than before the coronavirus pandemic. One of the platform’s main advantages is its ability to adapt well to new trends. This adaptability is currently enabling Airbnb to provide an unprecedented degree of assistance by offering free accommodation at short notice for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, as the company reported in an interview.
Travel Compass 2022 confirms customers‘ need for flexibility and security
The coronavirus crisis has led suppliers and customers to reconsider the question of online payments. This is one of the main findings of the Travel Compass 2022, presented by Jörg Kablitz, Managing Director DACH at PayPal, and Markus Heller, Managing Partner at Dr. Fried und Partner. Other well known effects have been shorter reservation deadlines, the desire for increased flexibility and a willingness to spend more on travel.
The Convention & Culture Partner Georgia has numerous treasures to offer
The origins of the human race lie in Africa, but the first hominoid remains found by scientists outside Africa were discovered in Georgia. The country with a surface area of 60,000 square kilometres, which with two 5,000 metre peaks boasts two of Europe’s highest mountains, not only has a long history but a hugely diverse one as well. At a press conference, Irina Koshoridze, an art history professor from Tbilisi, and Vakhtang Licheli, an archaeology professor, presented some of the highlights of this year’s Convention & Culture Partner at ITB.
Introducing hotel technology start-ups
There is still an enormous gap in the hotel sector between customers’ expectations and what they are actually offered. This was the conclusion drawn by David Soskin from the business consultancy Howzat Partners about the current digitalisation situation as it applies to hotel stays. However, he is encouraged by the sense of a new beginning at the ITB Berlin Convention 2022 and the presentations of various start-ups seeking to improve customer relations and internal processes.
How Big Data is transforming tourism
Data is the new oil, but how can it be used in tourism? On Wednesday three professionals gave insights into their strategies at the ITB Berlin Convention. Within the framework of the eTravelTracks and at the panel discussion entitled “The Power of BI: New Data Trends and Data Skills for the Travel Industry” Andreas Wulfes, CEO of Neusta Data Intelligence, Hayley Berg, Head of Price Intelligence at Hopper, and Mathias Gerber, Regional Director Central Europe at Sojern, showed what they have in store.
Awards for Himalayan Ecotourism and AguiKat
“Responsible tourism is necessary and possible – and is being presented with an award for the 27th time at ITB Berlin”, announced Rika Jean-François, Corporate Social Responsibility Officer for ITB Berlin at the digital award ceremony. The Study Group for Tourism and Development has been presenting the international “TO DO Award” since 1995 to initiatives that enable local inhabitants to share in tourism projects. In 2022 the “International Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism” prize went to the Indian trekking project Himalayan Ecotourism. In addition the AguiKat initiative received the TO DO Award “Human Rights in Tourism”.
The inexorable advance of decentralised digital wallets
The decentralised electronic wallet is coming, agreed the participants in a panel discussion about “Digital Wallets” at the ITB Berlin Convention. Especially in a highly fragmented travel market they offer a high degree of security and make life easier for travellers and service providers as well as border control personnel.
Innovative technologies will change business travel management, however personal contacts remain important
Nothing can replace a business trip, because a Zoom session does not build trust. When a competitor pays the customer a visit that is when, at the latest, every company has to react by meeting in person. On that basic point there was general agreement at this debate on the future of business travel. All the same, the world of business is likely to change, not only because of the pandemic, but as a result of new technologies and the debate surrounding sustainability.
An industry on its way to a new normal after the pandemic
At the C-Level Interview entitled ‘What is next for travel? An industry in transformation’ moderated by Lea Jordan, Axel Hefer, CEO of trivago, was convinced that few things will be the same as before. The tourism industry had faced unprecedented challenges and to a certain extent now had to deal with irreversible changes. At the same time the crisis was an opportunity for a transformation that promised improvement – such as a new appreciation of the value of travel, destinations and local residents.
Employing personalised data and AI is the key to success
Especially during and after the pandemic, the industry must stay focused on technology as a key element of travel and tourism. On Wednesday, a panel of experts discussed how technologies can determine the future of travel. The tourism professionals were unanimous that there would be an increasing use of AI and that employing personalised data was the key to success.
Medical tourism prepares to offer post-pandemic treatment
As tragic as the serious human and economic consequences are, there is a positive outlook on the horizon after the coronavirus pandemic, one example being medical tourism. The quicker destinations are able to prepare for rehabilitating those who have recovered, the better they can overcome the crisis. That became clear in the presentation of platforms for the wellness and spa industry. Rika Jean-François, CSR commissioner of ITB, presented the ITB Medical Tourism Award to the Slovakian Spa Association for its quick response to the latest challenges.
There are still discrepancies in the hotel sector in the digitalisation of added value
Whereas tourism’s end customers are becoming used to a growing number of digital processes for reservations and payment, there are still large digital gaps between the various players in the value added chain. This was made evident during the panel discussion between spokespersons from Voxel, Mastercard and PayPal about future digital payment methods and the trends and developments in this context.
Digital assistants now accompany the entire customer journey
Artificial intelligence as an opportunity for a new form of brand communication – this was the subject addressed by Denise Böhm, Technical Lead, Social Media at the German National Tourist Board (DZT) and Alexander Wahler, CEO and co-founder of Onlim GmbH. “Artificial intelligence has now arrived in tourism”, commented Denise Böhm. Using digital assistants as an example, the DZT showed how technology is already changing brand communication throughout the entire customer journey, and bringing progress with it.
How Condor is generating extra bookings with personalised and interactive videos
80 per cent of global data traffic stems from data videos. Hardly any other medium is as well suited to triggering an emotional reaction as a video clip. The Condor airline is using personalised sales videos to significantly increase the response to its customer emails. Jens Boyd from Condor and Sebastian Beck from ISO Travel Solutions GmbH were able to explain how this works.
Inspiration, tips for events and numerous fascinating stories about Saxony-Anhalt
“UNESCO likes to take a look before it awards the title of ’World Heritage Site’“, said Matthias Ulrich from IMG Sachsen-Anhalt during his presentation. Thus, it was all the more amazing to look at Saxony-Anhalt, where there were all of six World Heritage Sites. In Naumburg, Dessau-Roßlau, Wörlitz, Quedlinburg, Halle (Saale), Lutherstadt Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg one could visit buildings, properties and architectural ensembles of unique historical importance. In 2022, visitors can look forward to numerous events and festivals.
The Balearics are focusing on environmental awareness and social responsibility in tourism
Francina Armengol, president of the regional government of the Balearics, intends to focus on quality rather than quantity in tourism, as she explained in an interview on the future of this destination. That way, one could turn the pandemic into an opportunity to take on the market with new, improved products. “Tourism tomorrow will be sustainable“, Armengol emphasised. “Nature is our only future. That is why “less is more”, to the benefit of humans and nature.
The complete videos from Convention Day 1 and 2 are available on
Information for the media and bloggers:
ITB Berlin Convention: attendance is free, but you must register online in advance – itb.com/de/besuchen/tickets/.
Digital Business Day: press accreditation is required – itb.com/de/presse/akkreditierung/. Upon approval of your accreditation you will receive a personalised link for the Digital Business Day. As of Tuesday, 15 March 2022 this link will be active and provide access for onboarding and participation in the Digital Business Day.
About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention
Since 1966, ITB Berlin has been the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. The ITB Berlin Convention, the largest event of its kind, will be held in the period originally scheduled as an entirely virtual event on the new brand website itb.com. The World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) is official “overall sponsor” of the ITB Berlin Convention. Mascontour is sponsor of the Future & Resilience Track at the ITB Berlin Convention. On 17 March the Digital Business Day will give the industry an opportunity to exchange views and do business in a virtual setting from anywhere in the world. As a virtual industry marketplace, it is a further addition to the ITB brand family. A series of B2B networking events which ITB Berlin is planning at European host destinations this year will round off the concept. 3,513 exhibitors from 120 countries were represented at the virtual edition of ITB Berlin NOW 2021 for the duration of the event. Some 65,700 users visited the new online platform, around two-thirds of whom were from abroad. In 2019 around 10,000 exhibitors from 181 countries displayed their products and services to 160,000 visitors, including 113,500 trade visitors. Additional information is available at www.itb.comand from the ITB Social Media Newsroom
About Messe Berlin
Berlin has been a trade fair location for 200 years, and one of the most important in the world for many decades. As the state-owned trade fair company, Messe Berlin makes a major contribution to the city’s position. It designs, markets and organizes hundreds of live events every year. Its broad portfolio includes the global brands and leading trade fairs IFA, InnoTrans, ITB, FRUIT LOGISTICA and the International Green Week, as well as major conferences and outstanding events, such as the Fan Mile at the Brandenburg Gate. With around 90 offices abroad, Messe Berlin markets its events in over 170 countries. Every year around 25,000 media representatives from all over the world are accredited to the events at the company's headquarters under the Radio Tower in Berlin alone. Messe Berlin strives to be an outstanding host to visitors at all of its events, to provide the best possible business impetus and to ensure fair conditions for everyone. This self-image is reflected in the company motto: Messe Berlin - Hosting the World. www.messe-berlin.de