World Travel Market is a global event that provides travel related industries and hoteliers a platform to keep abreast with the latest in travel & trends, engage customers, socialize with like-minded people from various backgrounds and enjoy the best advice from leading travel brands and industry experts. For Hotelogix, WTM provided the ideal stage to launch our Freemium PMS – a free forever plan, exchange new technology ideas and conduct business on a larger scale.
Exhibiting at the global event, third time in a row got us about 600-800 visitors at our stand. It was good to see people from diverse fields inquire about our products and services. People appreciated the fact that Hotelogix PMS is available in multiple European languages like French, German and Spanish. The event opened doors to many business opportunities and helped us get positive feedback about our product from the end user’s point of view.
There were media channels, travel insurance companies and editors from famous hotel magazines like Travel Weekly and Boutique Hotelier who met us to understand our product and strategies better. WTM is an event that focuses on travel technology and Europe having a large density of independent hoteliers; acted as the right platform to launch Freemium, without any inhibitions or worries about the outcome. Very few trade shows provide such platforms to companies.
Freemium received great response at WTM. Initially, people were skeptical and asked us why we are taking this risk. On learning the intention behind the launch, they were happy to know that our aim is to empower small and mid-sized hotels by helping them adopt the cloud based PMS technology without any pressures of buying it. The plan was designed keeping in mind the independent hoteliers who are competing equally with big brands in the market. Not only competing for business but also for guest experience. Independent hoteliers aim to rise up to the ability to serve the guests with the best service possible. This is where automation becomes critical as it helps hoteliers to enhance guest experience. Hotels can compete with big brands in the market without having to be flagged or associated with them. Many hoteliers liked the plan as they felt it provided an opportunity to ease decision making by utilizing the product and reaping the benefits, with no obligations.
Big hotel brands like Hilton and Ramada found our Freemium approach interesting, not to forget TripAdvisor who encouraged us to serve the SMB market better. It was surprising to see hoteliers take keen interest in the latest technology.
I see this as a good change in the system as travelers are becoming tech savvy and with everything going online, it is the right time for hotels to adapt the latest technology. A decade from now, I see legacy systems fading away and only cloud technology prevail. Freemium is the first step for independent hoteliers to experience cloud technology at no cost.
During the hectic schedules, it was nice to have Zoe, the editor of Boutique Hotelier visit us on the first day. On learning that it was her birthday, we celebrated it in our style. We just hope she liked the Indian gifts. The first day ended with a cocktail party arranged by WTM which acted as an icing on the cake. The other two days were hectic with a lot of hoteliers, consultants, travel agents and tour operators visiting us. It was nice to interact with all of them. There were some light moments at the stand too. The ‘Roll the Dice’ game kept people in high spirits and about 25 people won fully loaded cloud PMSs by Hotelogix. The visitors enjoyed getting ‘Hotelogixed’ as they posed and clicked pictures with the beautiful hostess, Barbora. The game provided visitors a break from the seriousness of the travel technology section of the event.
Hotelogix had partnered with Just a Drop foundation, an international water aid charity to support clean, drinking water. We supported the organization by keeping water coolers at our stand for visitors to come and refill their bottles. I hope we contributed enough to promote their mission of clean drinking water for kids.
There were some fun moments at the stand. As a token of gratitude, we gave out unique wooden pencils, card holders and power banks to visitors who came by our stand. They were extremely happy to receive the goodies. Some of the hoteliers were intrigued by the way the pencil looked as they thought that it was a weapon and they would come back to re-confirm if it is a pencil. The pencil was made of real bark and due to its unique look, it built curiosity among people. Those moments made for good laughs.
After the warm response we received at WTM this year, we look forward to exhibiting next year too with new business ideas to help independent hoteliers grow along with the changing technology.
Note: This blog was originally published on Linkedin Pulse.