Industry Update
Opinion Article19 October 2016

On a Digital Convergence at Digi.travel Cyprus

By Jim Butler, Partner, Chairman, Global Hospitality Group®

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At the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia key hospitality and tech decision makers are gathered today for the Digi.travel Cyprus Conference & Expo 2016. Organized for the first time with the collaboration of the Association of Cyprus Travel Agents ACTA, the summit puts leading technology providers alongside travel and hospitality professionals in the region.

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This Cyprus meet-up not only affords attendees networking and information uptake opportunities, it also provides industry executives outside the venue a rare look into today's most pressing hospitality and tourism initiatives. One example of this aspect comes to us in the form of a Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) stated goal of attracting Chinese tourists to the island. The Chairman of the organization, Angelos Loizou told reporters this week of plans to rapidly boost efforts to attract Chinese visitors, and the CTO's recent delegation to China. At Digi.travel Cyprus, an interesting convergence of noted hotel business experts, newsworthy technology-business entities, and local level industry players bear mentioning here.

Earlier today I spoke with the Director of E-Commerce & Distribution for Plateno Group in Europe, Tomasz Janczak (image above), about his work creating a China-connective called Plateno Connect. Janczak, who is in Nicosia to address the crowd at Digi.travel Cyprus, had this to offer about Plateno Connect's value proposition:

"Plateno was always focused on brand, marketing and distribution. Our expertise was always hospitality, that's why we see a great opportunity in collaboration with Cyprus' hoteliers in promoting this beautiful destination on the Chinese market. As the Cyprus Tourism Organization suggests, there are plans to bring 400,000 Chinese travelers to Cyprus, and our Plateno Connect platform is one definitive tool for achieving this goal."

At the crux of this "proposition" is Plateno's 80 million-plus strong loyalty community, of Chinese travelers largely dependent on the network the Chinese company leverages for them. The short version here is, PAI Hotels, Plateno Connect, and all of Plateno Groups brands and tools arrived at Digi.travel Cyprus today. Taking this aspect one step further, enter a company also represented in Cyprus, that assists hoteliers in delivering personalized service. Revinate is essentially a guest intelligence service that helps convert and retain guests. We caught up with Revinate's Marketing Manager EMEA, Thomas Landen (speaking above), just after his presentation to the crowd at Digi.travel Cyprus. We asked him about satisfying every guest experience to increase the bottom line. Landen told us:

"Define the key moments in the guest journey, both online and offline, and make sure you communicate with your guest in a personal and relevant matter."

So, right there in Nicosia the key facets of a new marketing paradigm come together. Digi.travel Cyprus reveals ideas and strategies this author first discussed on Tnooz in 2011 with Patrick Landman of Xotels, and concepts later refined by hotel marketing legend Martin Soler, and my old friend, digital business celebrity Brian Solis hashed out in Paris in 2015. In short, the upcoming Digi.travel conferences will provide even more stunning convergence. Next month independent hotel legend, Thomas Magnuson joins this author, Pamil Visions Travel PR founder (my partner) Mihaela Lica, and Hospitality Net's founder, Henri Roelings in Athens for the next iteration. I was fortunate to catch Magnuson this afternoon, and got this take from him:

"Independent hotel owners everywhere can win the loyalty of the next world's biggest market movement, the emerging Chinese middle class travel explosion westward. While satisfying this segment may seem hard, we really just need to make logical changes to welcome Chinese travellers, by offering; free Wi-Fi, slippers, a tea kettle, translated materials, Chinese food, Mandarin speaking staff, and smoking rooms."

Along with other special guests, Digi.travel will hammer out in gold, many of the real strategies the industry has long awaited. Many of the needed services and tools are right in front of us, as Magnuson suggests. His "old school" approach to new age marketing is something I've covered before too. Beyond the self promotion there, news some of the world's most fabulous destinations are tuned in is a big positive for not just me, but for hard pressed hoteliers looking for hard answers.

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