Read about day one here.
My second day at the ITB started with a presentation on the all-singing, all-dancing (literally) Mario, a humanoid robot who works in the Marriott Hotel in Ghent. The charming automaton works on the welcome desk greeting guests in 19 languages and handing out key cards. He also gives PowerPoint presentations in meetings, talks at events and chats to guests at the buffet. Worried about him replacing human staff? Don’t be. His popularity has increased bookings in the hotel, apparently leading to more employees being hired!
There were a lot of interesting talks in the wellness auditorium today, including a talk by an exclusive, luxury resort by the sea in northern Germany. The speaker was convinced that it’s possible to create unique wellness experiences in Germany that are just as good as those in Mexico or Dubai, and from the video she showed us, it seems she’s right. She stressed that every hotel should do its best to incorporate nature into its business model and do something with it.
Next up was a talk on wellness trends with a PowerPoint full of facts and percentages. Here I learned that more than 70% of hoteliers are planning investments in 2016 and just under 60% of guests would prefer to book an adult-only hotel. The speaker, Wibke Metzger, also made it clear that people want to use their time effectively, which makes life go faster. As a result, people work too much and don’t take enough time out (something I definitely recognised in myself!).
In the afternoon I attended a talk on digital natives, which highlighted the work trends among millennials. Connectivity, sharing and flexibility seemed to be the overarching trends woven through this talk. According to the speaker, people want flexible workplaces, e.g. coworking spaces, and the ability to choose when to work and when to take time off. Workations (working + vacation) are apparently going to be a trend of the future, which I found pretty interesting as I’m planning to take my laptop to Malta and work from there in May.
After this, I attended a networking event organised by the Adventure Travel Trade Association. I got the chance to meet and chat to a range of very interesting people, something that I had thus far struggled to do (even at lunch, people preferred to sit on their phones and read magazines around me yesterday and today every empty seat I found was apparently taken by an invisible person). Unfortunately I didn’t win one of the many prizes the association had to give away. Maybe next time!
Tomorrow is my last day at the ITB. Stay tuned for the last update!
Read about day three here.