FITUR is the leading tourism trade show for the Spanish and Latin American markets, showcasing the latest trends and innovations in the travel and tourism industry. Organized in January, it marks the beginning of the year for the industry. This year, the event had a focus on sustainability and digitalization and was set to attract a diverse range of attendees from around the world. Participants attend FITUR to gain valuable insights into the latest industry developments, network with key players, and explore new business opportunities.
The expectations were high this year, and everyone was very excited to attend. In 2021, FITUR was delayed and considerably smaller than in previous years. Last year, in 2022, the necessary COVID precautions kept everyone from feeling like travel was truly back. This year, participation was extraordinary, making FITUR 2023 a remarkable event.
Florencia Cueto Pedrotti, Product Specialist at Shiji ReviewPro spoke on two panels at the show and was kind enough to share her experience at FITUR 2023 below.
One of the things I’d like to highlight is the positive vibes – I’d say any participant would agree. In 2020, Amadeus predicted that our industry would not be fully back up and running until 2023– an impressively accurate prediction! Many people reported that their 2022 was stronger than 2019, and predicted an even stronger 2023, so I am really looking forward to it.
From all the conversations I had, it was clear that everyone is looking at what’s next in regard to the digital transformation of the guest journey, to provide great guest experiences. They were eager to engage in conversations and they were happy to share the positive results of 2022 and felt optimistic about what’s in store for us this year.
Shiji at FITUR
I was proud to participate in two different sessions at FITUR 2023. The first one was alongside one of Shiji ReviewPro’s recent integrations, EISI Soft, and together we announced our valuable partnership at the Travel Technology Forum. Together with Paquita Álvarez, Product Manager & Senior Consultant at EISI Soft, we discussed how guest feedback and operational management are key to improving the guest experience.
What’s interesting about this partnership is that their extensive expertise in case management, essential for any hotel’s daily operations, combined with Shiji ReviewPro’s rule engine to activate feedback from reviews, surveys (in/post-stay), or messaging, makes it a fantastic way of connecting the online and the offline world.
On Thursday, I was honored to be part of a panel discussion at the techYnegocio forum of Fiturtechy 23 on client-facing solutions and cost optimization. It was very interesting to see how the different participants approached the guest experience. We at Shiji put the guest experience at the core of everything we do – the goal being to enhance the guest experience during the different stages of the guest journey. It was great to see how the other panelists were working on very different areas of the industry, and how they all link it to the guest experience. It was obvious that reviews are still as important as they were 10 years ago.
I took the opportunity to talk about the fact that reputation equals revenue. I referred to the Cornell University report, published 10 years ago and still very relevant. According to this report, an increase in the Global Review Index (GRI™) equals an increase in terms of occupancy, ADR, and RevPAR. I shared an example of a customer’s GRI™ that was going down and they had a feeling it was due to the mattresses in the rooms. The client added a question in their surveys about the mattresses but also included one about the pillows. It turned out the guests were fine with the mattresses but were actually unhappy about the pillows! This helped the hotel tackle the actual problem and save money while increasing guest satisfaction at the same time.
Key Takeaways from FITUR 2023
FITUR 2023 provided a glimpse into the future of the travel and tourism industry and highlighted the importance of sustainability, digitalization, networking, diversification, and innovation for hotels and other accommodation providers. Here are some key takeaways:
- Sustainability: The event emphasized the importance of sustainable tourism and the need for hotels and other accommodation providers to adopt environmentally-friendly practices.
- Digitalization: The fair highlighted the increasing use of technology and digital platforms in the hospitality industry and the need for hotels to adapt to these changes in order to stay competitive.
- Networking: FITUR 2023 provided a valuable opportunity for hotel operators and other industry professionals to network with other key players in the sector, including suppliers, destinations, and tour operators.
- Diversification: The event showcased the growing importance of diversifying hotel products and services in order to meet the changing demands of the market.
- Innovation: The fair presented new technologies and innovations that can help hotels and other accommodation providers to improve their operations and guest experience.
An Optimistic Outlook
Overall, many attendees on both the hotel and partner sides seemed optimistic about travel, tourism, and hospitality in 2023. FITUR 2023 provided a space for industry professionals to come together and share information and ideas. Attendees had the chance to hear about positive developments in the industry, such as new technologies, new destinations, and new products, which contributed to the overall excitement for what was to come.
The clear focus on digitalization gave many a sense that the travel industry is moving in a positive direction, and that there will be opportunities for growth and development in the coming years. An example is Ilunion Hotels. They are very optimistic about this year and are eager to go a step further in digitalizing the guest journey.
Communication Channels Are Key
As technology evolves, so do the ways in which hotels communicate with their guests. Facilitating fluid and open communication on the channel of their choice is a great way to elevate guest service. Some visitors noticed the rising importance of B2C communication channels to gather additional client feedback. Some hoteliers have seen a declining trend in sending surveys via e-mail and they would like to start sending surveys via messaging channels such as WhatsApp.
The Continued Battle with OTAs over Booking.com
Many hoteliers are looking for more ways to connect directly with guests as, during the pandemic, OTAs grabbed a larger share of their bookings. As hotels already spend heavily on paid media, they’re looking for other ways to make a difference in areas like guest experience. In fact, our Q3 Global Benchmark Report found that overview review ratings for hotels (known as GRI) declined in 2022 compared to 2021, illustrating the need for better guest experience.
To sum up, FITUR 2023 was a fantastic event for the global travel and tourism industry, bringing together professionals, businesses, and destinations from around the world. It was very refreshing and inspiring to see clients and colleagues back in the same space together, sharing ideas and advice with each other. As the travel industry continues to evolve, FITUR promises to be an event that will shape the future of the sector. We look forward to seeing what the next edition of FITUR will bring, and we encourage all industry players to mark the date in their calendars!