WYSE Travel Confederation had an action-packed five days at ITB Berlin 2014 earlier this month, during which we held several workshops, took to the big stage, and had the opportunity to network with a wide range of trade visitors.
We were delighted that a number of our members – AIFS, Generator Hostels, Hans Brinker, Hostelling International, Hostelzoo.com, STA Travel, The Student Hotel and NSTS – co-exhibited with us, along with Visit Dublin, who is supporting our WYSTC 2014 event in Dublin later this year.
Thank you to all the delegates who came to visit us on our stand, attended our workshops and came to our drinks reception.
Here’s a few highlights from our time at ITB Berlin:
Over 110 delegates attended our on-stand workshops at ITB, during which Greg Richards, Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg, covered a range of hot topics from big vs small hostels, to the death of the backpacker, to social media and the youth traveller.
The insightful sessions drew upon the results from existing and forthcoming research data from WYSE Travel Confederation and STAY WYSE.
Big stage presentations
David Chapman, our Director General, took to ITB Berlin’s big stage to lead two interactive sessions:
Online distribution channels: OTAs vs direct bookings (STAY WYSE)
During this session, David highlighted the impact that online travel agents’ (OTA) recent commission increases are having on the youth travel market.
The presentation was followed by a lively panel discussion, during which representatives from A&O Hotels and Hostels, Hostelzoo.com, Independent Holiday Hostels of Ireland and umi Hotels joined David and Professor Richards to discuss the impact of the OTA commission increases on their businesses, and to suggest ways to achieve direct bookings.
Hot youth destinations for the future (WYSE Travel Confederation)
David presented excerpts of our latest research, which indicates that young people are travelling more and further afield than ever before. In addition, Western Europe is the top youth travel destination, accounting for over a third of the market (35%), while Europeans made up more than half of young travellers (52%).
The Brazilian city of Rio de Janerio – set to host both the World Cup and the Olympics in the next few years – has also been pinpointed as one of the future major global hotspots for youth travellers.
How destinations can benefit from US$200 billion youth tourism market panel discussion
David mentioned some of the key benefits that destinations should be offering to attract the youth travel market, including free WiFi – a must when you consider that WYSE Travel Confederation research reveals that 35% of youth travellers use social media daily.
In addition, David confirmed that WYSE Travel Confederation will be doing more to alert governments and tourist boards across the world to the fact that far from being a niche sector, the youth and student travel industry is a booming US$200 billion industry that should be embraced.
Drinks and networking reception sponsored by Visit Dublin
After a long day of networking, over 120 guests joined our drinks reception on the Thursday night.
Our guests – a mixture of our co-exhibitors, members and other industry stakeholders, had the opportunity to connect and reflect on the event over drinks and canapés.
Champagne prize draw winner
We also ran a champagne prize draw on our stand over the course of the event, which attracted lots of entries.
Congratulations to Tom Kurz, Deputy Executive Director at Experiment e.V., who was chosen at random from all the entries and wins a bottle of Verve Clicquot champagne.