Web In Travel (WIT) will launch its first hospitality-focused conference in Hong Kong on March 22, 2016. The one-day event, themed “Reboot”, will be held at Hotel ICON.
“With all the changes taking place in hotel distribution, marketing and technology, we feel it is time for us to run an event that’s focused on this vertical,” said Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder of WIT.
“Hong Kong, being home to some of the world’s best hotels, is also a great location to bring together some of the industry’s best minds to discuss, debate and deliberate the way forward for hoteliers as they grapple with the huge, and rapid, changes taking place in their sector.”
The theme “Reboot” picks up on the momentum set at the WIT 2015 Conference last October when more than 500 industry leaders in digital travel gathered in Singapore to discuss steps to be taken by companies and individuals to “reboot” for the future.
“Consolidation is happening – from Marriott buying Starwood, Accor buying Fairmont – to competition is coming from private accommodation. The Airbnb effect can no longer be ignored with Expedia buying HomeAway and Booking.com going deeper and bigger into that sector,” said Siew Hoon.
“There’s also more disintermediation. Monster platforms like Alibaba are getting into travel, even Uber is getting into travel, marketplaces like Ctrip are getting bigger and review sites like TripAdvisor are gaining ever more power and influence,” she continued.
“All these developments bring challenges and opportunities as well, and this is what WIT Hospitality 2016 will focus on – sparking ideas and extracting opportunities for hoteliers to focus on in the new year.”
The one-day event will combine plenary sessions dealing with the big issues as well as how-to workshops led by expert leaders on topics such as direct distribution, reputation management, pricing and revenue management, content and digital marketing and sales techniques.
Featured speaker Michael Hobson, chief marketing officer of Mandarin Oriental Hotels Group commented that, “WIT Hospitality focuses exactly on the key issue for our industry. How do we create consumer marketers and deal with all the disruption effectively within an industry that is predominantly a B to B one from a distribution standpoint? I can’t wait to welcome them here to Hong Kong and participate in this rich discussion.”
Carmen Lam, vice president marketing for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, who will also be speaking at the event added, “Finally the wait is over for HK to gets its own WIT. I cannot think of a more relevant topic considering what is happening in the lodging scene, with disruptors becoming platforms and accommodation brands mega-consolidating to build strength in numbers.”
Morris Sim, CEO and co-founder of Brand Karma, who will be leading the content breakout, said, “The landscape in hospitality has changed so much that an entire WIT dedicated to this sector is not only welcome, but needed. As with other WITs, I’d expect to connect, learn, and be inspired.”
Pierre-Charles Grob, managing director of FASTBOOKING in Asia underscores their involvement, “Digital – Hospitality – Asia is the triptych that people focused the most on in the travel industry today. Having WIT taking the lead and bringing to Hong Kong the digital subjects that the Hospitality needs to discuss is a necessity, and we are very happy to be actively engaged in that step.”