At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention the hospitality sector is awaiting a catch-up effect
The term “new normal” was rejected by the four participants in a panel discussion on the topic of business travel on Wednesday at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention. “I don’t like this term. I am confident that we will soon be meeting again in person. From time to time it is necessary to hold face-to-face meetings in order to build trust and maintain a relationship", said Dominika Rudnick, Director Key Account Management & Consortia for Deutsche Hospitality. “I am fairly certain that, once the restrictions have been lifted, there will be a big boom and everyone will resume travelling", Rudnick added.
Christoph Carnier, Senior Director Travel, Fleet & Events for Merck KGaA and President of the German Travel Management Association (VDR), agreed with her: “I am not altogether certain that we will return to the situation as it was in 2019, but person-to-person meetings are extremely important for maintaining good relations and for flexible business. Good business requires personal interaction. I am convinced that many out-of-the-box solutions have only come into being because they were preceded by in-person meetings."
For Martina Eggler, General Manager at ATG Travel Deutschland GmbH, one indication that people are becoming weary of digital communication and are longing for personal meetings is that customers and interested persons are making contact less frequently by email, preferring instead to use the telephone. Although Eggler does not expect every business trip that took place in the past would do so again in the future, nevertheless “everyone in our sector would confirm that some meetings just have to be in person, and I hope that this will soon be the case again."
And the hotel industry is well prepared for this, maintaining strict hygiene standards and monitoring adherence to them. “We can apply hygiene, it is in our DNA, and formed a major part of our business prior to the pandemic ", said Marina Christensen, Head of Sales for BWH Hotel Group Central Europe GmbH. “We are very well prepared to begin receiving guests again, and we are doing all we can to make travel as safe as possible ", was the assurance given by Christensen.