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John Gallery of Great Potential Limited
Online Meetings Bookings
The conclusion of the HBI Forum that buyers will not book large meetings online is out-of-date and out-of-step with reality.
Agencies and clients either already know the venues they want, or have confidence in predictable brand standards and so find it no longer sensible to spend possibly days travelling and checking facilities. Our own system makes it easy for revenue managers to adjust prices regularly to maximise yield whilst an exchange of emails prior to contract solves the issue of booking complexity.
Making rservations via the internet saves time, and hassle (all those
voicemails!) and offers 24/7 functionality from all parts of the world. The web also directs buyers towards the mid-week discounts that are available without forcing them to book days of the week they don't really want.
Today's efficiency-conscious generation of computer-focused executives actually prefer hands-on control of their planning rather than leave it to 'phone calls, face-to-face visits, or intermediaries still operating in slow and old-fashioned ways.
Agencies benefiting from commission-protecting online booking services are more likely to prosper than 'Canutes' who think the internet is a passing fad.
Tel: 07967 032623
Mark Spivey of Maritim Hotels
Graham Ferguson - Genesis Adoration
It is with great regret to hear today that Graham Ferguson has died.
Graham was only 52 and my/our thoughts go to the Genesis Adoration team, especially his partners David Gunther and Richard Heywood.
Graham was a very personal friend of mine and my thoughts are with Josie his wife.
Ray Roberts of Travel Impact
We are all poorer for the absence of Americans
I recently met some Swiss hoteliers who bemoaned the on-going lack of group business from the USA. Over the past few years, similar discussions on reduced American turnover have brought reactions from UK group organisers that include applauding the lack of American competition for space, while exhibiting no sympathy for adversely affected European suppliers. I find this very short-sighted.
Our business is cyclical. If Switzerland features regularly for a couple of years, our clients will eventually find it less appealing as they look for variety and move their groups elsewhere. Through our leaner trading periods with their country, we expect and need our Swiss suppliers to continue to invest in maintaining and improving their products. Otherwise, our clients won’t find the expected quality and range of product when they re-focus on Switzerland in a few years’ time.
This isn’t about increased competition for space, nor about higher prices due to suppliers enjoying boom times. It’s much more about having a healthy pool of quality hotels maintaining and improving standards, so our clients have more and better choices when they next consider Switzerland.
Although other destinations are similarly affected by the continuing downturn in American-derived turnover, Switzerland is particularly note-worthy because of its perception as politically stable, clean and, above all, safe - which made it a favourite for American corporate groups. None of this perception has changed, unlike American buying patterns.
Americans used to avoid overseas travel in their election years, but with terrorism and security worries, plus a weak dollar, it seems elections no longer pose the greatest threat to trans-Atlantic corporate tourism.
Corporate groups form an important revenue stream that helps fund product renovation and renewal. If the current trend of our American cousins reducing their group business into Europe does not reverse, we should all be as worried as Swiss hoteliers.