Markethub reveals a promising future for tourism in the Americas

The event is taking place in Cancun, Mexico, and brings together top influencers and key figures in the travel industry

(Source: Travel2latam)

In the context of the celebration of the  MarketHub Americas event, organized by HotelBeds, which takes place at the Royalton Splash Riviera Cancún under the motto “Where Next?”, Travel2latam had the opportunity to chat with  Carlos Muñoz, CCO of Hotelbeds, about key issues of the tourism sector.

How would you describe the current situation of the tourism market?

The situation is excellent, 2023 has been one of the best years in the industry in most markets and geographies, so we are in a very sweet moment with very positive short-term prospects and there is still uncertainty in the medium term.

In this context, what does it mean for you to hold an event like this?

For us it is the opportunity to bring the entire industry together again to discuss topics of interest. I think there was a need after three or four years of being there more or less, to have the opportunity to discuss interesting topics that have to do with the future of travel, such as what the needs of future customers will be and how to respond to those needs.

I imagine that going back to a face-to-face format like this has been a great challenge. How was the organization process?

The truth has been very motivating because all the teams were looking forward to having these events again. We also have the help of our sponsors, who have really participated very actively and have made everything very easy. It has not been particularly complex, that is, there is always complexity in this type of event due to the size, due to all the sectors that are put together, due to the agendas; but everyone's contribution has been very positive and the desire to make it happen has made it easier.

It is an event that is annual and that is done in different regions. What particularity does the event have in America?

Each region has its particularities because the clients and the market are different, there are common elements that have to do with the role of technology, sustainability, etc., but in the case of America or particularly Latin America, personal relationships are more important . So we emphasized the service that must be given to the client, the personalization of that service and the human touch.

How do the guests decide? What kind of profile participants attend this event?

On the one hand we have clients that we select. The most important clients that we have are serving, they are between 300, 350 clients from all the countries of Latin America and also North America. Then we have sponsors who participate and they can be from the industry, such as some hotel chains, but also from outside the industry, such as institutions or financial entities. And finally, we also choose the speakers, that is, the people who present the panelists. We are choosing the first voices of companies that lead in the different sectors for different topics such as sustainability, artificial intelligence, etc.

Within the global operation that you have, what is your vision of the Americas outside of MarketHub?

America as a travel industry has emerged as the winning region in terms of growth and performance, I think this has been related to the attitude that the region has had and how it has attacked the COVID issue with an earlier opening that has given it an advantage and has made many source markets choose America as a destination. Then the local markets also took advantage of this opening, in domestic markets, in trips abroad... The acceleration has been much faster than in the rest of the world, so America has gained weight in the tourism industry since the COVID and during post COVID.

Which segments do you see with the greatest progress and which have lost ground?

Definitely the leisure business, everything that is vacational has gained weight compared to the corporate one. Then, the luxury segment grows much faster than the other cheaper segments. Even the same customers who used to travel to three and four star hotels are now asking for four and five stars, increasing the level of what they require.

Furthermore, sustainable travel ranks above the rest. We have a sustainable travel program with 30,000 hotels and it is growing 30% more than the rest of the portfolio, so it is just a market trend, but there is an economic case behind it, there is a real need that is transferred to the data .

In recent years HotelBeds has worked hard to add technology. How are you always working internally to be at the forefront?

Being at the forefront, as you say, is part of the company's DNA, that is, we have been constantly innovating for 20 years now. But we have also launched an area of ​​innovation recently and our intention is to innovate not only within HotelBeds but also outside of the company. What we do there is collaborate with startups and jointly create new ideas to develop innovation oriented to the tourism segment.

What is your final message to the tourism professionals of the Americas?

The travel segment has a very bright future. And if we look at all the figures, the GDP of global tourism and if we generate more work than in other industries, we are very relevant. There are some difficulties and challenges that we have to face, such as climate change, issues of geopolitical instability or the economic environment, but the most important thing is the change in the consumer. The consumer is becoming much more demanding and the industry is in a direction that does not support this, that does not follow it. Prices are increasing, hotels have become 20% to 25% more expensive. And to that price increase must be added a delivery of more value, and it is not being done. This is what we have to change and for that we have to collaborate among all the players in the Industry.  

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