ITB Berlin NOW – a strategic stepping stone

Date
March 1, 2021
Frank Straka is an “old hand” at ITB Berlin events; as a sales and marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in tourism, working in the fields of short trips, online sales, group tourism and health and wellness trips. We asked him what his outlook is for the coming year.

We are trying to reach around 40-50% of our turnover before the crisis. In order to reach this goal, we have to communicate more with our B2B-partners and we have to find new products and solutions for clients and partners. On the other hand, we are trying to establish strategic partnerships in order to secure markets and contracts.

How are your key choice criteria changing when selecting new “star” destinations or hotel partners now?
The most important criterion for new hotel partners is flexibility. Flexibility in rates, cancellation policies and release dates. On the other hand, hotel partners need to show that they are innovative and ready to create new offers, packages with the utmost flexibility for the customers.

In a fragile world, we can only survive together without egotism.

What would you say is the most important lesson that has been learnt (or should be learnt) from the Covid crisis?
The most important lesson that we have learned is how much we depend on each other and that we can only survive if we act as partners. We have spent hours and days on improving partnerships with hotels and distribution partners. We intensified communication and availability in order to strengthen relationships or to rebuild trust that other market partners had destroyed. In a fragile world, we can only survive together without egotism.

What are you hoping to achieve in participating in this year’s ITB Berlin NOW?
We are trying to show partners that we have come out of the crisis strong – that we are their partner to boost business in the next months. We also try to find hotel partners that are looking for a dependable and trustworthy partner.

What are your thoughts about the way ITB has organised the event?
A lot of things are still in the blue and I don’t know yet how things will turn out finally. But the people at ITB are doing a great job just like in the 25 years that I have been attending ITB so far.

Do you feel communication by exhibiting companies and organisations is more important now? Why?
Communication between all partners in the industry will become more and more important – we will all need partnerships and enablers to succeed.

Your thoughts on ITB Berlin News – the official show magazine?
I am very keen on finding out what ITB Berlin News will be like digitally. In the analogue days, I was always trying to grab my copy in order to read it in the taxi or S-Bahn after the show to see what is or was trending at ITB.

Photo: Frank Straka, Director Idea Spa Travel