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IH&RA Commemorates its 41st Annual Congress“Building Business – Building Partnerships”

Hoteliers worldwide are starting to reconsider strategic partnerships to increase profits, regain control of inventory, maintain price integrity and build consumer confidence and fidelity. This means establishing new partners, turning back to tried and true friends or rupturing ties completely, as was the case when InterContinental Hotel Groups made a recent and very public break with a well-known on-line distributor stating that they are “committed to only working with distributors and their affiliates that do not engage in confusing and potentially unclear marketing practices”. Maximizing business is a matter of building trust, but with whom and how? These are the issues that will be confronted head-on at the IH&RA Congress, “Building Business – Building Partnerships,” to be held 19-22 November in Istanbul, Turkey.

Now in its 41st year, the IH&RA Congress will include a 1-1/2 day Conference Program with high-level industry leaders speaking on the evolving relations of traditional partners – airlines, tour operators and travel agents – and controversial 3rd party on-line distributors. The Congress will also offer an analysis and forecast of trends in marketing, development, technology and vertical integration of travel products. To kick off the Congress is a man who knows a thing or two about the subject, Gérard Pélisson, founding co-chairman of the Accor Group, who will address delegates at the Opening Ceremony under the patronage and support of the Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism, HE Erkan Mumcu.

Also addressing Congress delegates is a relative new-comer to the industry, but one who has made an indelible impression: Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Chairman of the EasyGroup will divulge the details behind the fly-away success of his easy brands like easyJet– a success he is banking on as he prepares to launch easyHotel in London at the starting rate of just 9 dollars per night!

The Congress will also focus on the concept of vertical integration, the practice of consolidating partners and travel products into a one-stop shop. Participants include Heinz Kreuzer, Head of IT Strategy & Chief Information Officer of TUI AG, a European leader in vertical integration with 3,600 travel agencies, 104 aircraft, 37 incoming agencies and 285 hotels with over 157 000 beds in 25 countries.

To give insight into the world of restaurants, food, beverage and catering is Richard Snead, President & CEO, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide. The Conference will also include sessions dedicated to travel trends with a presentation by Doug Shifflet, President & CEO D.K. Shifflet & Associates Ltd., plus a panel dedicated to profiling today’s consumer with participation from Mary Gostelow, President & Editor-In-Chief of Peter O’Connor, PhD, Associate Professor, Hospitality Information Technology, Institut de Management Hôtelier International (IMHI) – Administerd by ESSEC, will be presenting the latest in the e-distribution battle, followed by a session dedicated to “Staying on Top and Developing New Markets” featuring Nancy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Select-Service Hotels – Carlson Hotels Worldwide.

Other highlights of the Congress include a Closing Keynote Address on “Staying Power – Investing in Tomorrow, Today,” from Peter Yesawich, Chairman & CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell. Plus, BBC World Anchor, Nik Gowing, will be moderating many of the sessions with the possibility of coverage on BBC’s Fast Track program.

IH&RA’s 41st Annual Congress is also offering delegates incredible value for money, the lowest registration price in over 7 years! This includes not only the high-profile Conference sessions, but also a stellar program of social events, sightseeing, daily lunches and elegant dinners at stunning sights in Istanbul, the only city in the world spanning two continents.

The Closing Ceremony will be a black-tie, gala affair held at the Congress host hotel, the luxurious Conrad Istanbul, which recently hosted US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the US Press Corps during the Istanbul NATO Summit held in June 2004. This evening will also be dedicated to recognizing the winners of the 2004 IH&RA Environmental Award. Now in its 13th year, the IH&RA Environmental Award is again supported by founding sponsor American Express, plus Onity, Shell and founding partner UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.