ITB was best described as "resilient" this year. Exhibitors told a common tale - it's tough, but everyone has now taken their head out of the sand and we're addressing the challenges head-on.
Two trends really stood out - unprecedented levels of public/private sector partnerships are attempting to move markets and the industry is eagerly embracing new technology and innovative marketing techniques in a bid to reach new audiences.
Alongside ITB, the annual PhoCusWright session was opened by Philip Wolf, PhoCusWright's president with the view that: "tough times are a cyclical reality for travel and while they are always difficult to endure, our industry always comes out better for it. Companies are forced to get leaner and meaner - they find ways to do it better, faster and cheaper than they ever did before."
Online is going to be a key way for companies to market faster and swifter in the current climate and I was impressed to hear that bloggers were so busy tweeting their views of the conference during ITB this year, that #ITB09 (the hashtag making all comments easier to search) ranked as the fifth hottest Twitter topic of the day.
Three key predictions for leaner meaner marketing in 2009 to emerge from the PhoCusWright bloggers' summit at ITB are
1) It will be the year that executives make a serious commitment to social marketing
2) Social marketing becomes an important part of companies' public relations efforts
3) New hires will be made for social marketing experts