On March 3 this year, on the evening of the opening day of the traditional annual travel exhibition in Budapest, the tourism industry will celebrate with an exclusive party. The founder and chief organizer of this T-DAY event, Károly Bosznai, the Head of Communications, Krisztina Henyecz and the Sales and Marketing Director of the Budapest Marriott Hotel, János Parti tell Diplomacy&Trade about the details.
"I clearly remember the first event in 2010 and the excitement that preceded it. All I had in mind was to create an informal event worthy of our profession, where all participants would find their own positive experience,” Károly Bosznai recalls the first T-DAY 12 years ago.
Successful organization in the first few years gave the T-DAY brand a solid reputation. It became a meeting point for the tourism industry, where managers and staff of hospitality, hotel and tourism companies could meet face-to-face to gather information, establish contacts and discuss business solutions. “T-DAY, now in its 12th year, is a stable event for the industry, despite the fact that life around us has changed dramatically in the last two years,” he adds.
With sustainability in mind
Krisztina Henyecz, Head of Communications notes that travel habits have been constantly changing over the last decade, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the market itself has changed completely and T-DAY is responding to this with its renewed format. “The sustainable development that has also started in tourism has changed the way events are organized on the market and the event management process has to adapt to the new challenges. We need to learn to organize more sustainable events with a smaller ecological footprint. Aspects such as cashless sales, volunteering, social sustainability and the involvement of local producers are becoming more important. I am proud that we supported the MyForest initiative for T-DAY and contributed to the planting of 100 new trees.”
Invest in human connections!
The industry and the organizers are committed to the concept of T-DAY, united in their belief that face-to-face meetings have a key role to play in tourism, as virtual contact cannot replace direct human contact. “The digital world has given us many technological tools to make a real difference to tourism, but most business success often depends on the quality of close human relationships,” Károly Bosznai explains.
“There are clear signs of demand and recovery following the closures due to the coronavirus, but our industry still faces ongoing challenges. I believe it is important to get to know each other's areas of expertise and to provide opportunities to build relationships and strengthen cooperation. This was our guiding principle when we organized our first event in 2010, and our mission has not changed since then: to ensure sustainable growth and improve our positions is in the common interest of all of us," he says.
At the Marriott once again
After the highly successful end-of-year event in December, the T-DAY will again be hosted at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. The organizers say they are grateful for the hotel's partnership, as the prestigious setting certainly adds value to T-DAY's life.
The Director of Sales and Marketing at Budapest Marriott Hotel and Millennium Court Marriott Executive Apartments, János Parti highlights that “hosting T-DAY is a very good opportunity for the hotel to show that it cares a lot about the professional community and its openness to colleagues. Basically, Marriott has a corporate culture that puts employees at the heart of its operations. We thought this was an absolutely fitting event for our image, not least because it is also a great networking opportunity as it brings together not just hotel industry professionals, but colleagues from all corners of the tourism industry.”
Uncertainties with promising signs
The Sales and Marketing Director points out that the Budapest Marriott Hotel has not closed for a single day during the whole pandemic period, it has been open all the time. He is of the view that as tourism is now emerging from the crisis caused by the pandemic, the outlook for Budapest seems to be mixed but positive overall. “Tourism is not only made up of individual travelers coming to a city for leisure or cultural purposes, but there are other motivations and types. There are types of travelers where we are absolutely feeling the recovery, and there are others that are still faltering. One example is that on the individual leisure tourist side, we are seeing a very slow but steady and sure increase in our pre-bookings from the European markets, but on the group side, which is group traffic from overseas, for example, mainly related to cruise tours, there are still uncertainties. We are talking about a very high volume, by the way, of cruises that depart from or arrive in Budapest. Typically, these are groups that spend a few nights in Budapest. The sales in the case of these cruises are much less uncertain than they were, say, a year ago. Another segment that we absolutely feel will only come back in the second half of the year is international business events, conferences and meetings. Practically from June onwards, and especially after September, you can definitely expect them to return.”
He adds that the hotel sector was delighted to hear the recent news that the Hungarian capital will be hosting this year’s World Aquatics Championships, which “will be of huge importance for all of us in this profession.”
The human factor
It was stated in Diplomacy&Trade prior to the previous Tourism Day that "the main mission of T-DAY is to provide a networking opportunity and meeting point for tourism operators in a stylish environment, in the form of an informal evening reception." János Parti confirms that this is going to be the situation this time as well.
“There have been very few opportunities to meet colleagues in person recently. And such an evening is always very good because it is very focused, you can meet a lot of people in a short time. That's why I think that a lot of people are looking forward to it, to be together again and to meet a lot of old acquaintances again. This is still a people-to-people business, so despite the fact that a lot of sales are done through online systems and electronic platforms, personal relationships and trust still play a huge role here, and this value can only be created and nurtured by people meeting each other.”
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