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HSMAI announces formation of Travel Internet Marketing Organization

To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices for marketing on the Internet while maximizing profitability and protecting brand integrity, the Americas region of the…

To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices for marketing on the Internet while maximizing profitability and protecting brand integrity, the Americas region of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announced the formation of the Travel Internet Marketing Organization (TIMO). An umbrella organization and advisory board, TIMO is designed to leverage the synergies between existing and future special interest groups related to Internet marketing in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries.

HSMAI’s Hotel Internet Marketing and Cruise Internet Marketing Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which were created in 2003 and 2004 respectively, serve to increase awareness of issues, opportunities and trends as they relate to Internet marketing and distribution, and work to develop and recommend standards and ethical guidelines for the Internet as a marketing medium in the travel and hospitality industry.

The two SIGs are made up of individuals from key brands and constituents in their respective industry sectors. The TIMO Advisory Board is represented by chairs of each special interest group, and will serve to leverage opportunities between travel industry sectors to further the mission of each SIG.

Chair of TIMO and the Hotel Internet Marketing Committee, Jens Thraenhart, executive director of marketing & strategy for Fairmont Hotels’ Private Residence Club division, Fairmont Heritage Place, states, “TIMO’s primary objectives are to identify key learnings and develop best practices in the area of Internet marketing in the travel industry sectors; share that information and best practices with HSMAI members and the industry at-large; and take a position on online issues that negatively affect our brands and communicate that position to necessary parties.”

Members of the TIMO Advisory Board will represent the discipline at key industry events and conferences in an effort to educate senior management and the industry at-large and will strive to develop metrics that can be adopted and applied on an industry-wide basis as well as be an advocate for ethical online practices.

“One of the most exciting discoveries so far is that the majority of online opportunities impacting the hotel industry also impact the cruise industry, as well as other travel verticals. TIMO will allow us to leverage the learning and share best practices across the travel industry,” says Gino Giovannelli, vice president of e-Business Solutions at Carlson Companies, who serves as vice chair of TIMO and chair of the Cruise Internet Marketing Committee.

“This initiative directly impacts the most challenging and complex revenue generation strategies of the entire travel industry,” says Bruce Himelstein, chairman of HSMAI Global, and senior vice president of sales and marketing, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“Internet marketing is clearly an evolving sub-discipline of sales and marketing, and HSMAI is pleased to add this focus to the wide array of other valuable resources it provides members and the industry at-large,” states Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

On April 29, 2005, in conjunction with TravelCom Expo in New York, for the first time, the Hotel Internet Marketing Committee and the Cruise Internet Marketing Committee are jointly producing a Travel Internet Marketing Strategy Conference to discuss Internet marketing global trends and issues affecting the hotel and the cruise industry, with a particular focus on metrics and customer intelligence.

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