Sunday, February 15, 2009
The hospitality industry breathes a sigh of releief this week, as the Mobile World Congress (formerly the 3GSM) arrives in town - from the 16th to 19th February at the Fira de Barcelona at the foot of Montjüic. This is one of the biggest events in Barcelona, and past years have seen 100% occupation of hotels and tourist apartments for rent in Barcelona.
Press releases today have stated that, depsite the current economic downturn, and the fact that the recent fashion show Bread and Butter is returning to Berlin and leaving Barcelona, there is still a high attendance for the world's mobile phone conference. It's estimated that 55,000 people will attend the event, which although official stats say that's 5000 people down from last year, is still leaving the hospitality industry smiling.
Hotels have registered 95% occupancy and the self-catering apartments have an estimated 85% occupancy, compared with 100% from previous years.
This year sees the emergance of the android phones, as an attempt to break into the massive market share that Apple has gained with it's iPhone. Google (in conjunction with HTC) have their own android phone, which looks clunky, but may make people think again about opting for a Blackberry or Palm (both of which are also set to launch a new model).
I've noticed that this year there's not as much publicity for the big players. Ads have been confined to buses and taxis, where in previous years full buildings have been covered with billboard style announcments of a company's presence at the fair. Please comment if you're thinking of heading down to the Congress, I'd love to have some feedback.