Agenda

We’re constantly looking to inspire, grow and improve year on year so we always up the ante by introducing different themes, new keynotes, more panel sessions and workshops led by industry experts.

  • 08:00am - 08:45am
    Registration, Welcome Coffee and Tradeshow Open to Conference Delegates

    Pick up your lanyard and name tag at the registration desk and enjoy a coffee while networking with other conference delegates. The exhibitor tradeshow will open to all conference delegates.


  • View bio

    Adrian Caruso's biography

    Conference Organiser
    Maximum Occupancy

    Adrian is founder and CEO of Australasia's leading travel, tourism and hospitality full-service marketing and communications firm, Fastrack Group.

    Adrian is a highly experienced and respected travel, tourism and hospitality digital marketing, media and communications expert with over 25 years in the industry. He is also a management consultant and strategist. 

    08:45am - 08:50am
    Welcome Address

    Adrian Caruso, Conference Organiser
    Maximum Occupancy

    A welcome introduction to Maximum Occupancy 2019 by the conference MC and organiser, Adrian Caruso.

  • 08:45am - 09:30am
    Australian Accommodation: The past, present and future

    The opening conference presentation is a must-attend for it sets the basis for the entire day. Listen to two of Australia's best speakers on the Australian accommodation market, the past, present and future. Uncover how Australian markets are behaving in conjunction with supply as a growing factor. Listen to the outlook for accommodation operators 2020 and beyond. And listen to the opinions of a panel of hotel operators their comments and opinions on the current and future market.

    Panellists

    • Matthew Burke's biography

      Regional Manager - Pacific
      STR

      Matthew Burke is the Regional Manager Pacific at STR leading the growth in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He has over a dozen years of experience in hospitality, with Hyatt and IHG in various roles including revenue management.

      Matthew Burke, Regional Manager - Pacific
      STR

    • Bryon Merzeo's biography

      Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure Consultant
      Deloitte Australia

      Bryon is a Tourism Consultant at Deloitte.

      Having studied at the University level in five countries, including a Masters in International Tourism Strategy, Bryon has a strong understanding of the global tourism marketplace. As part of the Deloitte Tourism Team, he analyses and forecasts tourism performance across Australia.

      Other tourism pursuits include being Sydney manager of Travel Massive, Hotels After Hours Events, and running a not-for-profit social travel company.

      Bryon Merzeo, Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure Consultant
      Deloitte Australia


  • View bio

    JD Cain's biography

    Vice President of Sales
    Revinate

    As the Vice President of Sales at Revinate, JD is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of all of the company’s global sales and business development efforts. Revinate is the only guest data platform for hospitality, with CRM, marketing and guest feedback solutions, counting tens of thousands of the world’s leading hospitality brands as customers. Before Revinate, JD managed direct sales for large and complex accounts at Akamai Technologies.

    09:30am - 09:55am
    Making the most of every guest

    JD Cain, Vice President of Sales
    Revinate

    We’re in a golden age of personalization. Guests expect it. In this presentation, learn how to better understand guest spending behavior, across all your properties, to be more targeted with your marketing messages. The end goal is to help you be smart and successful in getting the right heads in the right beds through the best channel to maximize net revenue. In short, the goal is to make the most of every guest.

  • 09:55am - 10:25am
    Parity - Does it still exist? 2020 and beyond

    Parity is crucial to conversion however it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain with OTA, Metasearch and rock-bottom wholesale rates all vying for the same booking. Throw in the growth of AirBnB and other accommodation innovators, and it becomes a nightmare for some. In the panel session, listen to a heated discussion between OTAs, Metasearch, wholesalers and hoteliers and why they can all work in unison.

    Panellists

    • Andrew Boocock, Sourcing Regional Manager - Pacific
      Hotelbeds

    • Amit Peshawaria, Head of Sales, Asia Pacific & Oceania
      OTA Insight

    • Andrew Hughes's biography

      Managing Director (formerly Vice President Hotel Sourcing GTA)
      HW Consulting

      Andrew started his hospitality career with McDonalds back in 1989, including Australia,
      Germany and Tahiti, before tour guiding in Europe and time spent as a pilot presenter with
      an Australian Travel Show.

      Andrew’s hotel career started with Best Western Australia before moving to IHG,
      responsible for 43 Hotels in ANZ. In 2007, Andrew moved to Dubai to open Atlantis, the
      Palm Dubai, and two more openings for Moevenpick in the region.
      After 11 years in the hotel game, Andrew crossed the floor to the distribution space,
      moving to GTA and relocating to Singapore and most recently managed the 3 way
      integration for the Hotelbeds Group.

      Seeking a tree-change, nowadays Andrew is more likely to be chatting to guests around
      the firepit at his recently acquired property in Margaret River, or helping clients as part of
      boutique tourism consultancy, HW Consulting.

      Andrew Hughes, Managing Director (formerly Vice President Hotel Sourcing GTA)
      HW Consulting

    • Lina Ang's biography

      General Manager, SMB, APAC
      Sojern

      Lina has a wealth of experience in the travel and hospitality industry and has constantly moved along with this evolving industry. As General Manager, APAC, she leads Sojern’s SMB commercial team responsible for driving direct bookings and building online brand awareness for accommodation providers.

      With experience in a variety of progressive leadership roles, Lina spent over 8 years at Orbitz Worldwide (now part of Expedia Inc) as Regional Director, Strategic Accounts APAC and held various roles at Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental.  She holds a MSc in Marketing from University College Dublin.

      Lina Ang, General Manager, SMB, APAC
      Sojern

    Facilitator

    • Fabian Bartnick's biography

      Founder
      Infinito

      Fabian is the Founder of Infinito, a technology company dedicated to improving the work-life balance of hotel managers through IVI, a personal revenue management assistant. He previously was the Vice President of Asia Pacific & International business at LodgIQ overlooking all aspects and operations within the region and as the Director of Global Revenue Generation at Tune Hotels Group encompassing Sales, Distribution, Business Analytics, Revenue Management and the Central Reservations Office. Having lived and worked across 4 continents, Fabian has a rich history in hospitality and a thorough understanding of the global revenue optimization landscape as a user, builder and seller of technology. Fabian has successfully turned around revenue performance in many companies by providing strategic consulting services as well developing powerful revenue analytics solutions that empower the business to maximize its revenue potential. Fabian has been on the Board of Directors for HSMAI South East Asia and currently sits on the HSMAI Advisory Board.  

      Fabian Bartnick, Founder
      Infinito

  • 10:30am - 11:00am
    Morning Tea

    Break time! Enjoy a delicious pastry and tea or coffee with fellow delegates.


  • View bio

    AJ Shantiratnam's biography

    Senior Account Manager
    Tripadvisor

    AJ Shantiratnam is Senior Account Manager for TripAdvisor in Australia. AJ manages click-based advertising business for hotel chains and OTAs in Australia.With a blend of experience working for large OTA and hotel chains, AJ has over 10 years’ experience in the travel industry which he capitalises with his passion for data and business analysis. AJ has previously worked for Agoda.com and Frasers Hospitality leading account management and e-commerce performance.

    11:00am - 11:30am
    Direct Booking Tips and Ideas Unleashed

    AJ Shantiratnam, Senior Account Manager
    Tripadvisor

    Join TripAdvisor and hear the experts, you the audience share their top tips to help you maximise your direct bookings. Get tips on how to get in front of the right audience, build confidence in your property and make booking direct easy and appealing.

    PLUS, Announced: the winning idea of how to drive direct bookings, as submitted by you.

  • 11:15am - 11:45am
    Creative Optimisation: How to survive the unknown

    Technology constantly unlocks new choice models for our customers and we have entered an era where the predictable product is being challenged by a desire for unique, authentic and less stuffy experiences. How do revenue managers continue to optimise and exploit opportunities in the market, whilst managing the impact of unknown supply.

    Panellists

    • Philip Niemann's biography

      Group Vice President, APAC
      Duetto

      As Group VP of the APAC region, Philip leads Duetto's mission to address hospitality’s complex technology landscape, providing solutions that increase organizational efficiency, revenue and profitability. Based in Singapore, Philip oversees the sales, deployment and customer success efforts throughout Asia Pacific. He brings with him a decade of experience in revenue leadership roles on property, in corporate and area capacities in resort and city locations. While of German heritage, Philip is native to Singapore and holds a Bachelor of Science from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. More than 3,000 hotel and casino properties in more than 60 countries have partnered to use Duetto’s applications. 

      Philip Niemann, Group Vice President, APAC
      Duetto

    • Felicity Arthur, Hotel Manager
      Establishment Hotel

    • Nikita Beresnev, Group Director of Revenue – Australia & New Zealand
      Nesuto

    • More Speakers to be Announced,

    Facilitator

    • Melissa Kalan's biography

      Founder
      ARMA

      Melissa Kalan is the Founder of the Australian Revenue Management Association (ARMA), providing revenue management education via the ARMA Academy to the accommodation industry.

      Her life philosophy is centred on the principle of “always learning”, and with this she empowers organisations to lead a revenue management culture from the top down that influences both profits and staff retention.

      Melissa wrote the first Australian nationally accredited VET short course in revenue management and the Graduate Certificate of Revenue Management – an online globally recognised qualification, the first of its kind, in partnership with Torrens University Australia. Melissa co-facilitates the university program with Torrens University Australia and also founded the annual APAC Revenue Management Summit.

      Melissa Kalan, Founder
      ARMA

  • 11:45am - 12:05pm
    Food & Beverage - is it still significant in a hotel offering?

    In this panel session, listen to some of Australia's leading hotel chefs, restaurateurs and food and beverage experts on why many hoteliers have missed the mark when it comes to their food and beverage offering and the huge opportunities there are. Learn how to make your restaurant and other food and beverage outlets a local destination and guest must-visit and eat at.

    Panellists

    • Aaron LePoidevin , Head of Online, ANZ
      Uber Eats

    • Eliza O'Hare's biography

      Editor
      Inside Out Magazine

      Eliza O’Hare is a journalist and editor who has worked in Australian publishing for 30 years.

      She has worked on every genre of magazine, including time on Wheels magazine, Cosmopolitan, Dolly, Woman’s Day and Harper’s Bazaar as well as writing countless articles on modern Australian lifestyle for a variety of print and digital publications.

      Eliza is currently Editor of Inside Out magazine and focuses on design, interiors, food and travel.

      Eliza O'Hare, Editor
      Inside Out Magazine

    • Vincent Lombino's biography

      Group Food & Beverage Director
      Ovolo Hotels

      Overseeing food and drink across the Ovolo brand, from concepts to delivery, in-house to in-room, Vince works closely with Ovolo's Creative Culinary Partners, Chefs, Bar team to curate exciting and innovative offerings to reflect Ovolo’s philosophy. This role sees Vince work across the hotels, creating vibrant new concepts and implementing the highest standard of service and offering, allowing Ovolo to continue to push the boundaries, improve on existing concepts and launch new and unique innovations within the industry.

      With over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Vincent brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. His role as Group Director Food & Beverage has seen him working at organisations globally including Noble House Hotels & Resorts in Seattle, Urban Purveyor Group and Australia’s Event Hospitality Group as Group Food and Beverage Director focusing on development and implementation of their food and beverage concepts across Hotels and Cinemas.

      Vincent Lombino, Group Food & Beverage Director
      Ovolo Hotels

    • More Speakers to be Announced,

    Facilitator

  • 12:05pm - 12:35pm
    CEO Viewpoints

    In this session, listen to Australia and APAC hotel leaders and CEOs discuss the latest trends, issues and opportunities facing the accommodation industry in Australia. This panel session will be facilitated by one of APAC's leading accommodation news editors, Matthew Stephens from eHotelier.

    Panellists

    • Dean Long's biography

      CEO
      Accommodation Association of Australia

      Dean is a Public Policy professional with over a decade of experience providing advice to Governments around Australia and the business sectors with a focus on delivering advocacy outcomes that are mutually beneficial. Throughout his career Dean has created and maintained strong and trusted relationships across the political, private and public sectors.

      Dean was appointed the CEO of the Accommodation Association of Australia in June 2019 following roles as a Senior Adviser in the NSW Government, Head of Public Policy for the Australian Federation of Travel Agents and the National Manager of Government Acquisition (merchant services) for American Express. Dean has successfully led industry responses to regulatory changes across financial services, taxation, consumer affairs, immigration and planning. Dean holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Environmental Management and Tourism from Western Sydney University and Masters of Management from the University of Technology Sydney.

      Dean Long, CEO
      Accommodation Association of Australia

    • Gavin Faull's biography

      Chairman and President
      Swiss-Belhotel International

      Gavin has over 35 years experience in hotel management and operations under his belt. He started his career as an accountant for The Peninsula Group, Hong Kong. In 1983, he was made chief executive of Kingsgate International Corporate Limited, a publicly listed company that owned several hotels in Australia and New Zealand.

      He worked for a start-up hotel management company Swiss-Belhotel group in 1990, before taking over the ownership of the company in 1999. Apart from his illustrious career in the hospitality industry, he also runs a number of agricultural companies in his native New Zealand. Gavin holds hold a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from Victoria University of Wellington.

      Gavin Faull, Chairman and President
      Swiss-Belhotel International

    • Trent Fraser's biography

      CEO
      Choice Hotels Asia-Pac

      Trent Fraser began his career in 1990 and by 2002, had held several senior management roles in a number of hotels across the Asia Pacific region. Mr. Fraser joined Choice Hotels in 2002, heading up the development side of Choice Hotels’ business and a short time later, was overseeing both Development and Franchise Services. In 2012, Mr. Fraser was appointed CEO of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac.

      Mr. Fraser has been at the forefront of property growth for Choice Hotels throughout his 15-year tenure and has developed and implemented strategic, growth-focused business plans, leading to substantial increases in group RevPAR and business delivery.

      Mr. Fraser led the launch and implementation of the Econo Lodge brand in Australia and New Zealand in 2009, and in 2013 he launched the upscale Ascend Hotel Collection spanning unique/boutique properties across Australia.

      Mr. Fraser lives in Melbourne with his wife Michelle and their three daughters. When he’s not in the office or travelling he enjoys playing golf or getting out to cheer on the mighty St Kilda Football Club. He also serves on the national board of AAoA and is a passionate supporter of Choice Hotels Asia-Pac’s charity partner, Kids Under Cover. 

       

      Trent Fraser, CEO
      Choice Hotels Asia-Pac

    • Dave Baswal's biography

      COO/CFO
      Ovolo Hotels

      Currently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Ovolo Hotels Australia, Dave brings with him over 15 years’ experience within the hospitality industry. An exemplary hospitality executive who creates strategic alliances with organisation leaders. With a proven experience in operations, strategic finance, corporate treasury, project management, distribution, IT, audit, financial analysis, sales and marketing within hospitality industry. Dave joined Ovolo Group’s Australian team with a goal of driving the Hong Kong-based brand’s further expansion into the Australian market.

      Dave has been instrumental in leading design and development initiatives for all new Australian based Ovolo Hotels including spearheading recent design projects for Ovolo Inchcolm in Brisbane, Ovolo Nishi in Canberra, Ovolo The Valley in Brisbane. Most recently, Dave has worked tirelessly on ZA ZA TA. Ovolo The Valley’s Middle Eastern and Mediterranean kitchen and bar inspired by the Tel Aviv bar scene, invigorating Fortitude Valley’s Emporium Precinct with soulful cuisine.

      Dave is an effective communicator, and a member of CPA Australia. With a Masters in Professional Accounting and Masters in International Tourism and Hospitality from Griffith University in Gold Coast in addition to Bachelor in Hotel Management, Dave brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to lead the Ovolo Australia Team.

       

      Dave Baswal, COO/CFO
      Ovolo Hotels

    Facilitator

    • Matthew Stephens's biography

      President
      eHotelier

      Matthew is a graduate of the Blue Mountains International Hotel School in Australia, where he was named Alumni of the Year in 2013. He served as the VP Operations at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales for five years, and came back to Australia to be the General Manager of the Shoal Bay Resort and Spa in NSW. Matthew is also well versed in the technology side of hospitality, having served as the IT Manager of Rydges Hotels and Resorts and most recently as the Director, Information Systems at Carnival Australia.

      Matthew Stephens, President
      eHotelier


  • View bio

    Adrian Caruso's biography

    Founder, Managing Director
    Fastrack Group

    Adrian is founder and CEO of Australasia's leading travel, tourism and hospitality full-service marketing and communications firm, Fastrack Group.

    Adrian is a highly experienced and respected travel, tourism and hospitality digital marketing, media and communications expert with over 25 years in the industry. He is also a management consultant and strategist. 

    12:35pm - 01:00pm
    Winning the Direct Booking Battle in 2020

    Adrian Caruso, Founder, Managing Director
    Fastrack Group

    Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and hotels still seem to be in an never ending battle for direct bookings according to many hoteliers. OTAs generally still call the shots with their billion dollar ad budgets, take the rewards, and leave hoteliers shaking with little power to win. Join direct booking expert, Adrian Caruso and listen to what you need to do to instantly regain market share from OTAs and win more clients via direct channels.

  • 01:00pm - 02:00pm
    Lunch

    Network with other attendees over a delicious buffet lunch.

  • 02:00pm - 02:30pm
    The Indian and Chinese Tourism Boom

    Daniel Xu, General Manager
    Digital Crew

    With tourists spending more than $113 billion dollars in Australia in the last year, some of the biggest spenders are not just from China, but also India now showing the strongest growth. In this session listen to experts on how to capitalise on this boom including hoteliers and how to attract them, challenges dealing with these tourists (payments, price), FIT and how important is parity to them, and what they want.

  • 02:30pm - 02:50pm
    WTF is the deal with influencer marketing?

    With Instagram models and other social media influencers driving hotels crazy, join in a panel session with some of the industry's leading social media influencers, hoteliers and social media and marketing agencies to discuss the pros and cons of working with social media influencers.....or not.

    Facilitator

  • 02:50pm - 03:20pm
    How to use your OTA channels to improve your hotels performance

    Learn how can you improve your results by working WITH your OTA channels, what type of data, reports, competitor information you can get and how to use that data to improve your performance, both through the OTA channel and your direct channels.

    Panellists

    • Kristy Edwards, Director of Revenue Optimisation
      BWH Hotel Group

    • Andrew Collins's biography

      Senior Account Manager
      Booking.com

      Based in Sydney Andy leads the Key Markets Account Management Team at Booking.com. In his 7 years at Booking he has held a variety of key account management roles focusing on markets across the APAC Region in both Sydney and Singapore. Coming from a hotel background prior to joining Booking.com, Andy spent over ten years in a variety of roles in properties across France, Spain and New Zealand before relocating to Australia.

      Andrew Collins, Senior Account Manager
      Booking.com

    • Oliver Ruf's biography

      Director of Revenue Management
      Park Hyatt Sydney

      Oliver Ruf is a results-oriented executive with over 15 years of experience in revenue management and, distribution strategy.

      Oliver has held leadership roles with Hyatt and has been a member of Hyatt International’s Global Specialist Program since 2010. As Director of Revenue Management at Park Hyatt Sydney, he has consistently grown revenue streams, contributing to the success and positioning of the award-winning hotel as a preferred luxury hotel in Australia.

      In his current tenure, Park Hyatt Sydney has achieved some of the highest performance benchmarks in its history and is currently recognized as one of the highest performing hotels within Hyatt Hotels & Resorts globally in RevPar & Marketshare terms.

      Oliver Ruf, Director of Revenue Management
      Park Hyatt Sydney

    • Nick Jeffery's biography

      Vice President - Sales & Account Management, APAC
      Sabre Hospitality Solutions

      Nick Jeffery leads the Asia-Pacific Business Development team for Sabre Hospitality Solutions. A veteran of the Asia-Pacific Hospitality sector he joined Sabre back in 2009 after leading the Account Management team for IDeaS across Asia-Pacific since 2001. Prior to his roles with leading hospitality technology companies he “cut his teeth” in Hospitality with the Intercontinental Hotel Group where he held a variety of roles during his 13 year tenure. Whilst working with the Sydney Intercontinental he implemented the first automated Revenue Management solution for the Group globally which prove the catalyst for a rollout of the solution across six continents in the late 1990’s. He has studied Commerce and Economics at both the University of NSW and Macquarie University in Sydney.

      Nick Jeffery, Vice President - Sales & Account Management, APAC
      Sabre Hospitality Solutions

    • More Speakers to be Announced,

  • 03:20pm - 03:50pm
    Afternoon Tea

    Sample the delicious array of cakes, biscuits and beverages on offer while networking with conference delegates.

  • 03:50pm - 04:20pm
    Branded vs. Non-brand vs. Soft brands vs. Boutique

    A hard hitting debate with some of APAC’s leading leading hotel brands, chains and non-brands to discuss the value of being part of a brand vs. being an independent. Listen to why there is increasing consolidation in the market and how the business models of the biggest hotel brands is changing to adapt to the evolution of the non-branded boutique hotels.

    Panellists

    • Brett Salter, National Accommodation Manager
      ALH Group

    • Georgina Williams, Director of Development
      BWH Hotel Group

    • Timo Bures, General Manager
      The Old Clare Hotel

    • Sue Johnson's biography

      Marketing Director
      Spicers Retreats

      After finishing a business degree and scratching the London travel itch, Sue decided that if she could get a job in travel marketing she’d never work another day in her life. And that’s exactly what happened. Sue started with Flight Centre in 2005 as a Consultant and quickly worked up to Team Leader. After a one year contract at Malaysia Airlines as a Marketing Officer she returned to Flight Centre as Recruitment Marketing Officer and over the next 10+ years held a range of roles including National Brand Manager for Flight Centre Brand, Head of Retail Marketing for Flight Centre in the UK and Head of Marketing for Travel Associates and Cruiseabout. Sue recently moved to Spicers Retreats as Marketing Director and is loving every minute of it.

      When she isn’t showing off Spicers Retreats, Sue is spending time with her two girls, trying to run 5kms in 25 minutes and perfecting a banana bread recipe (all suggestions and advice welcome!)

      Sue Johnson, Marketing Director
      Spicers Retreats

    • Kari Hunter, General Manager - Marketing
      Choice Hotels Asia-Pac

    Facilitator

    • Michael Smith's biography

      Managing Director
      Ananas Consulting

      Michael Smith wants to live in a hotelier world where creativity has no limits, hotels celebrate their individual stories and a better, more human interaction is formed with hotel guests. 

      With over 25 years of experience, Michael has worked for the leading global hotel management group Accor, where he was a General Manager for a number of well-renowned Australian hotels across all market segments. He is currently the Managing Director of Ananas Consulting established at the beginning of 2016 to provide a one-stop shop for owners who wished to develop a boutique hotel portfolio with a focus on creative product offerings.

      With his extensive industry experience, Michael could see that Hotels were changing and fast. In an age when "boutique" and "lifestyle" were becoming blurred, guests expected more. He could see they wanted experiences, even if it was just Instagram worthy. People want to connect with their hotel in a different way. Having had success in the large branded hotel sphere, through his innovation focussed leadership, Michael could see that he had a lot to offer owners in this new hotel future. 

      When he is not occupied in his specialised areas of strategic planning, financial management, leadership and product development; you can find him tap dancing his way onto a baseball field or looking for unique ingredients at the grocers for his next homemade recipe.

      Michael Smith, Managing Director
      Ananas Consulting


  • View bio

    Michelle Allen's biography

    Head of Travel
    Google

    Michelle is Head of Travel for Google Australia. She joined Google in 2011 and has 14 years experience in the travel industry in France, Spain and Australia having previously worked for Amadeus. Michelle is passionate about understanding consumer behaviour and how the travel path to purchase has been impacted by digital transformation.

    04:20pm - 04:45pm
    The Future of Customer Experience

    Michelle Allen, Head of Travel
    Google

    Consumer expectations have never been higher than they are today. Technology and innovation are accelerating the pace of change, and consumers now expect a fast, seamless experience and greater assistance from the brands they interact with.

    In this presentation, Google's Head of Travel Michelle Allen will share insights and best practices when it comes to winning today's travel consumer and what should remain top of mind when thinking about the future.

  • 04:45pm - 05:30pm
    The Great Debate - Is Direct Business Really Profitable?

    As a hotelier, how often do you talk about whether all the funds you spend on getting direct bookings are worth it? Are direct bookings really profitable? Or are you spending more on getting them than you would on OTA commissions? There are polar opposite views on this in the hospitality industry, and that’s without thinking about who ‘owns’ the guest and the long term value of a loyal guest. Join us for this highly interactive, highly heated debate with some of the industry's leading hoteliers, OTA's and experts.

    Panellists

    • Michael Johnson's biography

      CEO, TAA National & NSW
      Tourism Accommodation Australia

      As CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia, National & NSW, Michael Johnson calls on his experience within the hotel industry, spanning over three decades and across Australia and New Zealand. Previously in the business of managing four and five star business hotels, resorts and tourist attractions Michael shares insight into all facets of the tourism accommodation industry, from operations to senior management.

      Most recently, after a successful tenure as General Manager of PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport, Michael moved back to Sydney to take on the position of General Manager at PARKROYAL Parramatta and managed the redevelopment extension and 2016 relaunch. Since April 2019, Michael has lead the team at Tourism Accommodation Australia - National & NSW, liaising with Governments to combat hotel industry specific issues such as skilled migration, unregulated accommodation and the skills shortages gap.

      Michael is a natural ambassador of the hotel industry and is committed to encouraging the next generations to try their hand at building a successful career within the industry, an experience he has found extremely rewarding.

      Originally from Sydney, Michael possesses valuable local and national insights and exceptional industry knowledge and skills.

      Michael Johnson, CEO, TAA National & NSW
      Tourism Accommodation Australia

    • Philip Stanley, General Manager ANZ
      Sabre Hospitality Solutions

    • More Speakers to be Announced,

    Facilitator

  • 05:30pm - 07:00pm
    Networking Drinks & Tradeshow Sponsored by Fastrack Group

    Join us for a drink and canapes sponsored by Fastrack Group while you network with other attendees and exhibitors.

  • 08:00am - 08:40am
    Thursday, 7 November, Workshops Day - Registration and Welcome Coffee

    Workshops day is full of one-on-one style learning sessions, so grab a coffee and get ready for lots of learning from the experts.


  • View bio

    Adrian Caruso's biography

    Founder, Managing Director
    Fastrack Group

    Adrian is founder and CEO of Australasia's leading travel, tourism and hospitality full-service marketing and communications firm, Fastrack Group.

    Adrian is a highly experienced and respected travel, tourism and hospitality digital marketing, media and communications expert with over 25 years in the industry. He is also a management consultant and strategist. 

    08:45am - 09:30am
    2020 Book Direct Blueprint

    Adrian Caruso, Founder, Managing Director
    Fastrack Group

    In this highly interactive workshop you will learn how to formulate or improve your hotel's 'Direct Booking Strategy' through proven techniques and strategies. Adrian Caruso, one of the industry's leading Direct Booking strategists will touch on all major digital channels and data practices and look at how they should be applied as we head into 2020. A not to be missed hands-on workshop. Walk away with a blueprint to drive more direct booking in 2020


  • View bio

    Mauro Risch's biography

    Hotel & Resort Photographer
    The Hotel Photographer

    Over the last decade, Mauro Risch has become known simply as The Hotel Photographer. He travels around the Asia Pacific region creating visual content that brings brand awareness and most importantly, improves bookings. He is trusted by PR and marketing teams, hotel managers and executive brand teams right across the Asia Pacific region. Mauro is the preferred photographer for some of the top operators across the industry, including IHG, Wyndham and Meriton.

    09:30am - 10:00am
    The impact of Photography on your bookings

    Mauro Risch, Hotel & Resort Photographer
    The Hotel Photographer

    “One great photo is worth a thousand bookings”

    Listen and learn from Mauro on how to produce the best visual content to help you increase your bookings. What to look for and what to avoid. He will show you the way to get what you need out of your photoshoot. A workshop not to be missed!

  • 10:00am - 10:20am
    Morning Tea

    Grab a tea or coffee and discuss the morning sessions with your colleagues.


  • View bio

    JD Cain's biography

    Vice President of Sales
    Revinate

    As the Vice President of Sales at Revinate, JD is responsible for the strategic direction and execution of all of the company’s global sales and business development efforts. Revinate is the only guest data platform for hospitality, with CRM, marketing and guest feedback solutions, counting tens of thousands of the world’s leading hospitality brands as customers. Before Revinate, JD managed direct sales for large and complex accounts at Akamai Technologies.

    10:20am - 11:05am
    Using CRM to lift revenue and build loyalty

    JD Cain, Vice President of Sales
    Revinate

    CRM is often a buzz word loosely used by hotel and accommodation marketers. Yet using CRM is by far one of the most cost effective ways to boost direct bookings and create loyalty - with a 800-1000% ROI. Listen to one of the industry's leaders show you how to easily use CRM to connect with your clients before, during and after their stay to generate loads more direct bookings than ever before and get guests to become loyal to you.

  • 11:05am - 11:35am
    Riding the Wellness Wave: How hotels are embracing the fitness and wellness trends

    Samantha Foster, Director & Business Owner
    Healthy Highs Pty Ltd

    Hotels are realizing that having a Spa is not enough. To compete (and keep up with their savvy clientele) they are needing to expand their offering to include more elements of wellness such spa, fitness, healthy food, mind-body therapies, physio and other holistic therapies. Learn from one of the industry’s best how to expand their programming to integrate more elements of wellness to increase occupancy in traditionally lower times, increase length of stay and spend per guest, create a great story for marketing and promotion and attract a new clientele.


  • View bio

    Melissa Kalan's biography

    Founder
    ARMA

    Melissa Kalan is the Founder of the Australian Revenue Management Association (ARMA), providing revenue management education via the ARMA Academy to the accommodation industry.

    Her life philosophy is centred on the principle of “always learning”, and with this she empowers organisations to lead a revenue management culture from the top down that influences both profits and staff retention.

    Melissa wrote the first Australian nationally accredited VET short course in revenue management and the Graduate Certificate of Revenue Management – an online globally recognised qualification, the first of its kind, in partnership with Torrens University Australia. Melissa co-facilitates the university program with Torrens University Australia and also founded the annual APAC Revenue Management Summit.

    11:35am - 12:20pm
    Grow your value ladder so you can serve more customers and make more money

    Melissa Kalan, Founder
    ARMA

    This workshop will explore the concept of value and your value ladder. Strategies include value based pricing, customer lifetime value, key properties of value and "value drivers" plus learn important communication strategies that will make you a copywriting genius in no time.


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    AJ Shantiratnam's biography

    Senior Account Manager
    Tripadvisor

    AJ Shantiratnam is Senior Account Manager for TripAdvisor in Australia. AJ manages click-based advertising business for hotel chains and OTAs in Australia.With a blend of experience working for large OTA and hotel chains, AJ has over 10 years’ experience in the travel industry which he capitalises with his passion for data and business analysis. AJ has previously worked for Agoda.com and Frasers Hospitality leading account management and e-commerce performance.

    11:35am - 12:20pm
    TripAdvisor reveals the Top Travellers Truths and an Inside look at Transparency Around Reviews

    AJ Shantiratnam, Senior Account Manager
    Tripadvisor

    Want to reach 456 million monthly visitors on TripAdvisor and influence potential guests from around the globe? In this workshop you will get key insights on how to make the most of your presence on the world's largest travel site by leveraging the latest data and insights, and managing your online reputation.
    In this workshop we will cover:
    - Best practices for monitoring, managing and responding to guest reviews
    - Tips on how to optimise the latest tools and features on TripAdvisor

  • 12:20pm - 01:20pm
    Lunch

    Enjoy a full buffet lunch with your fellow attendees.

  • 01:50pm - 02:20pm
    How to Create The Perfect Hotel Website

    In this session, we will deconstruct one delegates hotel website and then reconstruct it using the best UX/UI practices in the industry to attract more direct bookings at the highest ABV. Learn one-on-one from one of the industry's leading hotel website designers and a leading industry creative director.

  • 02:20pm - 02:50pm
    How to use your OTA channels to improve your hotels performance

    In this workshop learn how to profitably manage the OTA channels. Everyday in every hotel in every city and every town, there is a hotelier telling another hotelier that they hate OTAs and they charge too much in commission. It is a familiar story and one we hear repeated every day. BUT and that is a big BUT, what would you as a hotelier do without them and are you using them wisely? Learn 15% commission vs direct is ‘free’ … but is it really?, what would you do if you didn’t have a connection to any OTA’s?, what would you need to change internally and how would you fill the gaps left by OTA’s and how would you replace that business?

    • Cost of doing business – necessary evil or important part of your strategy?
    • Using the OTAs to fill your peak and off-peak dates
    • Discount or value add?
    • Treating each OTA as an individual entity
    • Know your OTA’s target audience
    • Reviews


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    Henry Leung's biography

    SEO Specialist
    Fastrack Group

    Henry is Fastrack Group's SEO Specialist. He is responsible for delivering effective and best-in-class SEO strategies from start to finish. With a proven record of success in developing and executing creative organic growth strategies for stakeholders, Henry brings his broad industry knowledge having worked with reputable brands, such as Sofitel, Mercedes Benz and Allianz, among others, to achieve their goals in organic ranking and traffic.

    02:20pm - 02:50pm
    Effective Ways to Improve your Website SEO Ranking

    Henry Leung, SEO Specialist
    Fastrack Group

    In this workshop, one of the hotel industry’s leading SEO Specialists, Henry Leung will cover the essential and simple to implement SEO tactics and guide you how to rank better on Google to receive more organic traffic and direct bookings.


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    Gerard Smith's biography

    Business Development Manager
    Fastrack Group

    A business development and relationship specialist, Gerard has held senior management roles in some of New Zealand’s leading digital agencies, before returning to Brisbane after 12+ years. More recently Gerard has held senior management roles with some of Australasia's leading digital agencies, where he focussed on building successful commercial partnerships with leading tourism organisations, including Tourism New Zealand, Real Journeys, Skyline Enterprises and Hobbiton, to name a few.

    02:20pm - 02:50pm
    Creating the perfect Digital Marketing and Website Proposal that gets you the best ROI

    Gerard Smith, Business Development Manager
    Fastrack Group

    In this workshop, the hotel and travel industry’s leading digital marketing and website Business Development and Account Manager, Gerard Smith will show you a step by step way to create the perfect Request for Proposal (RFP) to send to your digital marketing or website development agency to get you the best ROI. Having worked over the last 10 + years on digital transformation projects for some of Australasia’s largest tourism and accommodation brands….Gerard knows exactly what information you need before starting to create the RFP, what it needs to contain, and what to look for when choosing the right digital partner.

  • 02:50pm - 03:15pm
    Afternoon Tea

    Take a break and grab something to eat before our final session of the day.


  • View bio

    Essen Tsou's biography

    Digital Marketing Manager
    Fastrack Group

    Essen has a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing for the hotel and travel industry. Essen has over 5 years digital marketing experience in the hotel/travel industry, previously working within the Global Marketing Team at Expedia. Essen brings in her expertise across online acquisition channels, including paid media, remarketing and social direct response.

    03:15pm - 04:00pm
    Using Google Analytics Correctly to Increase Bookings

    Essen Tsou, Digital Marketing Manager
    Fastrack Group

    A wise man once said 'If you can't measure, you can't manage or control the outcome’. In this session you will learn how to create the optimal eCommerce tracking set-up to track
    where your bookings are coming from, conversion goals and booking funnel visualisation (this is a must-have). You will also learn some conversion optimisation quick wins that you can implement on your own website straight away!

  • 04:00pm - 05:00pm
    Ask anything round tables

    Delegates often say this is the best session of the entire conference. This is your opportunity to sit down with the experts and gain answers and insights for your hotel in a consultation style format. This year's roundtables will include:
    - Revenue Management
    - Websites
    - Digital Marketing (SEO, EDM, SEM, Social)
    - Email Marketing / CRM
    - Reputation Management
    - Rate Parity

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