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 - 08:40am
    --------------- Day 1 - Workshops --------------- (see Day 2 for Conference Agenda)

    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. With 50 000 followers on Instagram, Mauro Risch enjoys a highly engaged following and one of the most popular hotel and resort photographers on social media. 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, Accor, Wyndham, Radisson, Meriton and TFE.

    09:30am - 10:00am
    The art of great hotel photography

    Mauro Risch, Hotel & Resort Photographer
    The Hotel Photographer

    Listen and learn from Mauro on what makes a great image and how to ensure your images are working for you by increasing leads and sales. With 50 000 followers on Instagram, Mauro Risch enjoys a highly engaged following and one of the most popular hotel and resort photographers on social media. Mauro is the preferred photographer for some of the top operators across the industry, including IHG, Accor, Wyndham, Radisson, Meriton and TFE. 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.

  • 10:20am - 11:05am
    Customer Satisfaction is BULLSH#T

    For decades, hoteliers have relied on Customer Satisfaction ratings to inform business choices + operational improvements. In this thought-provoking workshop, learn why customer satisfaction metrics are prone to failure, what customer experience actually is + how you can smash your goals through a new perspective that actually drives ongoing revenue, yield + ... maximum occupancy. Not to be missed, you're guaranteed to walk away with a reframed perspective on measuring your performance from the customer's perspective, leaving armed with the knowledge to make it a reality.

  • 11:05am - 11:35am
    How dynamic remarketing works for hotels

    In this workshop you will learn about the importance of multiple touch points in hotel marketing and how this can be achieved through dynamic remarketing. See case studies of hotels who have leveraged this strategy with great success and have your questions answered by the world's leading dynamic remarketing company.


  • View bio

    Melissa Kalan's biography

    Founding Director
    ARMA

    Melissa Kalan is the Managing Director of the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association, providing Revenue Management (RM) support to industry and educational institutions, online corporate education platforms, face to face training and recruitment of talent.

    Melissa’s background includes Revenue Management with Qantas Airlines across both Domestic and International Networks. Melissa has assisted many properties with their RM goals and their need for well qualified Revenue Management employees. With a passion for Revenue Management in the accommodation industry Melissa has now established the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association (ARMA) and is creating a fast growing network of domestic and international RM professionals.

    11:35am - 12:20pm
    Revenue Management: Change helps us leverage opportunity

    Melissa Kalan, Founding Director
    ARMA

    One thing we know for sure is the only consistent thing is change, and amongst change, revenue management will continue to drive results for your business.

    Often there is a sole focus on apparent market demand and juggling daily price points, however, a good revenue management strategy focuses on the hidden opportunities. Join this workshop as we work through some critical revenue management focus areas for your business.

  • 12:20pm - 01:20pm
    Lunch

    Enjoy a full buffet lunch with your fellow attendees.


  • 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.

    01:20pm - 02:05pm
    Maximising your presence on TripAdvisor

    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

  • 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

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

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

  • 03:15pm - 04:00pm
    Conversion Optimisation, Analytics and eCommerce Tracking 101

    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!

    Facilitator

    • 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.

      Essen Tsou, Digital Marketing Manager
      Fastrack Group

    • 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.

      Gerard Smith, Business Development Manager
      Fastrack Group

  • 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)
    - Reputation Management

  • 07:30am - 08:15am
    Morning Workshop: To Be Advised

    Join us for an interactive pre-conference workshop with one of the industry's leading suppliers.

  • 08:00am - 08:30am
    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. 

    08:30am - 08:35am
    Welcome Address

    Adrian Caruso, Conference Organiser
    Maximum Occupancy

    A welcome introduction to Maximum Occupancy 2018 by the conference MC and organiser, Adrian Caruso.


  • View bio

    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.

    08:35am - 08:55am
    Supply has come - So how are markets behaving & what opportunities are there?

    Matthew Burke, Regional Manager - Pacific
    STR

    STR's Matthew Burke takes a look under the headline performance metrics to uncover how Australian markets are behaving in conjunction with supply as a growing factor. The session aims to leave you with key actionable takeaways for you to leverage.


  • View bio

    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.

    08:55am - 09:25am
    2020 Outlook by the Numbers

    Bryon Merzeo, Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure Consultant
    Deloitte Australia

    In this interactive session, Bryon Merzeo from Deloitte will share the outlook for accommodation operators for 2020. He will also ask a panel of hoteliers their comments and opinions on the current and future market

  • 09:25am - 09:55am
    Keynote Presentation

    More Speakers to be Announced,

  • 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.

  • 10:25am - 10:45am
    Direct Booking Tips and Ideas Unleashed

    In this open to everyone session, we ask fellow industry experts in the audience their tips and strategies to best attract more direct bookings. A prize will be given to the most creative and idea.

  • 10:50am - 11:15am
    Morning Tea

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

  • 11:15am - 11:45am
    Coming soon to your hotel: The integrated revenue generation team

    With many hoteliers facing a downward trend in net room revenue, one main reason can be attributed to the lack of integration, coordination and singular focus and purpose among the core revenue management teams being the Revenue Management (S&M), Marketing Team (MT) and CRM teams. Quite often, these teams function in a rather disjointed fashion, leading to missed revenue opportunities, over dependency on the OTAs, alienated loyalty programs and worsened profitability. Listen to some of the country's top RMs and Marketing Managers on how they have started to work as one team.

    Facilitator

    • Melissa Kalan's biography

      Founding Director
      ARMA

      Melissa Kalan is the Managing Director of the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association, providing Revenue Management (RM) support to industry and educational institutions, online corporate education platforms, face to face training and recruitment of talent.

      Melissa’s background includes Revenue Management with Qantas Airlines across both Domestic and International Networks. Melissa has assisted many properties with their RM goals and their need for well qualified Revenue Management employees. With a passion for Revenue Management in the accommodation industry Melissa has now established the Australian & NZ Revenue Management Association (ARMA) and is creating a fast growing network of domestic and international RM professionals.

      Melissa Kalan, Founding Director
      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.

  • 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.

    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

    With tourists spending more 113 billion dollars in Australia in the last year some of the biggest spenders are not just from China and but also India now showing the strongest growth. In this panel session listen to experts on how to capitalise on this boom including hoteliers 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.

  • 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.

  • 03:00pm - 07:00pm
    Tradeshow Open to Public

    The exhibitor tradeshow will open to all eligible hoteliers and accommodation providers. Head to our registration page to get your FREE ticket!

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • 05:30pm - 07:30pm
    Networking Drinks & Tradeshow

    Join us for a drink while you network with other attendees and exhibitors.

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