Speakers

Maximum Occupancy is Australia’s premier hotel and accommodation industry conference, designed for and by the hotel industry's leaders. The conference features over 40+ leading industry experts and speakers from around Australia and the globe.

See some of our past keynote speakers and panelists below.

View bio Dean Long

CEO
Accommodation Association of Australia

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.

View bio Philip Niemann

Group Vice President, APAC
Duetto

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. 

Kari Hunter

General Manager - Marketing
Choice Hotels APAC

Brett Salter

National Accommodation Manager
ALH Group

Chantelle Veness

Group Director of Sales & Marketing
The Lancemore Group

View bio Vincent Lombino

Group Food & Beverage Director
Ovolo Hotels

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 our 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.

View bio Nick Jeffery

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

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.

Philip Stanley

General Manager ANZ
Sabre Hospitality Solutions

Trent Fraser

CEO
Choice Hotels APAC

View bio Gavin Faull

Chairman and President
Swiss-Belhotel International

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.

View bio Drew Bowering

Senior Director, Market Management - Oceania
Expedia

Drew Bowering's biography

Senior Director, Market Management - Oceania
Expedia

Drew Bowering leads Expedia Lodging Partner Services in Oceania, responsible for the strategic direction and execution of the company’s account management and sales approach in the region.  He leads an organisation of 80 professionals throughout the region to establish and develop hotel partner relationships and help maximise their exposure to Expedia’s 200+ travel booking websites.   

Drew is a regular on the industry speaker-circuit, seen as a thought-leader who specialises in delivering compelling presentation and discussion around technology and booking trends.

Drew has worked for the Expedia group for more than eight years, holding a variety of senior roles across the business from the Global Partner Group to Market Management in the UK, USA, and Australia.

Drew holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics from Loughborough University in the UK, where he grew up.  He currently resides in Sydney, Australia where he is raising his young family.

View bio Adrian Caruso

Founder, Managing Director
Fastrack Group

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. 

View bio Michelle Allen

Head of Travel
Google

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.

View bio Lina Ang

General Manager, SMB, APAC
Sojern

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.

View bio Steven Wright

CEO
BIG4 Holiday Parks

Steven Wright's biography

CEO
BIG4 Holiday Parks

Steven Wright is an experienced Chief Executive Officer and Company Director. He has held a number of Chief Executive Roles in the tourism, professional sports, major events and leisure industries. He was appointed Chief Executive of BIG4 Holiday Parks in October 2014. Prior to that he was the inaugural CEO of Tourism & Events Queensland, CEO of AFL Clubs Richmond and Brisbane Lions and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation. He is also on the Advisory Board for Delaware North. Steven holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Masters of Law both from Monash University and worked as a solicitor with Freehills for 8 years. 

View bio Graham Perry

Managing Director, Australasia
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Graham Perry's biography

Managing Director, Australasia
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Graham is a seasoned executive leader with experience working across the global travel, tourism, media and hospitality sectors.  The thread that flows through his career is his passion for marketing and the ever-evolving travel distribution and technology landscape.

From 2016 Graham has worked with a number of successful travel start-ups including eRoam who are applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to transform travel distribution. He was appointed Managing Director, Australasia for Best Western Hotels & Resorts in May 2018.

Sue Johnson

Marketing Director
Spicers Retreats

View bio Dave Baswal

COO/CFO
Ovolo Hotels

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.

 

View bio Matthew Stephens

President
eHotelier

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.

View bio Melissa Kalan

Founding Director
ARMA

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.

View bio Matthew Burke

Regional Manager - Pacific
STR

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.

View bio Bryon Merzeo

Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure Consultant
Deloitte Australia

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.

View bio AJ Shantiratnam

Senior Account Manager
Tripadvisor

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.

View bio Michael Smith

Managing Director
Ananas Consulting

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.

View bio Mauro Risch

Hotel & Resort Photographer
The Hotel Photographer

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.

View bio Essen Tsou

Digital Marketing Manager
Fastrack Group

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.

View bio Gerard Smith

Business Development 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.

More Speakers to be Announced


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