2015 Program & Speakers

The 2015 main conference program and speaker line-up is below.  To view the program for EyeforTravel's Startup Village on March 23rd which is co-located with the conference click here.

We will be holding pre-conference drinks between 6.00 - 7.30pm on Sunday 22nd in the Anzu Bar at the Hotel Nikko.

Download Your Copy Of The Brochure

Keynotes Mobile & Innovation Social Media

7.30 - 8.30am Networking Coffee

Day 1 - Monday March 23rd, 8.30 - 5.30pm

8.30 - 10.00am Keynote: The Death of the Desktop? Actively prepare your brand for the future of online travel

As global smartphone adoption reaches 1.75 billion, there's no question that it's the future of travel. The question is, at what point will we see mobile and tablet usage overtake desktop as the no.1 research and booking platform and how do you actively prepare your business for the future of travel?

  • Top travel brands debate the future growth and potential of mobile. What are the opportunities in mobile and what are the limitations?
  • With so many key decisions to be made, analyze where you should be prioritizing your budget and resources

Christine Warner, Head of Travel, Facebook
Gary Morrison, SVP & Head of Retail, Expedia Worldwide
Doug Carrillo, VP Sales & Marketing, Virgin Hotels

10.00 - 10.30 Networking Coffee Break

10.30 - 12.00 Keynote: Use Mobile & Social to improve the guest experience and win loyal customers

Technology and data are at the heart of your ability to provide the customer with a seamless travel experience from the moment they leave the house to the moment they return. In this session we explore how to use mobile to enhance the guest experience at every step of the way.

  • Take the stress out of traveling - use the latest technology to ease the pain of travel and guide the customer to their destination
  • Learn how to use beacons to contextualize customer communications and ensure you add value" to the journey by pushing out useful information at the right time
  • Use the latest technology to maximize on-trip mobile interactions and answer customer queries
  • Updates in guest technology - mobile check-in, to door locks, kid tracking on cruise ships - which ease customer pain points?
  • How is In-flight technology evolving?
  • What information do customers really want to receive when traveling?

Randy Dearborn, VP Multimedia & Guest Technology, MGM Resorts & Julie Hoffmann, Exec Director, Digital & Consumer Experience, MGM Resorts
Allen Darnell, CTO, Silvercar
Manoj Jasra, Digital Director, Mobile & eCommerce Strategy, WestJet

12.00 - 1.25pm Networking Lunch Break

Mobile & Innovation
1.25 - 2.05 Understand how mobile is driving fundamental changes in consumer behavior

Mobile is fundamentally changing how consumers wish to engage with you in different scenarios. In this session, we explore which behaviors you need to adapt to.

If you thought email and call centers were dead, think again. Mobile has become the channel of choice for consumers to access their email (51% of all emails are read on a mobile phone (emailcenter, 2014)

Brands are seeing greater volumes of traffic to the call center than has been seen in several years.

  • Does the act of 'second screening' influence the way in which customers consume content and advertising?
  • Mobile search - how does mobile change consumer search behavior?
  • From millennials, to business travelers to silver surfers - how does mobile consumer behavior differ? What can be learnt from other regions of the world?
  • Beyond Mobile:  How to Play Omni-Channel Contextual Relevance in a Mobile-Led World

Shashank Nigam, CEO, SimpliFlying
Andres Fabris, Founder & CEO, Traxo

Social Media
1.30 - 2.00pm Transform your travel business - learn how to integrate social into the fabric of your company
  • Develop a holistic social strategy: Embed social into your core business processes to understand your customer better, feed into new product development and facilitate deeper engagement
  • Remove internal barriers and streamline communications to allow the sharing of resources, skills and knowledge and foster collaboration
  • Training: learn how to adequately prepare teams locally and globally to understand the importance of social media
  • You in 2015: Understand how your role will evolve as social becomes a core component of your company's wider business strategy
Karlijn Vogel-Meijer, Social Media Director, KLM
Mobile & Innovation
2.05 - 2.40 Overcome internal challenges - Learn how to set up your business for mobile success
  • Where should mobile sit within your organization?
  • Will a Chief Mobile Officer ever become common place?
  • Set your business up for mobile success - ensure mobile drives your business and does not sit in a silo
  • What technology do you need to deploy to ensure your mobile strategy truly delivers?

Chris Blanton, Product Manager, Mobile and Emerging Channels, Choice Hotels International
Rob Hammond, Senior Director of Enterprise Mobility Services, Syniverse

Social Media

2.00-3.00pm Social Media (& Mobile) for Customer service: How to keep customers loyal and win new ones

Travel can be fraught with issues. Customers are reaching out to your brand and demanding immediate responses. Learn how to respond quickly and effectively to win consumer trust and loyalty

  • Learn how to ensure you have the optimal internal structure including cross functional collaboration to cope with real time customer demands
  • Crisis communications - what can be learnt from a real world travel crisis?
  • What are the essential internal processes and procedures that need to be in place?
  • Keep ahead of the curve by employing predictive communication alongside reactive and proactive communication. Utilize your social listening and data sets to forecast, and prepare for, potential issues or opportunities
Annette Hernandez, Manager, Social Customer Experience,American Airlines
Rob Hahn, Assistant Manager, Social Care, Customer Relations and Rapid Rewards, Southwest
Fiona Boyce, Director of Social Media & Brand Content, Commune Hotels
Session Chaired by Shashank Nigam, CEO, SimpliFlying
Mobile & Innovation
2.40 - 3.40 Learn how to take your Mobile app to the next level

Mobile apps require constant maintenance and updates. The bar for the provision of basic mobile hygiene factors (i.e. the bare minimum of service and functionality the customer expects through this channel) is being raised every day. Don't risk your expensive app being left to flounder - after all those who have downloaded your app are your most valuable customers

  • Integrate the latest features to personalize the mobile app experience
  • Explore effective techniques to keep customers engaged
  • One of the advantages of mobile apps is the ability to follow up with customers post-purchase - Understand how best to link your mobile activities with customer loyalty marketing
  • Hear marketing tips and tricks to ensure your mobile app downloads increase
  • Understand what techniques can be used to reach new customers and re-engage existing ones
  • Learn how to make your app pages link-able and accessible with deep links

Katherine Bose, Director, Mobile Partnerships, TripAdvisor
Amy Sawyer Ludwig, Global Product Manager, Mobile, Carlson Wagonlit Travel
Mohammad Gaber, Senior Marketing Manager, Industry Strategy for Travel & Hospitality, Adobe

Social Media
3.30 - 4.30 Still looking for social media ROI? Analyze what data really counts

As a famous philosopher (Einstein) once said 'Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts'.It's an age old debate but nearly a decade on, travel brands large and small are still trying to prove the ROI of social media to their bosses - it's sad but true!

  • A huge number of social analytics platforms exist but what data really counts and what can you do without?
  • What internal benchmarks/KPIs should you be setting?

Barbara Pezzi, Director of Analytics & Search Optimization, Fairmont Raffles HI

3.40 - 4.00pm/3.00 - 3.30pm -  Networking Coffee Break

Mobile & Innovation
Mobile Innovation in Travel Awards - The Final

The voting is now closed and the 2 lucky finalists per category have now been decided.  The top travel brands who will battle it out are:-

  • Best Mobile Travel User Experience



  • Best Mobile Travel App



  • Best Mobile Travel Strategy



  • Best Mobile Travel Solution

Carlson Wagonlit Travel


Come along to listen to their 5 minute pitches detailing what they feel has attributed to their mobile success. 

The awards judges include:

Michael J. Becker, Managing Partner, mCordis (former President, North America, MMA)
Aron Ezra, CEO, OfferCraft
Glenn Gruber, Snr Mobile Strategist, Propelics

Social Media
4.30 - 5.30 Case study series: Get to grips with real world social media travel case studies

In this case study series we explore creative ideas for social media success

  • Hear how leading Asian carrier, Cathay Pacific achieves social media success with its new brand campaign “Life Well Travelled”.
  • Learn more about the creative ideas behind Travel Oregon’s 7 Wonders of Oregon campaign as well as insights into the ROI
  • Social media on a limited budget - what should you prioritise?
  • Top tips for effectively working with bloggers to tell your brand story
  • Understand how to use social media to improve your organic search results

Dennis Owen, Manager Brand, Cathay Pacific
Mo Sherifdeen, Director of Global Integrated Marketing & Publishing, Travel Oregon
Keith Salwoski, Executive Director of Public Relations, The Venetian | The Palazzo

5.30 - 7.30pm Networking Drinks Reception

Keynotes Mobile & Innovation Social Media

Don't miss the chance to join us!

For full information on prices and registration visit this link


7.30 - 8.45 Networking Coffee

Day 2 - Tuesday March 24th, 8.45am

8.45 - 10.00am Keynote: Adapt your Content marketing strategies to thrive in the new multiscreen, socially connected reality

In a mobile enabled environment where customers are increasingly always connected and also socially connected, achieving a consistent content marketing strategy across the huge number of touch points can be a real headache.

  • Learn how to create and leverage content that drives sales, repeat purchase behavior and brand loyalty
  • Leverage mobile content to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with your customers on the move
  • Understand what content converts customers into active sales
  • Capitalize on the integration of mobile and social tools to drive user generated content and higher engagement
  • Balance a rich blend of original versus branded content not forgetting the importance of local content
  • Understand how drones be used to create exciting visual content of your resort/travel experience

Kathleen Reidenbach Senior Vice President, Marketing, Kimpton Hotels

Carla Pearse, SVP Sales & Business Development, Lonely Planet

Jeremy Coleman,Vice President of Digital, Vail Resorts

10.00 - 10.30 Networking Coffee Break

10.30 - 12.00 Create a seamless travel experience and intelligently target your customers cross-device

Your customer expects you to know where they are and how ready they are to purchase from you. Yet customers are using different devices at different times for different purposes.

  • Learn how to develop customer-centric - not platform centric marketing strategies
  • Ensure your communications with your customers are contextually aware - reap the rewards of sending them the right message in real time via to the right device
  • When should push notifications be used?
  • How do you retarget 'dropped baskets' cross device?
  • Going local with geo-fencing: Learn how to target travelers within a set radius of your property or travel experience to win new customers and increase conversions
  • Encourage content sharing while on-property or in-destination to drive brand awareness

Daniel Craig, Sr. Director, Mobile & Social, Hotels.com - an Expedia Inc Brand
Shaun Aukland, Head of Travel Mobile & Social Initiatives, Google
Sunil Bhagwan, Global Commercial Lead, Mobile, Criteo
Roxy Young, VP Marketing, Hipmunk

12.00 - 12.30 Take Personalization to the next level - Understand the importance of context in communications to boost sales and win loyal customers

As your customers become increasingly savvy, traditional customer engagement is no longer effective. B2I (business-to-individual) is the future but is it realistic, and if so, how do you get there?

  • Understand how different consumer segments (Luxury, Silver Surfer, Millennials etc) expectations of your brand and the guest experience vary
  • Know how to cope with 1 person taking on different personas eg. traveling for leisure vs. work
  • Broad audience segments will no longer cut it - Understand how to take essential steps towards a 1:1 personalized strategy

Ana M. Brant, Director, Global Guest Experience & Innovation, Dorchester Collection

12.30 - 2.00pm Networking Lunch Break

Mobile & Innovation
2.00 - 3.00pm Reduce friction and create the ultimate mobile user experience from search to checkout to post-trip
First things first, get your mobile search strategy sussed - hear top tips to ensure you are easily found via mobile
What techniques/features can you deploy to make the mobile user experience as frictionless as possible?
  • Learn what content and information you should prioritize and what can you strip back
  • Understand how to create bespoke home screens dependent on where the customers are in their journey
  • How is the technology developing to ensure a smooth payment and check out process?

Amanda Richardson, VP of Product, HotelTonight
Manu Rekhi, Director, Inventus Capital Partners
Christoph Heyn, Director, Mobile & Digital Guest Experience, Marriott International / The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company LLC
Cheryl Rosner, CEO, Stayful

Social Media

2.00 - 2.45pm What’s working in social media right now?  Get essential industry updates to ensure you make the right social media decisions for your brand

In this session we explore tried and tested ideas to engage travelers of varying demographics.

  • What new platforms should you be aware of and more importantly which deliver value?
  • Is SnapChat worth investing your valuable time and money in?
  • Hear insightful social media success stories to help decide where to invest your valuable social media resources
  • User-generated images – should you include them in your site?  Learn from other brands’ opportunities/mistakes
  • 1:1 messenger apps – your customers are spending huge amounts of time on them but do they have any relevance to brands?

Melisse Hinkle, Head of Content and Social Media, North America, Cheapflights.com

Taylor Jones, Social Media Specialist, The Lake Louise Ski Resort (Founder & Author of Dear Photograph)

3.00 - 3.30 (mobile track) 2.45 - 3.15pm (social media track) Networking Coffee Break

Mobile & Innovation
3.30 - 4.00pm Effective Mobile Analytics - Learn from those who've got to grips with tracking the customer cross device

How to track your customers as they flit from device to device is the golden question right now. So who's got it sussed?

  • Learn how to piece together cross device interactions to ensure you follow up with the customer in real time via (mobile friendly) email to boost conversions
  • Hear directly from the leading technology providers in this area - quiz them for the right solution

Jonathan Isernhagen Director, Analytics & Insights, Wyndham Hotel Group

Social Media

3.15 - 4.00pm Learn how to navigate the new 'pay to play' social media landscape

Social media used to be a level playing field for all brands small and large. As the social giants move further into advertising models, do you need to up your budget to compete? 

  • What simple techniques can be used to get more bang for your buck?
  • Hear insightful case studies from top travel brands who have trialled pay to play features across different social platforms and can tell you what works and what doesn’t
  • Get up-to-speed with the latest algorithm updates from the big social players
  • Explore if brands can continue to navigate the social landscape without having deep pockets

Yara Paoli, Marketing Director, Skyscanner 
Margaret Mastrogiacomo, Director, Interactive Media, HeBS Digital

4.00 - 4.30pm Closing keynote: Analyze the importance of wearables and emerging consumer technology on the future of travel

Your customers are embracing new consumer technologies at lightning speed. Which new technologies are just a flash in the pan and which should you be investing in?

  • Analyze what new consumer and in-house technologies will really impact the guest experience in 2015
  • Google Glass allows users to generate fantastic content but will it ever become mainstream?
  • Smartwatches and other wearables - are they worth the investment? 
  • How can smartwatches be used to enhance the travel experience? What steps can be taken to frictionless communication?

David Zakariaie CEO and Co-Founder, Senseye Inc

Miriam Moscovici, Director of Emerging Technology, BCD Travel

4.30pm Conference closes

Keynotes Mobile & Innovation Social Media


Download Your Copy Of The Brochure


Sponsors of Social Media Strategies for Travel 2015

  • adobe
  • Criteo
  • LeanPlum
  • Rivet
  • Switchfly
  • Syniverse
  • Traxo
View All Sponsors

Got a question? Get in touch below!

Gina Baillie

Gina Baillie