Day 1 - How Product Development is Evolving Across All Travel & Transportation Sectors

Chaired By Don Birch, Business Mentor and former President & CEO at Abacus International Pte Ltd

9:00 The Hotelier Perspective: 5 Leading Hotel Investors and Developers Reveal the Secrets of Developing Successful Hotels: Location, Products and How to Expand

Whilst plonking a hotel in the latest fast developing market is an obvious way to expand, it's not the only one! Oil finds, emerging economies, gambling legislation and even the development of new hobbies have all been key in developing profitable new hotels. Hotels once made and in use, potentially have so many more products to sell than airlines that some may be accused at getting a little lazy in both developing products their clients actually want as well a marketing them to their guests.

However the new customer use of mobile, the ability to link customer databases to location based social media, blue tooth and the innate human trust you have with the person who looks after you at night is seeing an explosion in innovation of product development within the business. This session sees 5 experts debate:

  • What do you need to know to develop a profitable new hotel
  • What are the best sources of knowledge and how do you merge data and manage the figures
  • How do you develop a hotel's products to suit the clientele, the destination and local on trip service providers - how do you exploit the skills within the brand and those onsite when developing new hotels
  • How do you develop and offer your customers actual products they want

Speakers include:

  • Christoph Hager, Director - Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotel and Resort
  • Gerard Nolan, Partner, Gerard Nolan & Partners Hotel Property Specialists
  • Peter V. Penev, Director, Feasibility and Development Finance, Hyatt International (Europe Africa Middle East)

Moderated by Carl Weldon, Chief Executive, HOSPA

11:00 Networking Coffee Break

11:30 How and where he invest to produce the most profitable new flight and car hire products


  • What do you need to know to start a new airline or car hire product
  • No Innovation - no Future: Travel companies have to grasp that Product Innovation is fundamental to commercial success and survival
  • Contribution maximization: New Product evaluation must see beyond their vertical P&L.
  • Airlines' service unbundling has reached the end. So what next?
  • What are the best data sources and how do you merge and manage the figures
  • Sourcing data on below “the radar” low cost non GDS airlines
  • Developing non core products that sell. Do you exploit your first point of sale in the web buying process and just sit back and wait for new ancillary partners to come to you... Or can you go out there and discover real non core products that your customers want?
  • Per Voegerl, Commercial Director, Sixt Rent a Car
  • Peter Gerstle, Former Product Development Manager, Easyjet,



12:00 Lunch

1:30 The Tour Operators and Intermediaries Show their Cards

4 online and traditional productdevelopers assess the challenges, risks and opportunities in building new leisure packages and destinations.

For too long tour operators have acted as informal marketing partners for destination based travel organisations. It's a low risk reactive way to build a business but it's based on luck and contacts not facts and judgement. As the major tour operators invest more and more into developing products their customers want we debate:

  • What data and information is vital when putting together a new package holiday product that will sell
  • How do you make products your customers want not what your partners want to push
  • Fitting new products into existing business models - repackaging what you have!
  • What is key to predict the market - how to identify customer clusters and assess how wealthy they are - how do you create a key unique selling point
  • Is there any way you can monitor your competitors supply
  • Linking customer knowledge with destination knowledge - part of your team knows secrets of the customer, part of your team knows the secrets of the potential product... how do you get these people working together?
  • How can you ensure the system does not destroy innovation
  • Susan Stiner,Regional VP Product Development - North America, Tourico Holidays
  • William Burton, Former Group Chief Executive, Page & Moy Travel Group
  • Maria Raga, Head of Travel, Groupon
  • Roy Blanga, Senior Director, Groupon

3:30 Networking Coffee Break

4:00 Boost Total Value, Differentiate and Grow Revenue Margins with Inspired Merchandised Products & Services

Merchandising or ancillary revenues are having an ever increasingly important impact on travel industry profits. Is anyone focussing on products that customers want or is it all reactive?

  • How do you create products you don't own that will sell to your customers
  • Are Dynamic packaging technology providers a source a valuable data? What insights into what products can they share that will enable you sell more?
  • How do you balance the deal making product sourcing part of your business with the part that understands what your customer wants
  • Bobby healy, CTO, CarTrawler

4:30 Cocktail Reception

Day 2 - Understand How to Select and Utilize FruitfulData Sources to Create the Perfect Travel Product

9:30 Harness External Data to Accurately Predict Demand

  • Google, Facebook, GDS's... What data sources are out there, how much do they cost and how can you use them?
  • What can media and search sites tell you about the potential of new products?
  • What can you use GDS sourced data for and is the costs worth it
  • How can you combine market reports into your product development process and what are the key indicators to look for
  • Industry association data to predict demand. PATA, IATA, ABTA WTO and the WTTC all pump out data. How useful is it and how should you use it?
  • James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst, Experian Hitwise
  • Tom Coulthurst, Director of Product Marketing, Sabre Hospitality Solutions
  • Chris Colaco, Vice president, Travelport Business Intelligence

11:00 Coffee

11:30 Effectively Forecastyour Competitors Potential Supply to Mitigate Risk and Maximize ROI from New Product Launches

Without meticulous research, even the best new product can be thwarted by competitors' actions - So how should you prepare to ensure success?

  • Market awareness - events - transport providers - competitors - what impacts supply of a competitive product
  • What External data can help you assess the potential supply
  • How do you find out the capacity of your competitors
  • How fast can they move
  • Its not just price comparison, availability and quality are vital
  • How can you ensure you create a new product that has opaque pricing and won't become an unprofitable commodity
  • What can competitors price tell you about potential supply
  • How big an advantage does the first mover have
  • How do you build his information into your calculations
  • Vishal Jain, Head, Product Management, RateGain
  • Konstanze Auernheimer, Director - Marketing, STR
  • SorenLangelund, COO, Ewaterways

1:00 Lunch

2:00 Co-create & Produce Authentic Travel Products

These days conversation and interactivity abound. To create great authentic travel products you need to listen and engage with all parties involved to fully understand, anticipate and satisfy what consumers want, when and at what price level. This is more easily said than done. Justin, a real innovator in travel tells you how.

  • Justin Francis, Managing Director,


2:30 Discover Best-In-Class Data Management Practices

  • What can the travel sector learn about data management industry
  • Data partnerships and joint ventures. What data sharing works what's legal and how do you do it.
  • How do you combine multiple data sources so that the board understands and gets behind your goals
  • Hedwig Wassing, CEO, @Leisure/Belvilla
  • Hendrik Vordenbäumen, Vice President Travel Management, SAP
  • Alex Dietz, Lead Product Manager, Hospitality and Travel Revenue Management, SAS Institute

4:00 End of Conference