2016 Event Programme:

Desperate and disrupted distribution 



8.30 – 9.00 Registration and coffee
9.00-9.10 Welcome and opening remarks

Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst Group of titles

Do we know what we are:

Product or retail?

9.10 – 9.30 Session 1 – Presentation

An overview of the strategic issues facing hoteliers and discussion of whether to focus on retail, product or both. Hoteliers are challenged on the retail front by the superior advertising reach and merchandising abilities of OTAs. But the growth of the sharing economy is bringing a threat to the product as well thanks to new supply being brought into the market at much lower rates.

Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst Group of titles

The winners and losers in the fight for hotel guests:

View from the City

9.30 – 9.50 Session 2 – Presentation

An investment bank equity analyst gives his views on hotel brand companies, OTAs and the sharing economy. Disruptors: Airbnb is increasing bookings; OTA fees continue to grow quicker than hotel revenues; Google integrates further into travel booking funnel. Responses: enhanced technology; upgunned loyalty programmes; consolidation.

Tim Ramskill, Managing Director, Pan European Travel & Leisure Equity Research , Credit Suisse

A data centric perspective

9.50 – 10.05 Session 3 – Presentation

Crunching the numbers on what is happening. Exclusive new data from Travelclick looking at the share of bookings taken by major global hotel companies since the launch of their book direct campaigns. These figures are contrasted with those achieved by smaller chains and independents who are not actively involved in the book direct battle and the figures from OTAs.

Jerome Wise, Vice President – Enterprise Clients, TravelClick Inc.

The book direct battle

10.05 – 10.45 Session 4 – Panel discussion

Global major hotel brand companies on booking direct – fighting back against OTAs and the sharing economy. Why have the global major hotel brands chosen now to launch book direct campaigns? What is the end game? How do they see the relationship with OTAs evolving? How big a threat is the sharing economy? The big chains explain their new tactic of booking direct and why loyalty schemes are an essential weapon.

Moderator: Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst Group of titles

Matt Luscombe, Chief Commercial Officer, Europe, IHG
Osama Hirzalla, Vice President Brand Marketing & ecommerce, Marriott
Charlie Osmond, Chief Tease, Triptease

       10.45 – 11.15   Break        Kindly Sponsored by Travelclick    

The balance of power:

Examining the forces

11.15 – 11.30 Session 5 – Presentation

The advertising reach of hotels compared to rivals. A leading marketing analytics company compares and contrasts how hotel companies are performing relative to other brands in other industries. How well do brands engage with consumers in conventional marketing channels and new media. Who is optimising the consumer digital journey the best.
Andrew Challier, Strategic Marketing Investment Advisor, Ebiquity – independent marketing performance specialists

Combating superior forces

11.30 – 12.00 Session 6 – Panel discussion

Options to outflank despite weaker firepower. Hoteliers sometimes appear hopelessly outgunned but there are opportunities too. How to face up to the realities and find the best way to fight back to keep growing your business.

Moderator: Peter O’Connor, Academic Director and Professor of Information Systems at Institute de Management Hotelier International (IMHI)

Francis Louis Passerini, MD Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa,  Fastbooking
Michael Schaeffner, Director of Sales & Marketing, Serenata Intraware
Michael McCartan, Managing Director, Duetto
Maarten Plesman, VP for EMEA, Revinate

New battlefields:

The sharing economy

12.00 – 12.15 Session 7 – Presentation

A legal view on the regulatory environment. How balanced is the playing field between the new insurgents from the sharing economy and incumbent hospitality businesses? Plus an update on the ongoing legal spats involving OTAs, hoteliers and competition authorities.

Neil Baylis, Partner, K&L Gates LLP

A fair fight?

12.15 – 1.00 Session 8 – Panel discussion

A debate between hoteliers and sharing economy principals on the regulations. Will regulatory intervention slow the advance of the sharing economy? Where are the main points of contention between existing businesses and the new wave of peer-to-peer players? Should existing hoteliers focus on fighting for fairness or join in with the new platforms?

Moderator: Katherine Doggrell, Editor, Hotel Analyst

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Frank Reeves, Co-Founder & CEO, Avvio
Kike Sarasola, CEO of RoomMate Hotels and BeMate.com


1.00 – 2.00   Lunch         Kindly Sponsored by Travelclick

Tactical challenges:

Friendly fire and other mistakes

2.00 – 2.20 Session 9 – Presentation

The problem with hotels and distribution. Where did it all go wrong? A frank look at the past, present and future of how hotel rooms are sold. A no holds-barred take on where and why the industry needs to wake-up.

Peter O’Connor, Professor of Information System, Essec Business School, France, IMH

Improving the performance

2.20 – 2.50 Session 10 – Panel discussion

What silos need to be broken down. The hotel industry has for too long operated in ring-fenced departments. The why and how of bringing revenue managers, marketers, technologists and similar together. What can be achieved by a joined-up approach and what is being missed by current practice.

Moderator: Chris Bown, Deputy Editor, Hotel Analyst

Richard Oram, Senior Director Sales Consulting – Hotels (EMEA), Oracle
Alex Gisbert, CEO, Fastpay
Neil Corr, Senior Consultant EMEA, iDeas

An OTA’s view

2.50 – 3.05 Session 11 – Interview

Expedia gives its view on the distribution landscape, to dispel the myth that it’s OTAs vs hotels in the race for the guest. The OTA giant reveals its ambitions and desires in a one-on-one talk with a leading hotel distribution journalist.

Interviewer: Katherine Doggrell, Editor, Hotel Analyst

Christopher Michau, Vice President, Global Partner Group, Expedia


3.05 – 3.35   Break         Kindly Sponsored by Travelclick

Tactical tips:

Learn from the retail industry

3.35 – 3.50 Session 12 –Presentation

What does it mean to be an effective retailer? A leading market research company dissects the data on what makes a successful product and what makes a winning retailer. The agency uses results from its insight tools to explain what hotels need to do to get closer to their customers.

Matt Costin, Managing Director of “On The Move” division, BDRC Continental

Improving retail effectiveness

3.50 – 4.20 Session 13 – Panel

Experts discuss what works and what doesn’t for hoteliers. Why are hoteliers generally so poor at selling hotel rooms? What are the best ones doing right? What changes are being brought by the cloud, by personalisation, by mobile, by social media and other innovations.

Moderator: Chris Bown, Deputy Editor, Hotel Analyst

Luis del Olmo, Chairman, Idiso
John Seaton, Managing Director, International, Cendyn
Sameer Sinha, Gobal Sales Head, Rategain

Listening to the customer

4.20 – 4.35 Interview

The views of travel management companies. Have TMCs been overlooked in the book direct battle? Find out what’s at stake if a key customer group is alienated: what do TMCs expect from hotel suppliers and what they might do if their needs are not met. The opportunities being created by the shifting relationships are examined.

Interviewer: Andrew Sangster, Editorial Director, Hotel Analyst Group of titles

Paul Wait, CEO, Guild of Travel Management Companies

Don’t look back in anger

4.35 – 4.50 Session 14 – Presentation

A candid examination of the distribution challenges facing mid-sized hotel chains. A former senior member of the team charged with transforming the prospects of London’s biggest upscale hotel chain tells all. Did dramatic innovation like choose-your-own-room work? Can mid-sized and smaller chains compete effectively in the digital marketplace?

Presenter: Alastair Campbell, former strategy director at glh

Taking advantage of the disruption

4.50 – 5.20 Session 15 – Panel discussion

Options mid-sized chains and other hoteliers who are not global brands have in the disrupted environment. Can working with the technology giants transform the prospects of such chains? How can hoteliers that are not part of a global brand resist commoditisation?

Moderator: Macy Marvel, Associate, Hotel Analyst

Jo Stanford, Managing Director, EMEAI, Amadeus Hospitality
Alastair Campbell, Former Strategy Director at GLH
Terri Scriven, Industry Head of Hospitality, Google

5.20 – 5.25 Closing remarks

5.25 – 7.00 Drinks reception in the Bankside Foyer of the Hilton Hotel


Reception Drinks kindly sponsored by Cendyn






See the Programme from 2015