Stefanie AcworthTravel Influencer, Founder, amodernwayfarer.com
Stefanie is a full-time travel blogger and freelance travel writer. She founded the popular travel blog, A Modern Wayfarer, as a side-project in March 2013, and has since turned it into a thriving website and Instagram account for the young or young-at-heart creative nomads who crave honest and unique global experiences. She has been featured in The Guardian, Traveller.com, The Age, Get Lost Magazine, Jetstar Magazine and more; and has worked with various tourism boards, hotels and airlines around the world. After visiting and writing about 253 cities in 67 countries over 5 continents over the last few years, she has well and truly earned her reputation as a travel junkie!
Sarah AndersonFounder & Managing Director, GTI Tourism
Sarah is the founder and managing director of GTI Tourism, an integrated travel marketing agency with a blue chip client list comprised of airlines, international luxury hotels chains, tour operators, cruise operators and national, state and city tourist boards. GTI was appointed to represent New Caledonia Tourism in Australia and New Zealand in 2014 and a successful brand, consumer and trade marketing strategy has seen visitation to the island nation grow significantly since. Core to the work has been a series of digital and content led campaigns, including a virtual reality piece produced by StartVr, driving increased awareness and interest in the destination.
Sarah was a finalist in the coveted Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards in 2012, awarded Travel Weekly’s Mentor of the Year Award in 2016 and was named in Travel Weekly’s 2018 Power List. www.gtitourism.com.au
Scott BarberManaging Director Australia and New Zealand, Travelport
Scott is Travelport's Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, with responsibility for the strategic and commercial vision of the Pacific region.
Scott has been with Travelport for 10 years and has held several key roles across a wide range of departments, giving him a wealth of knowledge across our customer base. He has also worked with airlines, hospitality and travel wholesale. Originally from the UK, Scott has been based in APAC for over 10 years, including Singapore, and has now returned to live in Sydney.
Fabian BartnickVP, Asia Pacific and International Business, LodgIQ
Fabian is the Vice President of Asia Pacific & International Business at LodgIQ overlooking all aspects and operations within the region as well as the commercial part of LodgIQ. Fabian’s career covers all sides within hospitality including property, regional and corporate level roles as well as consulting and technology vendor roles across 4 continents and 25 countries.
Matt BeardChief Executive Officer, Tripfuser
Matt has over 10 years experience in the travel industry. Initially as the COO of the world’s largest small group adventure travel company operating across multiple markets, distribution channels and destinations. Matt is the Founder is Tripfuser. He and the team at Tripfuser are developing a marketplace to allow Travellers to access and tailor private custom travel experiences all over the world.
Rod BishopCEO, Jayride
Rod is the co-founder and managing director of Jayride.com (ASX:JAY), the e-commerce marketplace for travellers to compare and book ground transport to and from airports around the world.
Rod has deep experience in transport technology with a career spanning multiple transport initiatives across startups, private sector and NGO sectors, both domestically and overseas.
Passionate and outspoken on transport issues, Rod is a huge believer that seamless mobility services are set to transform the world we live in, reinventing how and when we travel, and will do so with information technology, data and AI at the core.
At Jayride.com, Rod has taken the company from two co-founders to over 100 employees, and now serves hundreds of thousands of travellers around the world every year from Jayride’s head office in Sydney, Australia
Mike BoydManaging Director & Group CEO, Vroomvroomvroom
Mike Boyd is the Managing Director & Group CEO of global car rental comparison website VroomVroomVroom.com.au which leads the market in the Asia Pacific region.
Mike is an innovator and entrepreneur and loves to solve challenging problems with technology. From startup, to growth-stage and scaling up, he's particularly interested in building sustainable and profitable businesses over the long term. Mike stays creative by building, consulting to and investing in various businesses and loves nothing more than negotiating a great win-win deal.
Mike joined VroomVroomVroom in 2011 and took on the CEO role shortly thereafter. Prior to Vroom he built ecommerce and SaaS startups in various industries.
Matthew CarneyHead of Commercial - Parking and Ground Transport , Melbourne Airport
Matt is no stranger to the transformation of ground transportation or the growing expectations of travellers. He has over 10 years' experience in the aviation industry, with the last 5 years at Melbourne Airport where he is currently Head of Commercial for the airports Parking and Ground Access business. He is responsible for the business unit strategy, customer experience, revenue and distribution management, as well as sales and marketing.
Mark ChattertonCo-Founder , Ingenious AI
Mark is experienced in using technology to successfully drive change through large organisations using agile, innovative approaches. After years in the corporate world observing large enterprises sacrifice positive interactions with their customers by reducing customer service costs, he decided there should be a better solution. Now, driving the use of conversational interfaces that leverage A.I. and Machine Learning, Mark is enabling organisations to interact with their customers with an enjoyable one-to-one experience that can be scaled cost-effectively.
Mark co-founded inGenious AI to create a customer experience based on conversational language, as it’s the most natural interface for humans to use and understand. inGenious AI chatbots enable simple, familiar interactions via voice or text that people enjoy connecting with, and will change the way great customer service is perceived.
Richard CrawfordSenior Director of Hotel Development, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International Australia
Richard Crawford is Marriott International’s Senior Director of Hotel Development for the Australia Pacific region. A New York Stock Exchange listed company, Marriott is the world’s largest hotel company, operating 6,500 hotels under 30global brands.
Richard Crawford co-founded Hobart's internationally acclaimed Henry Jones Art Hotel, which under his ownership was Australia's most awarded hotel. Other former business interests include Thrifty Car Rental Tasmania and travel wholesaler, Tas Vacations.
Richard has served as a Board member of the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, The Skills Institute, Waterfront Business Community, Fahan School for girls, and Tennis Tasmania.
Following its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016, Marriott has a global team of more than 675,000 people, across 130 countries. The group’s leading brands include Marriott, Sheraton, Ritz Carlton, Westin, W, St Regis, Le Meridien, Aloft, Moxy, EDITION, and Bulgari.Illustrating Marriott’s rapid rate of global expansion, the company will open a new hotel - somewhere in the world - every 14 hours for the next three years.
Simon DoddGeneral Manager-Australia and New Zealand, American Airlines
Simon was appointed General Manager Australia & New Zealand Sales in August 2015 to support the commecial start-up of American Airlines in the Australia and New Zealand market.
He is based in the Sydney office and is responsible for American Airlines commercial activities in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to this role, he was responsible for American's offline commercial activities as Manager Australia and New Zealand Sales.
Prior to joining American Airlines he held the position of Head of Sales and Marketing for Qantas Business Travel and has experience in a range of commercial roles with Qantas and the Publicis Groupe in both Sydney and Canberra.
Simon is a Governor of the American Chamber of Commerce (NSW) and is on the advisory board of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in Australia/New Zealand. Simon holds an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (University of New South Wales) and a Bachelor of Tourism Management from the Univeristy of Technology, Sydney.
Monty DoshiDirector of Technology and Architecture, Travelport
Monty Doshi is responsible for Travelport’s enterprise architecture, governance and technology strategy in Asia Pacific. He also heads technology consulting for key Travelport customers in the region. Monty and the global Architecture team leads Innovation at Travelport, working closely with major global technology partners.
Monty has been with Travelport for 7 years and comes from a strong consulting background, previously working for PWC Consulting Australia. He holds a Masters in IT Management from University of Sydney and a Bachelors in Computer Science from Monash University, Melbourne. He is also an TOGAF Certified Enterprise Architect, Amazon Certified Solution Architect, Microsoft Certified Architect and a member of the Australasian Enterprise Architects Group.
Jennifer FeinFounder and Digital Nomad, You live to travel
Starting with a successful career in NYC leading the technical operations for the largest global email platform at the time, Jennifer then relocated to Melbourne to launch digital marketing products across APAC. Now, as the co-founder of YouLive to Travel, she delivers solutions to transform the travel industry. Their signature product makes it easier to lead transformational group travel experiences. She is also the co-Author of "Ready to Launch?: Becoming an Entrepreneur in Australia" which captures her insights from the journey so far.
Daniel FinchManaging Director, Wotif Group
Daniel Finch has held the position of Wotif Group Managing Director in Australia and New Zealand since early 2015 and has been a leader within the wider Wotif Group business since 2010.
Prior to his current role, he was a member of the Wotif Group Executive Team, and led Wotif Group’s business in Asia, managing the Asia Web Direct and LateStays.com businesses and brands, along with the Group’s network of travel content and destination sites including Bangkok.com and Phuket.com.
Daniel has lived and breathed the travel industry for more than 17 years’ with experience across Australia, London, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpar working mostly in the hotel industry, with his past roles including in-house sales and revenue director positions with leading global hotel chains.
Before returning to Australia in early 2015, Daniel was based in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Now he and his family are back on home ground, he is passionate about encouraging Aussies to travel and experience their own backyard.
Paul FischmannOwner, 8Hotels
Paul Fischmann is the Founder, CEO & Owner of 8Hotels. Founded in 2003 by leasing a 14 room hotel in Sydney's Darlinghurst, 8Hotels has grown into a market- leading boutique hotel management company. Since these humble beginnings 8Hotels has developed or repositioned and managed 25 hotels with over 1500 rooms located throughout Australia and abroad.
8Hotels has developed a fully integrated operating platform including architecture & design, hotel finance, human resources & training , distribution & revenue management, information technology and food & beverage services. Currently, new hotels are being developed in Surry Hills Sydney.
Sebastien GiberguesVice President, Online Travel Asia Pacific, Amadeus
Sebastien drives the Amadeus commercial strategy for the online segment in Asia Pacific, his main objective is to build and grow our partnership with all online travel players in the region. He also has global responsibility to develop our Travel Media business around the world. During his career at Amadeus, Sebastien helped senior industry leaders develop new business models that capitalize on the evolution of travel industry trends. For the past 6 years, he has been focusing on the online travel segment, delivering a unique value proposition supporting Amadeus growth with our global online accounts around the world.
Prior to his move to the commercial organization, Sebastien managed large projects for key multi- national customers across Europe, US, Asia and Latin America; including business initiatives to optimize travel distribution, as well as numerous complex IT systems implementations and operational change management programs.
Omri GodijnMarketing & Commercial Industry Director, Travel, NewsCorp Australia
Omri is the Industry Specialist for Travel and Tourism at NewsCorp, ensuring their products and partnerships are evolving to meet changing industry needs. He works closely with teams and senior marketers from across top travel and tourism brands, helping them to realise their business goals and to drive greater mutual value from their partnership with News.
Fundamental to the role is a deep understanding of the travel industry, travel marketing and the consumer.
David GravilleIndustry Manager, Google
David is the Travel Industry Manager at Google Australia. His focus is to help the largest travel companies stay abreast of changing consumer behaviour and develop digital strategies to achieve business, marketing and comms objectives.
David started his working career in the UK and moved to Sydney 14 years ago, where he held multiple marketing and sales roles at Vodafone and Foxtel prior to joining Google in 2014.
Melissa GruseSenior Marketing Manager, Hamilton Island
With over 17 years of marketing experience spanning across the travel, leisure and entertainment industries, in both London and Sydney, Melissa Gruse has been responsible for some of Australia’s most innovative and well-known tourism marketing campaigns.
As senior marketing manager for Hamilton Island, Melissa’s brought to life notable marketing activity, including the development of the ‘World’s first virtual holiday’ in partnership with Qantas and a global celebrity activation with Taylor Swift, which was recognised at the Australian Marketing Institute Awards. Driven by a passion for creating relevant and meaningful consumer experiences, Melissa’s fascination with understanding the emotional needs behind a consumer’s behaviour, is central to her approach.
Prior to Hamilton Island, Melissa worked with companies such as Virgin Holidays UK, Event Cinemas, Thredbo Ski Resort and Novotel. She has recently completed her MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
James HewletHead of Marketing, Collette
With extensive experience in the tour and cruise sectors in both Europe and Australia, James has seen and led the evolution in travel marketing strategies for prestigious organisations over the past two decades. He is passionate about travel, the realisation of dreams it brings to guests and positive impacts on communities.
He will look at and give insights into changing strategies in this era of disruption and assess the needs of leisure travel customers tomorrow.
Rhett HoltFuturist, Allotz
Allotz is an Australian company with a global presence in The Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The company was founded to address the growing complications associated with digital and online distribution in the hospitality industry. As the resident futurist, Rhett is designing and delivering the sales strategy to enable Allotz to disrupt the hotel management technology industry.
Melissa JonesManager Aviation Product & Delivery, Sydney Airport
Melissa joined Sydney Airport in September 2017 in a new role of Manager Aviation Product & Delivery, leveraging her 23 years of experience coming from major premium airlines. This role has a particular emphasis on passenger facilitation and innovating the customer journey, with current key focus area being biometrics.
Stewart JonesRegional Director - Strategic Partnerships APAC, Booking.com
Stewart is the Regional Director, Strategic Partnerships (APAC) for Booking.com. He is responsible for Booking.com's strategic partnerships in APAC across accommodations, ground transportation and corporate travel.
Prior to this, he was APAC director for RentalCars.com, a Booking.com sister company and the world’s largest online car rental reservation agency. He has also held a variety of roles in start-up advisory as well as business development and consulting.
Melissa LibrandiGeneral Manager, Marketing & Communications, Discovery Holiday Parks
Melissa Librandi is an internationally recognised marketing leader, known for her work in the Travel and Tourism Industry. In 2016 she was awarded the Australian Marketing Institute Award for Marketing Excellence in Tourism. In 2014 she was a key member of the team that won Best Tourism Film in the World - Barossa, Be Consumed. Melissa is known for her ability to create exceptional external and internal partnerships, through her commercial acumen and respect for stakeholder contributions. Her relentless focus on customer experience, ongoing learning and use of behavioural, data driven, digital marketing underpins her success and she believes in championing new insight tools to become part of organisational culture. Grounded in classic marketing foundations, Melissa’s ability to shift across the spectrum of marketing enables her to lead and inspire teams while solving complex problems - always focusing on ROI. Currently General Manager of Marketing and Communications for Discovery Holiday Parks where she’s on a mission to reignite passion for the true Australian holiday.
Sam McDonaghCountry Manager ANZ, Airbnb
Sam McDonagh is Airbnb's Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand. He has over 25 years experience in senior management roles across Australia, the United States and Asia, at companies including eBay (10 years, from start-up management team in Australia, Finance Director and New Ventures Category Manager in the US to Director of Southeast Asia) and iiNet as CMO. Prior to Airbnb, Sam was General Manager and advisor to US-based Dollar Shave Club's Australian business.
Wayne NagleHead of Travel ANZ & S.E Asia, GROUPON
Wayne Nagle is the Head of Travel for Groupon ANZ & S.E Asia based in Sydney.
Wayne is a charismatic e-commerce leader specialising in online travel. Under Wayne’s leadership, Groupon Travel has enjoyed five consecutive years of growth, successfully transitioning from a daily deals business to a global marketplace.
Bruce PiperPublisher and Editor-In-Chief, Travel Daily
From travelling the world to meeting the people of the travel industry to breaking a juicy story, there's never a dull moment in Bruce’s job. He’s proud of his more than 20 years as an electrical engineer but thinks the travel industry is a lot more fun.When he’s not writing, moderating an industry panel or judging awards Bruce loves fiddling with computers, driving fast cars and appreciating a fine glass of red wine.
Mark RizzutoCEO, Livn
Mark has seen travel from every angle, holding senior roles across the Airline, Retail, Corporate, Wholesale, Destination Marketing, Online, GDS and technology verticals, including GM Distribution & E-Commerce at Virgin Australia, Head of Retail Distribution Strategy & Partnerships at Helloworld and Managing Director Asia Pacific for Travelport.
Now the CEO at Livn, he is helping to shape the tours and activities sector while maintaining transparency, integrity and a healthy sense of humour. His love of travel, food and new frontiers, (all forms), keep him and those around him, highly entertained and engaged.
Adam SchwabCo-Founder and CEO, Luxury Escapes
Adam Schwab is the Co-Founder and CEO of Luxury Escapes, one of Australia’s largest home grown pure play ecommerce business with more than 180 employees, operations in four continents and turnover of more than $300 million. From a standing start less than five years ago, more than half a million people take a Luxury Escape each year, while Luxury Escapes has one of the highest net promoter scores globally in any sector (NPS 75).
Luxury Escapes was named #1 on the AFR Fast 100 Company list in 2013 and again in 2017 and #1 in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 while Adam was the Young CEO of the Year in 2015 and was nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 (Southern Region).
Michael SewardsCo-CEO and Director , AATS Group of Companies - SkyBus
From 1994 until 2014, Michael Sewards was a Director and principal of the Heritage Group of Companies. This included Heritage Finance, Heritage Corporate and Heritage Bus Rentals. The small boutique advisory business grew into the largest advisory firm in Australia, providing a range of corporate advisory services including finance procurement, debt structuring, equity placement and M&A skills to the wider participants in the Australian Bus industry.
Notable achievements during this term included over $1.5b in Debt Placement, successful buy side work on the purchase of the Grenda group in Victoria, and over $1b in Sell side engagements.
The range of advice also included advising operators on commercial negotiations with Governments, financial and tender modelling and off balance sheet solutions for two multi national operators.
Michael and his fellow CEO at SkyBus, Adam Begg also successfully assisted the successful tenderers in both Melbourne and Sydney Metro Bus contracts.
In late 2014 Michael and Adam successfully structured a consortium acquisition - led by the Canadian Pension Fund, OPT - of the SkyBus business, a family owned business based out of Melbourne which began operations in 1978. Following this, they have taken on the role of co-CEOs delivering upon a strategic plan of airport transit service growth.
At the time of the acquisition, SkyBus operated a single express bus service between Melbourne Tullarmarine and Melbourne CBD, with 200 employees. Since then, SkyBus has now grown to operate at five airports across Australia and NZ, and provides fifteen (15) dedicated Airport transit services, as delivered by 525 staff. SkyBus also provide the B2B services for our partners at Melbourne Airport (carparking bus) and Auckland Airport (airside)
Four (4) of those services have been introduced since July 1 alone. Along the journey, SkyBus have obtained the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, Victorian Gold Tourism Awards 2016/2017, and Melbourne and Auckland Airports Service Provider of the Year awards, and are consistently recognised for their dedication to customer experience, innovation and stakeholder alignment.
Outside the hectic world of SkyBus, Michael is a father of two children, a dedicated recreational cyclist and passionate follower of Liverpool FC!
Kaylene ShuttlewoodRegional Managing Director , Travel Counsellors Australia
Kaylene hales from Brisbane, QLD where she started her career as a ticketer straight out of Travel college. She now has over 28 years experience in senior executive roles, across multiple markets having lived & worked in USA and UK.
Kaylene is a seasoned travel industry leader with a successful and proven track record in reallymaking a difference to the organizations she leads. This has ensured a wide range of roles across various channels and segments in the travel industry – including consolidation, airline contracting, product, airline representation (GSA), vertically integrated retailer, GDS technology and online.
Always attracted by a challenge, Kaylene has run transformation projects with significant success in turning around loss making businesses. Working across privately owned, publicly listed (ASX and NYSE) and Private equity operating environments.
A key to her success is building amazingly talented teams, with a high performance mindset. Putting the customer first and having a culture that ensures the team are operating as one in a collaborative & empowered environment. Kaylene’s market knowledge and insight, international commercial experience and understanding of technology and other trends on a global level delivers enormous benefits to the business.
Until early 2018, for the preceding 3 ½ years Kaylene was Managing Director for Travelport in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Leading a team of 150 people, across 5 locations in Australia & NZ. She sat on the APAC leadership team.
Seeking a new challenge and a strong desire to truly grow a business, she took the brave decision to resign from a large global technology business listed on the New York stock exchange. She has backed herself to give it a go in an exciting new entrepreneurial role.
Kaylene has recently been appointed Regional Managing Director for Travel Counsellors, a UK head quartered company who recently secured Private equity investment from Vitruvian Partners. Whose previous investments in a PE world include skyscanner. As part of the global leadership team, Kaylene will spearhead the company’s ambitious growth plans in Australia and the Region beyond. A key reason for her joining them was their Company culture and its technology enabled, high tech & high touch relationship based business model.
2018 Voted Nos 10 most influential women in the travel industry (Travel Weekly AU)
Committee member of the Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME)
Kaylene is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD)
Jared SimcoxGeneral Manager- Australia, Scoot
Jared Simcox – Scoot’s General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, has had a career in travel and aviation ranging from a baggage handler at Auckland Airport, driving the LAV truck, through to charter logistics, airside operations, sales and e-commerce, eventually joining Scoot in January 2017.
A passionate adventure seeker, Jared considers contributing to a team whose purpose at Scoot is to help their passengers escape the ordinary and discover the world a privilege every day. Proof that despite the airline industry being perceived as a little bit dry, it can be an exciting, fast paced and ever evolving community of businesspeople, story tellers and innovators – especially in todays’ challenging aviation market.
Fuchsia SimsCo-Founder, Adventure Junky
By age ten, Fuchsia had already visited 30 countries and knew how to say ‘I’m a vegetarian’ in 12 languages.
After school she ran away to the jungles of Costa Rica, spending 18 months living in harmony with sloths and toucans, where she worked as a river guide, helping troubled youth rewild and rebuild their self-esteem. Here she discovered the true power of adventure – to help us grow and develop as individuals.
Fuchsia has degrees in International Marketing and the Experience Economy. Having spent the last decade juggling marketing and mountains, Fuchsia finally found her calling as co-founder of the Adventure Junky App – Earth’s Sustainable Travel Game. With literally billions of travellers circling the planet every year, Fuchsia is on a mission to influence the future of travel. Using her business as a force for good - to inspire us to protect the people and places we love to visit.
Atle SkallebergChief Digital Officer, Flight Centre Travel Group
Atle Skalleberg was appointed Chief Digital Office (CDO) for Flight Centre Travel Group in July 2016, shortly after Flight Centre Travel Group's acquisition of Studen Universe in December 2015, where he was the CEO.
In this capacity, Atle plays a central role in setting the strategy and improving the group's digital commerce capabilities - including its online presence, user experiences and booking services - to help Flight Centre become the global leader in blending offline and online travel services.
Prior to his time in travel Atle was part of an MIT technology startup and spent some time in management consulting. Atle grew up in
Norway, but lived in Boston with his wife and son until recently - he has now relocated to Brisbane.
Jennifer VandekreekeVice President – Australia, Carnival Cruise Line
Jennifer Vandekreeke is Vice President Australia and New Zealand for Carnival Cruise Line - the world's largest cruise line. She spearheaded the launch of the company's first international business unit in Sydney in 2011 shortly before the arrival of Carnival Spirit in 2012 and her sister ship Carnival Legend in 2014. Today, over 800k Australians have enjoyed the free-spirited, family friendly fun of a Carnival Cruise.
Prior to launching Carnival in Australia, Jennifer lived and worked in some of the world’s most inviting destinations including Italy, France, Colombia, Mexico and Miami, Florida, with past roles including Marketing Director at Club Med North America.
Jayson WestburyCEO, AFTA
Jayson Westbury has a long career in the Hotel, Hospitality, Travel and Tourism industry. He has held senior roles in all industry settings and now applies his efforts and mind as the representative of the travel industry both in Australia and around the globe as the Chief Executive of AFTA. He is the former Chairman of the World Travel Agency Association Alliance (WTAAA), current co-Chair of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA), a China base voice of the NGO's in tourism and a member of several federal government advisory committees. He strongly believes that all indirect travel distribution channels have a future and working together will ensure success for all.