Vice President, Paytm, Travel
Abhishek Rajan heads Paytm’s Travel vertical. Abhishek has been instrumental in setting up and scaling Paytm’s travel business that includes categories like Flights, Trains and Bus ticketing. He leads a 150 strong team out of Paytm’s Bengaluru office, driving innovation in this strategic and fast-growing business vertical.
Founder & CEO, Bespoke Inc.
Akemi Tsunagawa is the founder & CEO of one of the fastest growing chatbot startups in the travel industry, Bespoke Inc (https://www.bebot.io/). Akemi founded Bespoke in 2015 to create a new digital experience for travellers. Its AI concierge, Bebot, is Japan's first and most used multilingual chatbot that acts as a hotel concierge to enhance guest experiences. Bebot is currently servicing wide range of clients from historic hotels to international hotel chains such as Holiday Inn.
Prior to Bespoke, Akemi worked in institutional product development roles at Fidelity International, management consulting at Deloitte, and investment banking at Macquarie Capital.
Akira Fukabori (left)
All Nippon Airways | Market Communication, Intrapreneur
Kevin Kajitani (right)
ANA Holdings | Digital Design Lab, Intrapreneur
Akira Fukabori and Kevin Kajitani have teamed up to launch multiple initiatives within ANA. Working beyond organisational boundaries, these two have teamed up to launch ANA’s cause-related Blue Wing program and the airline’s crowdfunding platform “WonderFLY.” They are also the prize developers behind the ANA AVATAR XPRIZE concept which won top honors at XPRIZE Visioneers 2016. Both are passionate about creating business models that positively impact humanity and have the potential to reach all 7.5 billion people on earth.
Kevin and Akira both studied Aeronautics and Astronautics. Their journey as intrapreneurship partners began when their careers crossed paths in 2010.
Strategic Partnership Manager, GetYourGuide
Alex Shen is responsible for the strategic partnerships at GetYourGuide. As the leading booking platform for travel activities, GetYourGuide powers access to more than 30,000 attractions, tours and activities in upwards of 2,500 destinations. From skip-the-line tickets to the Eiffel Tower to shark diving in Cape Town, GetYourGuide offers things to do both on its own site and in partnership with premier travel brands including easyJet, Emirates, AccorHotels, KAYAK and more.
Prior to GetYourGuide, Alex has worked in a variety of China related roles in travel industry including co-founding zhuyouyou.com, an online tour activities booking platform for Chinese tourist to Europe. Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Imperial College London.
CEO & Co-Founder, ixigo
Aloke Bajpai is the CEO & Co-Founder of ixigo, India's leading travel search app. Aloke's consumer-centric thinking, passion for technology products and deep knowledge of the travel industry make ixigo stand out as one of the most innovative companies of the online travel industry.
An IIT Kanpur Electrical Engineering alumnus and an MBA graduate from INSEAD, Aloke loves discovering new cultures, creative writing, history and gadgets. Prior to launching ixigo, Aloke worked in product & technology roles at Amadeus, Nice, France, where he was part of the team that built the world’s first web-based cruise-line booking engine for agencies.
Along with being a TiE charter member he is also an investor and advisor in several startups, incubators and accelerators.
Editor in chief, Travel Weekly U.S.; Senior VP/Editorial Director, Northstar Travel Group
Arnie Weissmann is editor in chief of Travel Weekly in the U.S. and serves as senior vice president/editorial director for its parent company, Northstar Travel Group.
Weissmann’s involvement in travel media began with Weissmann Travel Reports, comprising unbiased profiles of every country in the world (now part of Travel42.) He authored a geography textbook and served as publisher of critical hotel and destination guides in the U.S. and U.K. He also created the first core destination content for America Online.
Weissmann is seen on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “The Travel Detective,” and his commentary has been appeared on BBC, Sky News, CNN, CBS, NBC and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
COO, Central Japan DMO
A Londoner by birth, Ashley first moved to Japan in 1997. He lived in Fukuoka for 3 years before moving to Singapore & Hong Kong. After 7 years in Asia, he returned to London. But Japan was calling him, and in 2012, he returned to Japan. He moved to Tokyo as Country Manager of VisitBritain. In May 2017, he became the COO of the newly establish Central Japan DMO.
His career has been in and around tourism since 2000. In 2005, he graduated from the University of Leicester with a MBA.
Manager, Travel Investment, Recruit
Based in Tokyo, Aya is a leader of the travel investment team for Recruit. She has 7 years of business development experience in the travel industry.
With Recruit, she has worked for their domestic services under “Jalan.net”, their outbound services, their OTAs- “ Mytour" ”Travel Book"in SEA, and their global investment team covering Europe, the USA and APAC.
Aya started her career with Recruit in 2004. She graduated from The University of Tokyo in 2002 and The University of Tokyo Graduate Schools for Law and Politics in 2004, qualified as a master of International Politics.
Founding Partner & CEO, Xpdite Ventures
Bart is the Founding Partner and CEO of Xpdite Ventures, a venture studio that invests in the passion of entrepreneurs, the synergies of a platform and the global network of experts.
Before, Bart held several executive positions for Amadeus IT Group and as the architect behind Amadeus NEXT, the leading travel tech community in APAC, he built up a solid network with strong relations in the global startup ecosystems. In a previous life, he successfully led commercial and e-business projects at the leading edge of technology and founded a startup that transformed the way companies moved online.
Pragmatic and result oriented, with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Bart is an early adopter of the Lean Startup and committed to expedite startups to the next level.
COO & Co-founder, BeMyGuest
Blanca Menchaca is the co-founder and chief operating officer of one of the fastest growing travel start-ups in Asia, BeMyGuest.
In her role as COO, Blanca is responsible for managing a highly multicultural Asian operation with teams spread out across Singapore, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and currently expanding to India.
Prior to BeMyGuest, Blanca was the Global Head of Online Marketing at Wego.com, another successful Asian travel start-up at the time. She helped the company build teams across Singapore, Indonesia, India and Middle East.
Blanca was born in Mexico but has gained most of her travel and e-commerce experience abroad, with 6 years in Australia and 7 years in Asia so far.
Chief Technology Officer, CarTrawler
Bobby is an experienced inventor, investor and technology entrepreneur specialising in travel technology. He began his career as a programmer building video games for Nintendo at 16 years of age with multiple billboard top 100 titles under his belt. After selling his travel technology business – Eland Technologies – to industry giant SITA (www.sita.aero) , Bobby joined CarTrawler as CTO in 2005 through a management buy-in and led the strategy and product development since its formation.
Founder & CEO, TripTease
Charlie started his first business, FreshMinds, after studying at Oxford University. Whilst building this business, he was named UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Esquire and profiled in Seth Godin’s bestselling book Icarus Deception. Charlie launched Triptease in 2013 to help hotels deliver a better digital experience and increase direct bookings. Triptease pioneered the direct booking movement and quickly gained notoriety for its first product – Price Check. In 2015, the firm was awarded Innovation of the Year at PhocusWright Europe, and Charlie was named in HSMAI’s list of 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales & Marketing. Charlie is a keen sailor and runner, finishing second in the Death Valley marathon.
Research Analyst, Asia Pacific, Phocuswright
Mr. Kapoor joined the PhoCusWright research team in February 2010 to fulfill his desire to track online travel trends firsthand. Prior to joining PhoCusWright, Chetan reported on various aspects of the industry for nearly three years, including attending a number of local and international trade shows, conferences and interviewing key people of the trade, and was a journalist for Express TravelWorld, a leading Indian travel trade publication. A Bachelor of Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai (Bombay), Chetan enjoys jogging and has participated in the Mumbai Half Marathon since 2008. His other interests include meeting new people, discovering new cultures and cuisines, photography, reading up on social media and new technologies, treks and, of course, traveling.
Choe Peng Sum
Chief Executive Officer, Frasers Hospitality Group
Choe Peng Sum has overall charge of the business performance and global expansion of a chain of serviced residences, hotel residences and boutique hotels worldwide. Choe stewarded the company from its inception in 1996 with two properties and 400 keys in Singapore, to currently owning and managing 148 properties across more than 80 cities globally with a total of over 23,600 keys. Today, Frasers Hospitality Group Pte Ltd is regarded as the top three global extended stay hospitality operators.
Choe graduated from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) with a Bachelor of Science with Distinction. He started his career with Westin and subsequently Shangri-La International in 1981, where he was awarded the Shangri-La overseas scholarship.
Co-Founder, BananaMana Films
Christian Lee is co-founder of BananaMana Films, an award-winning production company that specialises in creating aspirational Asian dramas in English for film, TV and web. BananaMana Films’ recent feature film, JIMAMI TOFU, that Christian co-wrote, co-directed and co-executive produced is a romantic feature set in Okinawa, Japan that tells a love story between a Singaporean Chinese chef, and a Japanese food critic woven around 100 year old Okinawa Ryukyu Dynastic cuisine. The film was financed through support by the Okinawa Convention Visitors Bureau, and has also been officially selected to the 37th Hawaii International Film Festival in the Eat.Drink.Film section. BananaMana Films’ most prominent drama, Perfect Girl, won 7 international awards and 17 nominations and is distributed globally by Netflix.
Vice President – Group Marketing, Century City Holdings
Prior to joining Century City Holdings, Colman was a serial entrepreneur in PRC specialising in media, entertainment and travel industries. His battlefield proven methodology in sales and marketing spanning different geographic region and industries helped companies he founded expand rapidly and became top three players in their different fields, achieving over RMB180 million revenue per annum, and industry record breaking profit. Colman is overseeing marketing functions of the group, with five listed companies including one of the largest domestic hotel group in Hong Kong, Regal Hotel International. He is married with one kid and just moved back to Hong Kong last year after residing in Beijing for 16 years.
Senior Vice President, Commercial, ONYX Hospitality Group
Debrah oversees all of the Group’s commercial business units including sales, marketing, e-commerce, CRM and loyalty, communications, brand, revenue management and customer information systems. She has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, business development and hotel openings with a proven track record in achieving results through innovative marketing and management techniques. Prior to joining ONYX Hospitality Group in 2012, Debrah held a variety of senior sales and marketing roles at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts over a period of 10 years, with assignments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji, Oman, Thailand and Singapore. She was also the opening Director of Sales & Marketing at Palazzo Versace in Queensland, Australia.
Chairman & Group CEO, MakeMyTrip
As Group CEO, Deep focuses on Strategy, M&A and international businesses. Deep has been President of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Delhi Board since 2013. He served on the NASSCOM Executive Council from 2010-2013 and is an active Angel Investor. Deep is a founding member of “I am Gurgaon” and is closely involved with Udayan Care. Deep has won several awards such as E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year - Business Transformation (2011 and Most Powerful Digital influencer in India- KPMG India.
Prior to MakeMyTrip, Deep worked with GE Capital, AMF Bowling Inc. and ABN AMRO Bank. Deep holds an MBA (PGDM) degree from IIM, Ahmedabad and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
CEO, Travel Weekly Group Ltd, UK
Duncan has extensive experience in general management/online business development in the UK and across Europe, and wide experience within online travel and internet start-ups. Duncan has detailed knowledge of high volume e-commerce and search engine marketing across all global channels, and has a gift for digital transformation and innovation.
Duncan was appointed chief executive of Travel Weekly Group in 2011, and led a process of transformation, taking Travel Weekly from a traditional B2B magazine business and turning it into a forward-looking multimedia business, encompassing the market leading brands of Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly Business, Aspire, Travelanswerz, TravelGBI and Travolution. In 2012, the business completed the acquisition of The Caterer, the UK’s leading B2B media brand for hospitality.
Head of Digital Marketing, Asia Pacific, ACCORHOTELS
Emilie has been engaged in the ACCORHOTELS adventure for the past 16 years with different roles in the Sales & Distribution, Guest Experience and more recently as the head of Digital Marketing for Asia Pacific. Her passion for travel has led her from Paris to Asia where she settled 12 years ago. Bangkokian at heart, she now calls Singapore home.
Emilie graduated from ESSEC business school in France. She is a passionate traveller and a fan of the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.
Faisal founded BorderPass, an opt-in service that expedites travellers through airports using cloud passports and automated gates. He previously worked in the fund management industry in Malaysia, Singapore and the UK. Faisal studied law at Cambridge University and Columbia University, on a Fulbright scholarship".
Head, MICE & Groups, Expedia Group
Felix is responsible for launching Expedia’s technology-led MICE solution, the first tool that automates the booking process for meeting organisers and hotels. Listening to feedback from hotel partners to address this need, Felix and his team have developed, tested and successfully launched a first-of-its kind solution to automate both the meeting room and associated group lodging bookings process. In his role, Felix leads the development of both the company’s marketplace and white label development, including overseeing the technical developments and developing marketing plans to roll the solution out globally.
Vice President, Product Management, Skyscanner
Filip leads a range of teams focusing on the supplier side of the marketplace. Filip also heads up Skyscanner’s Sofia office, an engineering hub, with a team of 30. Filip joined Skyscanner in 2013 as a strategist in the Edinburgh office. Previously, Filip held a variety of senior management positions at Travel Capitalist Ventures and Everbread Limited.
Frederick ‘Fritz’ Demopoulos
CEO, Queen’s Road Capital
Fritz currently coordinates his personal investment and entrepreneurial activities through Queen’s Road Capital. In 2005 Frederick “Fritz” Demopoulos co-founded and was the CEO of Qunar. Qunar was acquired by Baidu in 2011. Fritz also co-founded and was the CEO of Shawei. Shawei was acquired by Tom.com in 2000.
A native of Los Angeles, Fritz was educated at UCLA, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Karls-Ruprecht University in Heidelberg. He has lectured on entrepreneurship and the Chinese Internet at Stanford, Harvard, UCLA, Tsinghua, Beijing University, Singapore Management University and the Communist Party College in Nanjing.
Hichame Assi is CEO of HotelsCombined, the world’s leading hotel comparison platform. He joined the HotelsCombined team in 2010, bringing over 15 years of experience in ecommerce and online travel across Europe, the Middle East and APAC to the Sydney-based start-up. Now a multinational with a lean team of 130 high-performers, Hichame has led HotelsCombined through its journey from start-up to scale-up and continues to lead the company’s growth and global expansion.
Hichame has an MSc in Ecommerce from the University of London, and in his spare time (?) can invariably be found reading about the fields of Open & Social Innovation, mentoring entrepreneurs in MENA and negotiating with his 6 year old son.
Vice President, Transport Partner Services, Expedia group
James Marshall serves as Vice President, Transport Partner Services for the Expedia group, which operates more than 200 travel booking sites in more than 75 countries.
James leads airline partner relationships throughout the Asia Pacific region and supports the marketing and distribution of flights and holiday packages globally on a wide portfolio of Expedia’s online travel brands, which include Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Travelocity, Orbitz, ebookers, Wotif and Egencia. He also leads the Expedia group’s global connectivity team, with responsibility for Expedia’s global distribution system (GDS) relationships along with other connectivity partners.
James joined Expedia in 2010 after ten years in a variety of roles with Amadeus, where he served most recently as regional director of airline distribution sales in Asia Pacific.
James holds an MBA from INSEAD. He also graduated from ESCP Europe where he earned a master’s degree in international management. James maintains triple citizenship from Spain, France and the UK and has lived in Asia for over 25 years. He currently resides in Singapore with his wife and two daughters.
Founder, Backstreet Academy
Jamon is the founder of Backstreet Academy, a peer-to-peer impact travel platform tailored for developing countries, where people at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) who cannot speak English or access smartphones are empowered to become micro-entrepreneurs hosting tourists, showcasing their tradition and heritage while making 2-3 times additional income to move themselves out of poverty. They are able to do so via its technology of using local language call/SMS notifications coupled with a hyperlocal on-demand community translator system, allowing them to handle bookings with just a feature phone. This access results in exclusive experiences such as insect cooking workshops, fishing with Mekong fishermen and even bamboo bow crafting with master archers.
Over 1,200 unique travel experiences are available on Backstreet Academy in more than 8 countries and 40 cities. Backstreet Academy has been featured on Forbes, National Geographic, BBC Travel and is funded by Booking.com's sustainable travel accelerator - The Booking Booster Program.
Jane Jie Sun
CEO, Director of Ctrip.com International, Ltd.
Jane Jie Sun serves as the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP) from November 2016. Prior to that, she was the Chief Operating Officer since May 2012 and Co-President since March 2015, and Chief Financial Officer from 2005 to 2012.
In 2017, She was named one of the most influential and outstanding business women by Forbes China and one of FastCompany’s Most Creative People in Business. During her tenure as the Chief Financial Officer of Ctrip, she won the Best CFO Award by Institutional Investor and Best CFO Award by CFO World.
Prior to joining Ctrip, Sun worked as the head of the SEC and External Reporting Division of Applied Materials, Inc. since 1997. Prior to that, she worked with KPMG LLP as an audit manager in Silicon Valley, California for five years. She is a member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and State of California Certified Public Accountant.
JeeShen (Jason) Lee
Founder, Softinn Solutions
Entrepreneur @ Softinn Solutions Sdn. Bhd. A hotel-tech company. A hustler both at work and at the basketball court.
Founder & COO, Tripping.com
Jeff Manheimer is the founder and COO of Tripping.com, the world’s top search engine for vacation rentals. Under his leadership, Tripping.com has become the market leader and currently offers over 12 million rental properties in 150,000 destinations worldwide. Jeff recently helped lead the company's Series C financing and has raised over $55 million from investors in Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe. Jeff started his travel career 15 years ago with Hyatt Hotels where he held roles both on property and in the corporate office. In addition to that, he has held management roles at Expedia and Travelzoo. Jeff graduated from Boston University, is an aviation enthusiast and loves Pho when traveling to Vietnam.
CEO, Venture Republic, Japan
Kei co-founded Venture Republic Inc. As CEO, he took the company public in 2008 after 7 years of operation. Over the last 13 years, Kei has built the various online vertical media including “Travel.jp,” “Hotel.jp,” and “coneco.net” (online comparison shopping engine). Kei also serves as an active investor and board member of various startups including Telunjuk (Indonesia) and Trip101 (Singapore). With his extensive knowledge of online travel, e-commerce and his strong entrepreneurship, Kei is responsible for driving the company by shaping its strategy, making commercialisation efforts and building organisation.
Previously, Kei worked at Mitsubishi Corporation for 11 years, playing a key role in company’s largest M&A deal to acquire the Lawson Inc., one of the largest convenience store chains in Japan. Kei received a BA of Law from Keio University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Vice President, E-commerce Strategy, i.JTB
Ken Joined i.JTB in 2016 as VP of e-commerce strategy. Prior to i.JTB, he worked in both corporate and B2B online travel agencies including HRS – a German-based global hotel solution provider to large enterprises – to develop the business as managing director & president of the Japan office, and Expedia as North Asia general manager. His online career started at eBay in 2008 to introduce and launch cross boarder trade. He's based in Tokyo with his family.
CEO, SkySea Cruise Line
Ken Muskat has served as Chief Executive Officer of SkySea Cruise Line since January and is responsible for the daily management of the company. Ken has had more than 20 years in the cruise industry and most recently served as Executive Vice President for MSC Cruises and Chairman of the CLIA Trade Relations Committee prior to relocating to Shanghai for his current role.
While at MSC Cruises, Ken was responsible for overseeing the North American teams responsible for generating sales on both the trade and consumer front, raising brand awareness through Marketing and PR efforts as well as ensuring positive consumer service experiences for all guests.
Ken also worked for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. for 18 years serving in a variety of roles including Director of Product Development & Marketing, Vice President of Sales, Vice President of Consumer Outreach and Vice President of Onboard Revenue.
Managing Director, G.M. Tour & Travel
Kit Sananwathananont strongly believes in creating value for Thailand’s travel industry. Whether it is for his subagent customers or his airline partners, Kit is steering the company to be a conducive platform for both entities and facilitate travel trade.
A second-generation business owner, Kit inherited G.M. from his father who grew the company from a 3-person office at Khao San road to one of the largest wholesale travel agencies in Thailand with a 70+ team today. Digitisation has been key to G.M.’s growth. Kit leveraged his experiences at University of Warwick and EDHEC Business School, along with local market know-how to create the right balance of tools for his customers.
Managing Partner, Monk's Hill Ventures
Kuo-Yi Lim is a Managing Partner at Monk's Hill Ventures, a tech venture fund investing in early stage startups in Southeast Asia. Most recently, he was the CEO of Infocomm Investments, a $200m venture fund based in Singapore investing in technology startups globally. At Infocomm Investments, Kuo-Yi led investments in Twilio (NYSE:TWLO), Dataxu, Reebonz, Quid, Gengo and other leading startups. Kuo-Yi has been a founder, early employee, mentor and angel investor of early-stage technology startups spanning the U.S. and Asia. He was a senior sales executive at Encentuate (acq. by IBM) and Reputation Technologies (acq. by Security Sources), and co-founder of SportsHook. Kuo-Yi graduated from MIT with B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering.
Co-Founder & CEO, MyCape, Inc.
An entrepreneur, innovator and visionary, Lyle is the Co-founder & CEO of MyCape, Inc. - a New York based technology company that allows regular travellers to book last-minute, space-available airline seats. Lyle has been in the industry since 2009 specialising in technology, project management, and revenue management. He has won several awards in his career, and he lives and breathes airline & travel technology. During his free time, he loves to eat ramen.
Assistant Chief Executive Marketing Group, Singapore Tourism Board
As Assistant Chief Executive (Marketing Group) of the Singapore Tourism Board, Lynette Pang is responsible for building the Singapore destination brand globally and helms the international marketing efforts, driving the consumer-centric and yield-driven approach to marketing.
Her role as ACE Marketing gives her responsibility for brand strategy and global campaigns, corporate and consumer communications, marketing partnerships, digital and content, industry marketing, agency management and marketing capability development.
Before joining STB, Lynette was General Manager at leading theatre company, Singapore Repertory Theatre and held marketing leadership positions at Yahoo! Asia and at film distributor, Warner Bros. Theatrical. She started her marketing career at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising where she worked on the Singapore Tourism Board account.
Director, Research, Phocuswright
Maggie joined Phocuswright in 2012 after a decade working in journalism and travel industry reporting. She leads a variety of syndicated reports, multi-client projects and custom research projects, including Phocuswright’s Online Travel Overview reports for the U.S. and Asia. She is a frequent speaker and moderator at industry events globally. Prior to joining Phocuswright, Maggie lived in China for five years, where she worked as a freelance journalist and contributed articles and other communication support to TravelDaily China, the country’s leading publication and conference for online travel. She speaks conversational Mandarin and frequently travels to Asia to keep tabs on the fast-growing region.
Before heading off to China to learn Chinese and live there as a journalist for several years, Maggie spent five years working in editorial roles for Incentive and Meeting News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism from Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.
Booking Cares Manager, Booking.com
Marianne Gybels joined Booking.com in March 2014 to lead the company’s corporate social responsibility programme, Booking Cares, as well as to nurture the company’s unique culture of diversity, inclusion and innovation. In this role, Marianne oversees all global efforts focused on creating social value through initiatives like the Booking Cares Volunteer Programme which sees employees partner with local NGOs on projects that help improve destinations worldwide.
In 2017, Marianne led development of the Booking.com Booster Programme, an accelerator programme created to identify, mentor and fund promising startups dedicated to sustainable tourism, which saw over 700 applications in its first year.
Prior to joining Booking.com, she worked for a startup on crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to realise the power of social enterprises.
Senior Vice President, Global Partner Group, Expedia, Inc.
She’s been with Expedia since 2011 and has risen through the ranks steadily to be the second in command, responsible for hotelier relationships across Expedia’s portfolio of brands. That means managing over 15 different travel brands and gross bookings worth over US$83 billion. This is a business that’s increasingly coming under pressure as more hotel chains strive to go direct. How is she managing these external as well as internal pressures, what industry trends is she watching and what plans does she have for the region, given Expedia’s focus in Asia?
During her tenure with Expedia, Maher has also been passionate about driving meaningful dialogue about women in leadership within the company and hospitality industry.
Co-founder & CTO, Tujia Inc.
Melissa Yang is an experienced CTO and Engineering Manager in travel, ecommerce and search.
Melissa is co-founder and CTO at Tujia Inc. Prior to this, she was the Principal Group Manager at Microsoft where she was responsible for the Bing product, Microsoft’s search engine, for Asian markets.
Before that, she was CTO and VP of Engineering at Escapia. She built its consumer business from scratch, within a year – a vacation rental site (clearstay.com) and an open platform to serve transactions with partners. Escapia was acquired by HomeAway in 2010.
At Expedia from 2001 to 2006, she became Director of Development, Supply Services Group, where she was responsible for the backend of all online businesses at Expedia.
Chief Executive Adviser, Cebu Pacific Air
Mike started his airline career as a pilot with British Airways in 1990. He moved into management within British Airways in 1996 and by the year 2000, at the age of 34, was appointed as Chief Pilot of their Gatwick operations. In 2001, Mike moved into the commercial side of British Airways as General Manager World Sales.
By late 2003 Mike had moved to EasyJet as Operations Director responsible for all maintenance, pilots, cabin crew, airport operations, safety and security. Latterly, in 2005 Mike became Chief Operating Officer.
In 2006 Mike took the helm of his first airline, as the CEO of then start-up LCC VivaAerobus in Mexico. Since 2009 Mike has taken on a breadth of CEO challenges: trying to rescue a massively distressed airline in Europe (Spanair), successfully starting another Latin American LCC (VivaColombia) and leading the efforts to establish a new LCC for Qatar Airways in Saudi Arabia (Al Maha). In February 2016, he took the helm at Cebu Pacific Air as Chief Executive Adviser.
General Manager, Air Black Box Asia Pacific
Mildred started in the mid-90s with the largest travel wholesaler in Singapore, then advanced her career with US Airways in the SE Asia office, where she helped the airline open new markets in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Greater China.
By early 2000, her planned move to Abacus International, a global airline distribution system, saw her portfolio grow to cover from regional marketing in SE and SW Asia to market development of China, a post which moved her to Shanghai. She joined Travel Innovation Partners, and subsequently Air Black Box Asia Pacific, cementing the next phase of her career with start-ups for travel technology companies. She sees disruptive technology as the next big thing.
She is an avid advocate for supporting causes in saving the environment. Her commitment to plant at least 5 greens a year is her little part in helping to reduce carbon emission.
Min Yoon is the CEO and founder of Tidesquare, one of South Korea’s leading OTAs. An online travel agency synonymous with premium travel, Tidesquare is partnered closely with one of the biggest credit card companies in South Korea. Passionate about nurturing potential in the online travel industry, Min is also the majority shareholder of several other successful travel related startups in Korea.
Prior to Tidesquare, Min Yoon worked for international brands such as Samsung, Korean Air and Hyundai Card. He specialises in hospitality services of operations and marketing, premium marketing, new business development and new media marketing.
Chief Marketing Officer, Next Story Group
Morris Sim is the Chief Marketing Officer for Next Story Group (NSG), which designs, manages, and markets hotels and urban spaces. In his role, he’s also responsible for Kafnu, a division of NSG that provides a new type of shared space integrating the best aspects of living, working, playing, learning, and recharging.
Prior to the acquisition of his company by NSG, Morris was the CEO and Co-Founder of Brand Karma, an award-winning new media agency.
Morris also had a 10-year career at Microsoft over 2 stints. In between these 2 stints, he served as the Chief Technology Officer for ralphlauren.com. Named one of the 10 most influential people in APAC online travel by Web In Travel, he also currently serves as an Executive Director for Montara Hospitality, owner of the award-winning resort, Trisara, in Phuket, Thailand.
Head of Global Distribution, BeMyGuest
Nabil is an E-Commerce and business development expert with strong analytical, math, data analysis with more than 11 years experience in managing sales teams, with his deep updated knowledge of the travel and tech industry he has gained international experience in dealing with B2B and B2C business models working across different companies mainly in the E-commerce & travel industry After working for big European & international companies like Orizonia Corporation, Barcelo Group, and Expedia he joined the fast growing startup BeMyGuest Asia's biggest travel aggregator for tours and activities as Head of Global Partnerships targeting the brand expansion worldwide partnering with OTAs, International chains, and airlines.
Vice President of Engineering for Travel and Shopping, Google
Oliver Heckmann is a vice president of engineering for Travel and Shopping, responsible for Google’s travel products including Google Flights, QPX, Google Destinations, Google Trips App, Hotel Search and Hotel Ads as well as Google's Shopping products. Before working on Travel, Oliver was based in Zürich, leading the global YouTube Creator teams. Prior to joining Google in 2006, he was leading a research team at the Multimedia Communications Lab in Darmstadt, Germany.
Managing Director, APAC, Booking.com
In 2013, Oliver Hua became Managing Director Asia Pacific at Booking.com. He is responsible for developing and executing the Company’s business strategy in APAC. Before Booking.com, Oliver was with eBay for over 8 years, holding a number of senior positions.
Before eBay, Oliver worked for 7 years as a senior executive at consulting firms, including McKinsey & Co, Booz & Co, and Stern Stewart & Co., working with local and global clients in Asia, Europe and the U.S.. Oliver was also an entrepreneur and co-founder of technology startup Luban.com. Oliver received his Bachelor degree in Economics from Beijing Foreign Studies Institute; he has a Master of Business Administration degree from China Europe International Business School in Shanghai and IESE in Spain.
Director – Trips/Experiences, Airbnb Asia Pacific
Parin and his team help hosts on Airbnb be as successful as possible.
Parin has grown both small startups and large global sales organisations across APAC, EMEA and the U.S.. He previously worked for Google in Singapore, California and London to help super scale billion-user products such as Chrome, Android, Adsense and Gmail. Prior to joining Google, Parin was a management consultant and a teacher in rural Japan. Parin advises and coaches several startups and entrepreneurs around the world. He has a BA from The University of Cambridge and an MBA from INSEAD. In his spare time he enjoys boxing, coaching, investing and dressing up his baby son in silly costumes.
Investor, B Capital Group
Pauline is currently an Investor at B Capital Group. Prior to joining B Capital Group, Pauline was the Head of Strategy & Business Development at PT Media Indonusa, a mobile commerce services provider, where she led teams to develop and manage strategic partnerships supporting the company’s business portfolio, while co-founding a women’s fashion ecommerce startup in Jakarta, Indonesia. Prior to that, she was an Associate in the Boston Consulting Group in Jakarta with a focus on consumer goods, oil & gas and financial services.
Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Wharf Hotels
Prior to joining Wharf Hotels in 2016, formerly known as Marco Polo Hotels, Philip Schaetz held the position of Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Dorsett Hospitality International subsequent to 16 years with Hyatt Hotels across Europe, Asia Pacific and its head office in Chicago.
Philip achieved the role of Vice President of Revenue Management for Hyatt’s International portfolio and Vice President of Revenue Management and Distribution for the Minor Hotel Group Limited in Thailand.
Philip is well-versed in sales, revenue management and distribution, electronic distribution and marketing, public relations, brand development and sales training and is charged with building sales and marketing strategies for Wharf Hotels and its portfolio of Niccolo and Marco Polo Hotels.
Rajeev Kumar G.
Founder, Managing Director & CEO, Mystifly
With a vision driven by technology, a strong business acumen, and passion in the travel industry, Rajeev founded Mystifly, an anywhere to anywhere air travel consolidation company in 2009. In a short span of seven years, he has steered the business to operate at a global scale with a customer base spread across 60+ countries. Rajeev Kumar G is an expert in the travel industry with over 15 years of experience covering Technology Development, CRM, Outsourcing, Process Management and Travel. An engineering graduate from Bangalore University in Computer Science, Rajeev has worked in various capacities in India, U.K., Europe and North America.
Rob Greyber is the President of Egencia and is responsible for Egencia overall strategy and operations worldwide, focusing on driving innovation and positioning Egencia for future growth. In addition to managing the Egencia business, Rob oversees strategy and operations for Traveldoo, a leading provider of online travel technologies, based in Paris, France. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Despegar, the leading online travel agency in Latin America. Rob holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.
Head of Rest of World, trivago
Robin Harries joined trivago in early 2012 and is responsible for the Rest of World segment at trivago which includes 30 markets in the regions Asia Pacific, Middle East Africa and Central Eastern Europe. He set up trivago’s subsidiaries worldwide and took trivago public (NASDAQ) in 2016. Robin has an entrepreneurial background and holds an Executive MBA. trivago is a leading hotel search platform which operates in 55 countries.
Rod is the CEO of multi-modal search specialists Rome2rio, and the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Viator, the leading online seller of sightseeing, tours and activities. He is a well-known figure in the online travel industry, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and an advisor to several online travel startups. His book Vacation Rules, co-authored with psychologist Dr. Sebastian Filep, explores the complex relationship between travel and happiness.
Managing Director, APAC, Sojern
Russell has worked in the online travel and tourism industry for over fourteen years. As APAC managing director, he leads Sojern’s APAC sales and account teams, expanding Sojern’s footprint in the Asia Pacific market and developing global travel partnerships. With experience in a variety of progressive leadership roles, Russell has a proven track record of building deep sales and account competency and increasing revenues and profitability across a matrix environment.
Prior to joining Sojern, Russell was the media director for lastminute.com, where he was responsible for strategy development, agency sales, and media in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the Nordics.
Sector Lead, Travel APAC, Google
Ryan Ferguson is the Sector Lead for Travel in APAC with more than 8 years of experience at Google and almost 17 in Digital. Ryan joined Google in 2008 where he worked as a National Sales Manager to a selection of Google’s top ten clients, including Australia’s foremost telecommunication, OEM and FMCG companies. Ryan has also led Google’s partnership with key Global Agency Partners such as GroupM, recently launched Google’s social media acquisition in APAC , and built a passion for adtech as Head of Platform Solutions & Innovation for Google South East Asia. Most recently Ryan has been charged with digitising the Travel market in APAC.
Ryan Kangjoon Lee
Head of Travel, Leisure and Culture Business Group, Ticket Monster Inc (aka TMON)
Exhilarated by products, services and technologies that are disruptive and innovative in nature, Ryan enjoys working with entrepreneurs who dare to dream a big dream and who possess caliber and leadership that is enough to inspire other stakeholders to join and help make meaningful and positive impact to people’s lives.
Prior to joining Tmon, Ryan had served for more than a decade as a partner at SoftBank Ventures Korea where he led a number of investments mainly in internet/mobile services, gaming and technologies in Korea and around Asia, and served as a board director and/or observer for tens of companies.
Chief Marketing Officer and Executive VP – Outrigger Enterprises Group
Sean Dee is Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Outrigger Enterprises Group. Sean is responsible for developing and deploying the group’s global marketing and brand strategies. He works closely with the group’s Hawaii and Asia-Pacific properties to address specific sales and marketing needs. His brief is to ensure integration, collaboration and consistency across the entire Outrigger portfolio of 37 properties in five countries.
Sean is proud to have led the creation of Outrigger Resorts’ Signature Experiences and OZONE programs, highlighting local culture at each resort. Prior to joining Outrigger, Sean directed global brand marketing for Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Hard Rock International. His outlook on marketing draws on senior executive experience in hospitality, retail, digital and traditional advertising roles. Sean is a graduate of Stanford University.
CEO, Local Alike
Somsak “Pai” Boonkam, an Ashoka Fellow and the founder and CEO of Local Alike, a social enterprise building an online platform to connect travellers and locals through meaningful and authentic experiences. As a social enterprise, Local Alike uses community-based tourism as a form of development tool to solve local issues, preserve local culture, and generate additional income to local communities.
Prior to founding Local Alike, Pai worked at the Mae Fah Luang Foundation Under Royal Patronage. He was tasked with business development at Northern Thai communities under the Doi Tung Development Project.
Pai was born and raised in rural Thailand where he developed a deep appreciation for the ingenuity of indigenous culture and the role of sustainable development. He graduated with an MBA in Sustainability Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, California. Pai has worked in a variety of cross-cultural settings. His goal is to bring the wisdom of indigenous people to the mass market in order to develop sustainable products that have a positive impact on the society.
CEO of reward-U; CEO, U-FLY Holidays; Deputy CEO, U-FLY Alliance; Director, Zuji
As CEO of reward- U, Hong Kong’s premier loyalty programme founded by HK Express, Steven provides strategic direction for the loyalty business. Steven is concurrently CEO of U-FLY Holidays, Deputy CEO of the U-FLY Alliance – the world’s first alliance of low-cost carriers (LCCs), and Director of Zuji.
Steven’s career spans over 20 years across airlines and consultancies, primarily in senior commercial roles in LCCs. Having worked across the world with start-ups, turnarounds and established leading airlines, Steven’s specialist areas include sales and distribution, revenue management, ancillary revenue, e-commerce and commercial strategy. Steven graduated with dual Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of Queensland.
Suchada holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering and two masters degrees in Industrial engineering systems and Business Administration. Suchada worked as a consultant for industrial companies that were supported by the Thai and Japan governments, then moved to the investment sector and joined a major credit rating company in Thailand, followed by a stint in a major private investment firm in Switzerland.
Suchada founded Favstay in Oct 2015 with Nattavudh Pungcharoenpong, a major investor in start ups in Thailand.
Director, User Experience Research, Expedia, Inc.
Tammy joined Expedia in 2012 as one of three researchers. As the leader of UX research, she has successfully grown the team to include 10 researchers who work across 3 global regions. The Expedia UX Research team is an industry leader in delivering user insights related to product functionality, usability, appeal & customer delight. Tammy started her career in User Experience in 1992. She spent several years working for WordPerfect, Novell, and Microsoft before leaving the corporate world to work as an independent UX consultant before joining Expedia.
Vice President Business Development, Agoda
Tim is a former lawyer and venture capitalist. As a venture capitalist and consultant he helped a number of start-ups (inside and outside travel) secure funding, set up online media companies, managed investments in public companies and held regular client briefing sessions for a brokerage house. As lawyer he represented technology, new media, Internet, telecommunications and broadcasting clients in Australia, Europe and Hong Kong.
He first joined the online travel industry in 1999 and has worked for top tier online travel companies in Europe, the Americas and Asia. Tim has a Bachelor of Commerce and Hons Law Degree from the Australian National University.
CEO & Founder, Spacemob
Turochas "T" Fuad likes building companies and he's finally getting quite good at it. Two of his previous startups were acquired and he's recently launched his 3rd - Spacemob. T's first startup was WUF Networks - a software company based in Silicon Valley, acquired by Yahoo!, Inc in 2005. Most recently, T was the CEO and Founder of travelmob - an online marketplace for private accommodations and vacation rentals - headquartered in Singapore and acquired by HomeAway in 2013. In between the two startups, T was Managing Director for Skype APAC. Prior to Skype, T was managing Yahoo!’s Mobile division across Southeast Asia.
T’s background has spanned across various industries including enterprise software, e-commerce, mobile, travel and consumer internet services. Born in Indonesia, T currently resides in Singapore, plotting out his next adventure.
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, SilverRail Technologies
Will is responsible for SilverRail’s Commercial, Product, Engineering, and Operations teams, ensuring greater focus and alignment between our customer needs and product delivery.
Prior to co-founding the company, Will was the product strategy and technical head for distribution platforms at ITA Software, where he was involved in its GDS initiative which led to a 30% reduction in distribution costs for U.S. air carriers. He also worked for National Leisure Group (NLG), where he oversaw the development of NLG’s dynamic packaging system – a vertically integrated vacation product – which powered online travel agency Orbitz through its IPO.
General Partner, SOSV; MD of Chinaccelerator
William is a General Partner at SOSV, a US$300M AUM accelerator-focused venture capital fund, and Managing Director of Chinaccelerator, East Asia's first startup accelerator. Previously, William was the Managing Director of China investments at SingTel Innov8 Ventures and a Partner at Softbank China & India Holdings. William is also an active angel investor, with 39 investments between 2006 and 2014 when he joined SOSV.
In 2005, William was ranked #1 stock picker in Technology, Media and Telecom and #3 overall in Hong Kong and China by Forbes/SCMP/Starmine. The following year, he was ranked #3 analyst in Asia for Technology/Software and IT Services by Institutional Investor Magazine Asia.
Yeoh Siew Hoon
Founder & Managing Director, WIT
Yeoh Siew Hoon is the founder of WIT, launching it in Singapore in 2005 and going on to launch WIT editions across Asia Pacific. In 2016, WIT Europe made its debut in London, days after the Brexit vote.
WIT has won several awards including Most Innovative Marketing Initiative and Trade Conference Of The Year from the Singapore Tourism Board and in 2014, Siew Hoon was recognised Tourism Entrepreneur of The Year. A journalist by profession and passion, she’s also a speaker and facilitator at events around the world.
She’s also a published author of titles such as “Around Asia In One Hour: Tales of Condoms, Chillies & Curries” and children’s books such as “Adventures of Habibie The Turtle” and “The Story of Baitong and Boon”.
Business Manager of Travel Business, Rakuten Inc.
Yoshiyuki has been Business Manager of Travel Business at Rakuten since January 2017. He started his career at Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. and joined Rakuten, Inc. in 2002. First, he worked for Rakuten Ichiba (EC business) and moved to Rakuten Travel in 2004. After serving as Manager of Advertisement Department, Manager of Marketing & Web Design Department and Vice Manager of Travel Business, he became Business Manager. He dedicates his expertise in digital marketing, data analysis and customer support to Rakuten Travel's growth.
Yoshiyuki earned a Master’s Degree at Waseda University.
Senior Director, Regional Economy Vitalisation Corporation of Japan
Yumiko is responsible for the $52M tourism fund established by the Japanese Government and private financial institutions to develop the sector in regions of Japan. Yumiko was previously Executive Director of GRANVISTA Hotels and Resorts, hotel asset manager at Goldman Sachs Realty, and consultant at Arthur Andersen and KPMG.
Yumiko holds MBA in hospitality from IMHI Cornell / ESSEC, BA from the University of Sacred Heart, and has completed Strategies for Leadership program at IMD.