Hilton reveals ever growing Middle East market

Some interesting statistics coming out of Hilton Worldwide, describing the patterns they see for inbound tourism from the Middle East.  This market has always been important for London hoteliers (Hilton included) but new figures show the Middle East is one of the fastest growing markets for the UK travel industry.  I will leave you in wonder with the numbers:

  • London Hilton on Park Lane has increased its visitors from the top five Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries by 21.34% (2011 vs. 2010). UAE is the top producing market with a 33% increase year on year (YOY), followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which has seen a growth increase of 104% YOY.
  • One in four guests welcomed at London Hilton on Park Lane is from the Middle East (17% of the total occupancy in 2011) and a third of those guests are from the UAE.
  • Recent VisitBritain research has found that visitor numbers from the UAE increased by 11% in 2011 (vs 2010). According to London and Partners, from Q1 to Q3 2011 total spend was £259 million (Saudi Arabia and UAE) with an average spend of £1770 per person, compared with £600 average for other overseas visitors.

Hilton go on the explain the reasons why London is gaining in popularity with Middle East travellers:

Shopping – There is a passion amongst visitors from the GCC to shop while on holiday in London. This was made clear from research undertaken by VisitBritain during 2010 – in particular there was an appetite for dedicated shopping holidays that gave access to brands and products that are not readily available at home, such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Marks & Spencer.

Welcoming and ‘safe’ environment – London is perceived to be a safe and welcoming destination by ME travellers compared to other European countries. This is also helped by a simple visa process and no significant language barriers. There is a perception that London is cosmopolitan, diverse and open to all cultures resulting in Middle Eastern travellers feeling comfortable and respected.

Historic family ties – Often Middle Eastern visitors have spent time at a British University earlier in life and feel welcomed and at home in the UK.  Families will frequently stay while visiting someone who is attending a British University.

Climate – Middle Eastern guests often plan their visit to escape from incredibly hot summer temperatures in the GCC, enjoying London’s much cooler climate.

Socialising & Entourage – Sheiks from Middle East regions commonly own residences in London and often their entourage will stay in nearby hotels.  London’s wide range of restaurants and coffee shops offer a varied nightlife and social scene for visiting guests.

Medical Tourism – As Europe’s leading medical tourism ‘hub’, London has around 20 private hospitals and NHS hospitals with private patient units. The square mile of London around Harley Street alone is the base for over 1,000 leading specialists in all areas of medicine.  Guests are known to visit London specifically for medical reasons, as well as building this into a wider schedule, often recuperating in hotels following medical procedures.

Middle East travel habits for the UK hospitality sector to take into consideration:

No one segment from the ME/GCC market is the same and the market is defined by different socio-economic backgrounds. In spite of this,there are general patterns associated with geographic origin, for example there is a high population of Saudi Arabian guests on southern Park Lane, while Kuwaiti guests tend to prefer Edgware Road locations.

There is an increasing trend for travellers to use their time in London for a full range of activity, not solely leisure.  Middle East guests are increasingly organised with the time they spend in London, with children being sent to summer schools in Regent’s Park, business meetings, property viewing, shopping, medical visits – as well as entertainment. Families are know to also use managers to organise their time while in London, with our hotel management working directly to assist.

Of course, it’s all very well researching this kind of data but the key for a hotelier is to respond to the facts.  This is something the London Hilton on Park Lane is doing very well be implementing some simple changes such as providing dedicated Guest Relations teams with Arabic speakers, adding Arabic TV channels and newspapers and even 24 hour room services from an Arabic menu.

It’s understanding your market that will drive your occupancy and create loyal and satisfied guests.  Every guest, regardless of nationality, wants to feel at home and welcome, so if your addressable market points clearly to one direction, respond to the need.  Right on the doorstep Hilton are competing with so many hotel chains, even specialists in Middle East tourism such s Jumeirah, so taking the time to understand their customers and implementing chance is a game winner for such a hotel as this.

Thanks to London Hilton on Park Lane for sharing the research with Hotel Insight.

The Athenaeum utilises Pinterest to engage guests in run up to Chelsea Flower Show

I’ve been waiting for a few months now to discover a hotel being really proactive in their Pinterest use, and using the latest social platform to interact with guests in a unique and initiative way.  My wait is now over and I’ve found a great example – and it’s congratulations to The Athenaeum Hotel in London with this fun and interactive campaign, based around one of the big London events.

On 19th May The Athenaeum Hotel will launch an ‘Urban Gardens’ Pinterest competition that will run until the end of ‘Chelsea Fringe’ – the new ‘festival of flora’ which aims to spread some of the excitement and energy around gardens and gardening in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The creator of the winning ‘mood board’ will be awarded Evergreen Tea for two at The Athenaeum.

As London starts to turn green in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, tourists and locals will once again witness giant floral displays and visual tributes to the annual horticultural show appearing around the capital. Installations, events and experiences, exhibits, talks and walks will also take place thanks to ‘Chelsea Fringe’ – a new initiative that will run alongside the historic show.

The Athenaeum Hotel, who’s Living Wall was installed three years ago in conjunction with RHS Chelsea Flower Show, would like to encourage users of Pinterest to capture this activity and to ‘pin’ the best horticultural happenings for all the world to see!

Tim Richardson, the Chelsea Fringe Festival Director and Gardening Writer, says; “The living wall at The Athenaeum Hotel is living proof that Urban Landscape projects can be beautiful, glamorous and cutting edge.This project is a great opportunity to showcase everything that is being achieved in this area across the capital whether they are fringe projects or not. Good luck to everybody who enters, enjoy pinning!”

The Athenaeum Hotel will upload it’s own set of images on to Pinterest to help inspire participants and will ask entrants to tweet their boards with the hashtag#AthenaeumUrbanGardensCompetition.

The hotel’s General Manager Simon Wakefield will select the mood board that he feels best portrays the transformation of London and the creator will be sent a voucher for the award-winning Evergreen Tea for two people at The Athenaeum.

Simon Wakefield, General Manager of The Athenaeum Hotel says; “London is such an exciting place to be in the run up to RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ is a welcome addition for Londoners and tourists alike. We hope our competition will capture some of the action for as many people as possible to see. Our Living Wall continues to amaze and excite guests and passers-by – it is definitely a breath of wilderness in the midst of a city, which is what this competition and the ‘Chelsea Fringe’ are all about.’

The Living Wall at the athenaeum is a unique architectural landmark that has transformed the streetscape of Piccadilly; the outdoor living tapestry represents a fusion of the hotel with its Royal Parks environment – bringing the outside in. Three years after it was installed it is in full bloom and has become a valuable shelter for biodiversity. Highlighting the hotel’s participation in making London a greener place, it adds nature to the daily life of not only hotel guests but of London’s residents alike.

A lot of hotels have started to use Pinterest, but mainly to load their photos of the property onto the Pinboard – some of the efforts I’ve seen tend to tick a box to say “we’re on Pinterest” rather than be a true interactive contribution.  This is the first intuitive and interactive hotel promotion using Pinterest I’ve seen and it will be interesting to see how popular the campaign is.


Hotel Insight talks to Rosie Akenhead ahead of this year’s Travel Distribution Summit

The Travel Distribution Summit Europe is one of my most eagerly awaited dates in the calendar, and that’s no exaggeration.  Each year, EyeforTravel put together a fantastic conference with key speakers from all areas of the travel world.  From the latest mobile trends to social media, and from revenue management to marketing, the Travel Distribution Summit is full of key industry leaders sharing their opinions and businesses practices.  A particular highlight of last years event was meeting Naveen Selvadurai, the co-founder of FourSquare.  Naveen spoke passionately about his company as he shared the stage with Facebook and Yelp – it was a fantastic session that had everyone talking and I was lucky enough to speak with Naveen afterwards.  This is a true measure of TDS – attracting the best in the business year after year.

So it gives me great pleasure to bring you a short interview with Rosie Akenhead who is the person that brings this event together.  If you have any questions please feel free to post a comment.

Q: Rosie, please tell us about your role at EyeforTravel and the organisation of TDS?

RA: I am the Global Director of Events & Industry Analysis at EyeforTravel. Along with the research and industry news that we provide, I also head up our flagship events, one of which is on 17-18 April in Islington, London –TDS Europe. This event focuses on almost every aspect of online travel- distribution, pricing, innovation, mobile & tech, marketing & social media. It brings together the travel industry as a whole- suppliers, consultants, solution providers- and makes it easy for us all to discuss industry trends and to network with friends old and new. We expect around 1000 attendees in total over the two days, so it is our biggest and best event, and we’re very proud of it.

Q: The speaker list at this years event is particularly impressive – is there one session your particularly looking forward to?

RA: This year’s agenda is really varied, which is probably a reflection of a slightly turbulent industry and economy. I think if I had to choose one (out of 36!), the top session to watch out for is our first keynote. This looks at the remodelling of traditional travel companies. EyeforTravel has seen in our research a blurring of the lines between luxury and low-cost. It’s interesting to see big luxury brands giving in to the unbundling phenomenon (particularly airlines), and seeing some of the lowcost get a) decidedly less low cost and b) rebundling their ancillary products. It will be fascinating to hear the opinions of very high level execs from Accor, TUI and The Travel Horizon Group. On top of this, we’ve got Airbnb on the agenda for the first time. I can’t wait to hear more about their model and how this idea of the “consumer becoming the supplier” will impact travel moving forward.

Q: What was your highlight of last year’s event?

 RA: I am slightly biased (!) but I felt last year’s TDS was our strongest ever in its 15 year history. It was really great not just to have the travel brands that we know and love, but also “the kings of online” (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Foursquare, Ebay). To hear from their perspective their plans for the forthcoming year was invaluable. The other session which really grabbed me (and everyone else, the room was overflowing!) was the search session. Panellists like Google, Bing, Skyscanner, Travelsupermarket really made it the session to watch. We are looking at search again this year, and with the introduction of google flights and google hotel finder actually in action, this session is still hot stuff.

Q: The social media interaction at TDS is fantastic – is there anything new planned this year? 

RA: We’re lucky because our moderators are all so social media savvy.  We have a big Social Media Conference in San Francisco as well so when it comes to keeping up to speed on this we can do so with reasonable ease! We welcome feedback and comments on the event hashtag #tdseurope before, during and after the event on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. We’ve developed a twitter feed platform for this year to make it a little bit slicker in the conference rooms. We’ve also got new extensive EyeforTravel social media and mobile research that we’ll be sharing, plus a marketing barometer available to download on-site for everyone attending. Social media is huge for us, and it’s important that we practice what we preach!

Q: We talk about the upcoming trends a lot at TDS – give us a sneak preview, what do you seen as the trends of 2012 and beyond? 

RA: TDS always covers the hot topics for the forthcoming year, because we’re always talking to the industry and finding out about challenges and goals from every brand we deal with. Aside from this, in the other part of my job, I look very closely at industry trends and analyse them. One of the first key trends I see is something I’ve been discussing in detail with Scot Hornick from Oliver Wyman over in the US. We both see a trend towards a change in the whole travel eco-system with the OTA-supplier relationship. Of course, which way this goes depends on a number of factors. First and foremost, what happens when the big group hoteliers re-negotiate their contracts with the OTAs (this will happen for a lot of the big hoteliers in 2012/2013). The flipside of this is the introduction of new models such as Roomkey, which gives the power to the supplier direct, or HotelTonight, the last minute mobile OTA to watch. It wouldn’t be fair to consider this lengthy topic without thinking about the future of meta-search too. A lot of the big merchandising characters in the industry are thinking about if/how/when the meta guys will start including ancillary products in the offerings, and if they do, that will have a huge impact.

All in all, it’s a seriously interesting time for travel. What happens with the economy in 2012 and 2013 is really going to show up who sinks or swims. Now is the time to find or re-negotiate partners, but also to innovate and develop mobile and social strategies, and I think all our attendees for TDS 2012 are attending for those very reasons.

Our thanks to Rosie for speaking with Hotel Insight.  The Travel Distribution Summit is held at the Business Design Centre in London on 17-18th April 2012.  To find out more about Travel Distribution Summit, please visit their website by clicking here.

Travel Distribution Summit

The Travel Distribution Summit Europe, researched and organised by Eye For Travel, is fast approaching with the event taking place at the Business Design Centre, London on the 10th & 11th May.  It’s an ever-growing event with a very impressive speaker list, and I can thoroughly recommend attending this years event.  If you want to hear the future of the travel industry, with great speakers from the hospitality industry too, learn about new start up’s, the latest technology and trends, this is a great event to go along to.

The Travel Distribution Summit Europe is the premier meeting place and networking hub for the European Travel Industry. Boasting 90 industry speakers, 1000 attendees and 7 conference tracks this conference is the one event you can’t afford to miss this year.

– 7 tracks:- Revenue Management, Ancillary, Distribution, Social Media & Marketing, Mobile & Tech, Payment & Fraud plus The Innovation Awards

– 90 speakers:- from brands like Ryanair, BA, Accor, IHG, Sixt, Hertz, BMI, Virgin and so many more

– Gain valuable networking opportunities to network with like-minded travel professionals and to raise your profile in the industry

To give you a taster, take a look at the comprehensive speakers list below – I don’t know a better line up anywhere else!  Click here to access for information on the event and details of how to register.

  • Hedwig Wassing, CEO, @Leisure/Belvilla
  • Remy Merckx, Director Web Distribution, ACCOR
  • Romain Roulleau, Senior Vice President – eCommerce, Accor
  • Susan Black, Executive Vice President – Global eCommerce, American Express Vacations
  • Xavier Vallee, Head – Direct Marketing & E-Commerce, Avis Europe
  • Krista Pappas, Global Director & Head – Business Development, Bing Travel at Microsoft
  • Claire Knill, Head of Marketing, Black Tomato
  • Callum Adamson, Head of Social Media & Search, BMI
  • Julian Carr, Managing Director, bmibaby
  • Chris Carmichael, Manager BA.com & Mobile Innovation, British Airways
  • Philip Saunders, Former CEO, Caribbean Airways
  • Bobby Healy, CTO, CarTrawler
  • Don Birch, Managing Partner, China Opportunities
  • Amy Ziegenfuss, Director – Marketing, UK, Choice Hotels Europe
  • Lennert De Jong, Director of Distribution, CitizenM Hotels
  • Michael Levie, Founder / CEO, CitizenM Hotels
  • Leonard Brody, President, Clarity Digital Group
  • Terje Roli,Vice President Ecommerce & Revenue Management, Color Line
  • Jeremy Copp, Vice President Mobile Europe, comScore, Inc
  • Brian Pratt, SVP Distribution, Loyalty, Partnerships & MIS at Corinthia Hotels, Corinthia Hotels
  • Steven Dow, European Director – Inventory & Yield, Diamond Resorts International
  • Anthony Rawlins, Managing Director, Digital Visitor
  • Bill Mckimm, Former Head of Ancillary, easyJet
  • Rob Bassett, Head – Integrated Partnerships, eBay UK
  • Robert Define, Director Product Strategy, Car & Insurance, ebookers
  • Nick Gold, Vice President, Northern Europe, Emailvision
  • Tom Jenkins, Executive Director, ETOA
  • Chantal Sukel, Social Media Manager, Eurail.Com
  • Claire Hutchinson, Head of Marketing- UK & International, Eurostar International
  • Maxim Masri, Director – Global Strategic Accounts, Expedia
  • James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst, Experian Hitwise
  • Tim Gunstone, Managing Director, EyeforTravel
  • David Parfect, Head of Travel, Facebook
  • Barbara Pezzi, Director – Analytics & Search Optimisation, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
  • Jim Davidson, CEO, Farelogix
  • Debbie Hindle, Managing Director, Four BGB
  • Evan Cohen, General Manager, Foursquare
  • Bruce Poon Tip, CEO & Founder, Gap Adventures
  • Paul Richer, Managing Partner, Genesys
  • Johannes Reck, CEO, GetYourGuide.com
  • Sung Wu, Business Development Manager EMEA – Travel & Ticketing, Global Collect
  • Debu Purkaystha, Principal- Corporate Development/M&A, Google
  • David Raitt, Industry Head, Travel, Google UK
  • Dan Robb, Industry Head- Travel, Google UK
  • Andy Ellwood, Director – Business Development, Gowalla
  • Rajen Ruparell, Executive Director, Groupon Inc.
  • Dan Craig, E-Commerce Director, Hotels.com
  • Alain Heureux, President and CEO, IAB Europe
  • Brian Hicks, Vice President Revenue Management EMEA, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Daniel Smith, Investment Director, ISIS EP
  • Alex Mifsud, CEO, Ixaris
  • Chritian Saller, Managing Director Kayak Europe, CEO swoodoo, KAYAK
  • Jason Katz, Founder, KP Capital
  • David Slacombe, Innovation Product Manager, lastminute.com
  • Philip Briffett, Sales Director, LivingSocial
  • Paul Evans, Founder & Chief Executive, Low Cost Travel Group
  • Adnan Saulat, Principal Consultant, Travel & Transportation Industry Group, MindTree
  • Gerry Samuels, Founder & Executive Director, Mobile Travel Technologies
  • Andy Gstoll, CMO, Mobilizy
  • Iain Martin, Product Manager, Natives.co.uk
  • Michael Neidhoefer, CEO, Netbicuits
  • Robert Rodgers, Senior Product Manager, Nokia Gate5
  • Valyn Perini, Executive Director, OpenTravel Alliance
  • Kate Varini, Senior Lecturer – Tourism Technology, Revenue & Profit Mngt, Oxford Brookes University
  • Alessandra Bartoli, Oxford Brookes University (to present with Kate Varini)
  • Chris Martin, Director of Revenue & Distribution, Ramada Jarvis
  • Warren Mandelbaum, , Revenue Management Specialist
  • Josiah Mackenzie, Industry Analyst, ReviewPro
  • Jo Briody, Head of Marketing UK and Ireland, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • Sinead Finn, Director – Commercial Revenue, Ryanair
  • Paulo Torchio, VP E-Marketing Services, Sabre
  • Chethan Sharma, Partner, Simon Kucher Associates
  • Shashank Nigam, CEO, Simpliflying
  • Henrik Imhof, Head – Yield Management & Pricing, Sixt Rent a Car
  • Per Voegerl, Commercial Director, Sixt Rent a Car
  • Frank Skivington, Director of Sales and Marketing, Skyscanner
  • Marc Vicente, Ancillary Revenue Manager, Spanair
  • Elie De Coignac, Founder & CEO, Splendia
  • Dick Porter, Portfolio Director/Co-Founder, STA Travel
  • Timothy J O’Neil-Dunne, Managing Partner – T2Impact Ltd
  • Vincent Roux, Director of Sales and Marketing, Tiara Hotels
  • Jeroen Van Velzen, CEO, The Sound of Data
  • Tom Britton, Project Manager, thetrainline.com
  • Jennifer Keen, Director, Total Revenue Solutions
  • Wim Kruit, VP Commercial Administration, transavia.com
  • Dan O’sullivan, Vice President – International Sales, Translations.com
  • Cree Lawson, Founder & Chairman, Travel Ad Network
  • Robin Sutherland, Managing Director, Travelsupermarket.com
  • Nathan Clapton, VP Mobile Partnerships, TripAdvisor
  • Sandra Leonhard, Director – Web Strategy & Business Development, TUI Travel
  • Alun Williams, Director of E-Commerce, TUI UK
  • Paul Rodgers, Chairman, Vendorcom
  • Fergus Boyd, Head of E-Business, Virgin Atlantic Airlines
  • Adriana Conte, Social Media Programme Manager, VisitBritain
  • Justin Reid, Head – Digital & Social Media, VisitBritain
  • Claire Higgins, Head – Marketing, vtravelled.com , Virgin Atlantic
  • Santina Doherty, VP Commercial Operations, Web Reservations International
  • David Scowsill, President and CEO, World Travel & Tourism Council
  • Dave Scheine, Director European Operations, Yelp.com
  • Stephan Bosman, CEO, Zoover & MeteoVista

Starwood to open 80 new hotels in 2011

Back in January, Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced their intention to open a substantial number of new hotels during 2011.  Speaking at the American Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) in San Diego, Starwood announced that it expects to open another 70-80 high quality new-build and conversion hotels in 2011, coming off of the 72 opened and 96 new deals signed in 2010. Propelled by unprecedented demand for hotels in the world’s fastest growing markets, Starwood, the world’s most global hotel company, will open nearly 70% of its new hotels outside North America, with the majority in Asia Pacific – seen as Starwood’s biggest growth market.

Starwood is also widening its lead as the largest operator of luxury and upper upscale hotels in the world. Of the new hotels Starwood is opening this year, 60% will be in the luxury and upper upscale segment, including six St. Regis hotels and two Luxury Collection properties. This year, Starwood will also open its 100th hotel under its St. Regis and Luxury Collection brands.

“Starwood is well positioned to meet the resurgence in demand for luxury lodging and now offers more luxury in more destinations than any hotel company,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood.  “At the same time, we are also leveraging our global advantage in key international markets where building hotels is critical to developing infrastructure. The world’s rising economic powers are expected to surpass established markets by 2050, and our footprint is growing accordingly.”

With Asia Pacific showing such strong demand, Starwood have committed that over half of their new hotels will be opening in the region.  Growth for Starwood’s high-caliber brands is also picking up in Thailand, where it will add four Starwood hotels to its portfolio this year, including two Four Points by Sheraton hotels, an Aloft hotel and The St. Regis Bangkok

“As China prepares to dominate the global tourism market with one hundred million outbound travelers by 2015, we expect their loyalty to our brands to have an ever increasing impact on our business worldwide,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development for Starwood. “Starwood’s first mover advantage has positioned us well to increase our portfolio across China and throughout Asia Pacific, as we continue to leverage the expertise of our seasoned local teams and our longstanding relationships with owners and developers in the region.”

India has also seen an acceleration in demand – a country where Starwood are already the largest five-star hotel operator. Starwood plans to grow its existing portfolio of 30 hotels in India by 40% in the next two years.

Growth for Starwood’s high-caliber brands is also picking up in Thailand, where it will add four Starwood hotels to its portfolio this year, including two Four Points by Sheraton hotels, an Aloft hotel and The St. Regis Bangkok. Starwood is also growing its footprint in Malaysia, with two Four Points by Sheraton hotels scheduled to open in 2011.

Impressive growth I am sure you will agree, and certainly following the patterns we see globally in terms of the biggest growth markets for hotels.  It’s important to remember that half of Starwood’s current portfolio is located in North America, so expansion is key in other areas to remain a strong global player.  In North America though, another 20 new hotels will be added in 2011 to ensure the strong demand for the company’s brands are met in the home market.

HBAA announce executive committee for 2011

Just as Hotel Insight covered earlier in the week when HEDNA announces their board of directors for 2011, the HBAA (Hotel Booking Agents Association) announced their executive committee for 2011.

Juliet takes the reigns as chair of the association from Stephen Usher and will oversee a new executive committee line up throughout 2011.  The HBAA represents the interests of parties involved in the procurement and management of conference, meetings and accommodation in the UK and internationally.  It has an annual buying power in excess of £4.7bn per annum and is recognised by corporates as the benchmark of quality and integrity.

Juliet will develop the HBAA’s strategy as well as overseeing the executive committee members:

Vice Chair – Chris Peacock, Conference Care

Executive Director – Peter Ducker

Treasurer – Stephen Usher, House of Usher

Venue Chair – Ian Leat, Marriott

Venue Vice Chair – Ian Jones, De Vere

Academy Committee Chair – Ellis Salsby

Events Committee Chair – Jill Fleming, Absolute Corporate Events 

Technology Innovation and Environment Committee Chair – Trevor Elswood, BSI

Marketing Committee Chair – Andrew Deakin, Conference Care

Membership Committee Chair – Chris Parnham, Zibrant

Meetings Committee Chair – Jayson Hodgkinson, Venue Choice

Special Projects – Sue Burgess, Inntel and Steve Ockerby, LVS Events

 Apartments Sector – Ricky Kapoor, Hotelworld

Juliet Price said, “The HBAA has come to the fore for its tireless work in promoting best practices and advising on government legislation such as TOMS and The Bribery Act. 2011 will see the UK’s business travel market continue to turn a corner and we are gearing up for the UK being on the global stage as a tourism and business travel destination with the Royal Wedding, Diamond Jubilee and of course the 2012 Olympic Games”.

 For more information on the HBAA, visit their website by clicking here.

HEDNA announce board of directors for 2011

The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) have announced their board members for 2011 today.  For those who are not familiar with this organisation, HEDNA are a not-for-profit trade association whose worldwide membership includes executives and managers from the most influential companies in the hotel distribution industry.  HEDNA exist to stimulate the booking of hotel rooms through the use of Global Distribution Systems (GDS’s), the Internet and any other electronic method.  As such, each year HEDNA announce a yearly board of directors made up with hotel industry professionals to fully represent the hotel distribution world.

2011 is no exception, and HEDNA today announced 2011’s board of directors, as below:


  • Cynthia Castillo, Head of Business Development & Projects and AMCD, Hotel Distribution, Amadeus
  • Nancy Little, Manager, GDS & Third Party Distribution, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
  • Louise Meyer, Vice President, Hotels, VFM Leonardo Inc.
  • Duane Overgaard, Principal Account Director Hotel Distribution & Services, Sabre Hospitality Solutions
  • Edward Perry, Senior Director of E-Commerce, WORLDHOTELS
  • Jennifer Riesselman, Director, Distribution Solutions – Channel Management, Carlson Hotels Worldwide


  • Tom Bruno, Director, eDistribution Development & Operations, Marriott International
  • Doug Carr, Senior Director, Electronic Distribution, Fairmont Raffles Hotels International
  • Linda Kent, Senior Vice President, Electronic Distribution, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Dee Thomas, Vice President, Product Management – Supplier Solutions, Lanyon, Inc.
  • Rajesh Vohra, Proprietor/Sales & Marketing Director, Sarova Hotels


  • Sarah Fowler, Strategic Account Director, Pegasus Solutions
  • Melanie Ryan, Senior Director, Global Strategic Accounts, Orbitz Worldwide


  • President – Melanie Ryan, Senior Director, Global Strategic Accounts, Orbitz Worldwide
  • Vice President – Linda Kent, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Secretary — Edward Perry, Senior Director of E-Commerce, WORLDHOTELS
  • Treasurer -Nancy Little, Manager, GDS & Third Party Distribution, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)