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Sheraton Austin 701 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701

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Austin Conference Agenda

HEDNA’s international conferences deliver the most comprehensive information, insights, and dialogue on emerging trends that impact the hotel industry. Across the educational tracks at the event, each session will present a snapshot of the most transformative ideas shaping the future of hotel distribution from tech industry leaders, hoteliers, entrepreneurs, executives, influencers and more.


January 29, 2018

8:30 am – 6:00 pm Registration
9:30 am – 3:30 pm HEDNA University 1.0
9:00 am – 4:15 pm HEDNA University 2.0 

5:30 pm – 8:00 pm Welcome Reception

HEDNA University is a full day of optional education session included in your conference registration.

8:30 AM - 6:00 PM


Foyer, Level 3

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM

Arrival Coffee

Foyer, Level 4

9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

HEDNA University 1.0: Introduction to Distribution

Barton, Level 4

HEDNA University 1.0 Covers the history and fundamentals of electronic distribution. Designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the industry, the course features an interactive format that encourages participation with Q&A and lively discussions.

Lisa Barker, IBS Software Solutions
Natalie Kimball, DHISCO

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

HEDNA University 2.0: Transactions & Functionality

Capital View Terrace South, Level 3

Gain a better understanding of how things work behind the screen. Learn the fundamentals of transactions and functionality, including what affects system performance and how to fine-tune your practices.

Chris Murdock, Accor Hotels

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

HEDNA University 2.0: Emerging Channels

Capital View Terrace North, Level 3

Emerging channels evolve rapidly. Some are embraced quickly while others develop slowly or disappear altogether. Learn about emergents and how to evaluate the value of a channel for your business.

Natalie Kimball, DHISCO

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Coffee Break

Foyer, Level 4

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Content

Capital View Terrace North, Level 3

Hoteliers manage a variety of content through various channels on a daily basis. Learn about the different types of content and best practices for content management across all distribution channels.

Dee Thomas, DerbySoft

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Revenue & Channel Management

Capital View Terrace South, Level 3

Explore the multi-faceted discipline of revenue management and learn how to apply it to diverse channels that often seem to have a life of their own.

Blake Madril, IDeas

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Networking Lunch

Foyer, Level 4

2:15 PM - 4:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Electronic Advertising

Capital View Terrace North, Level 3

Online marketing opportunities continue to proliferate. Learn the basics of electronic advertising as you examine the options, optimal timing and placement, and measures to take to drive results.

Edward Perry, HRS

2:15 PM - 4:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Payments 

Capital View Terrace Soutrh, Level 3

As the payment world evolves and new markets open up we’ve seen a transition from cash to vouchers to cards… now we have ‘virtual currencies’ and more. Learn about what’s new out there now, what’s coming and how our industry should prepare.

Laurie Gablehouse, Ingenico
Xavi Ginesta, Voxel

5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Welcome Reception and Hackathon Closing Party


Live music is the thing at this rad Red River outpost, arguably Austin’s coolest venue, where the cheap beers are free flowing… HEDNA is excited to kick off the Global Distribution Conference and conclude the first HEDNA HACKATHON at Mohawk. You are invited to meet business and industry leaders as well as the technical witches and wizards who hacked their weekend away. Have a craft beer and sample the amazing street food Austin has to offer. The Monday evening event is sponsored by Onyx CenterSource.

Recommended Dress: Casual 


January 30, 2018

8:00 am – 5:30 pm Registration
9:00 am – 5:30 pm HEDNA Conference
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm Austin – A Night on the Town

A full day of conference events and join us later for drinks and delicious food & Austin nightlife. 

8:00 AM - 5:30 PM


Foyer, Level 3

8:00 AM - 9:00AM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

Rise and Shine. HEDNA invites you to a healthy american breakfast to kick off this busy day.

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM

Arrival Coffee

Foyer, Level 3

9:00 AM - 9:10 AM

President’s Welcome

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

President’s welcome and conference kick-off. 

Sarah Fults, HEDNA President

9:10 AM - 10:00 AM

Insights on Innovation in Technology

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Keynote Presenter Harper Reed will share insights on recent innovations in technology.

Harper Reed, Braintree, a PayPal Company

10:00 AM - 10:40 AM

Vacation Rental Industry and Its Effect on Hospitality

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

The vacation rental industry is innovating and disrupting at rapid pace. Understand the impact to hospitality and travel.

Justin Rao, HomeAway

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

Foyer, Level 3

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Pick a Track to Follow – Distribution or Payments – or Mix It Up!
Distribution Track: Part 1

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM  Revenue Management:  Introducing New Variables

Revenue Management Systems continue to advance and evolve with more complex pricing and inventory recommendations. How will distribution evolve in tandem to deliver increased revenue opportunities? Join us for a lively discussion.

Monica Xurueb, Loews Hotels (Moderator)
Chris Knothe, Duetto
David Turnbull, Snapshot Travel

Blake Madril, IDeaS

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
The Future of Central Reservation Systems

Central Reservation Systems must evolve as the Distribution & Digital landscape changes. Join us for a discussion on the future of CRS’s and to address one of the industries most debated questions “Is the CRS dead”?

John Hach, Travelclick (Moderator)
Estella Hale, SHR
Tim Kinsella, Amadeus Hospitality
Sean Lenahan, Pegasus Solutions
Tom Winrow, Sabre

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Payment Track: Part 1

Capitol View Terrace N/S, Level 3

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM Payment Optimization: Putting the Guest at the Center of Payment Strategies

How can the hospitality industry leverage lessons learned in other parts of the travel business?

Alexandra Lara, The Walt Disney Company

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Why We Must All Be Afraid

Pascal Burg, Edgar, Dunn & Company

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

1:00 PM - 1:12 PM

State of the Industry, Part 1

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

A new study commissioned by Expedia Media Solutions and conducted by Northstar Research Partners illustrates the complex and time-consuming purchase journey of digital travelers in the United States, the United Kingdom and China, comparing their digital behavior trends and uncovering the motives and emotions behind their consideration set as they search, discover, explore and book travel.

Derek Price, Expedia Media Solutions

1:12 PM - 1:24 PM

State of the Industry, Part 2

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

During this session, RJ will explore the key trends that are impacting reputation and enabling savvy hoteliers to gain a competitive advantage. Join us to hear who are the winners and losers and how the winners are using latest technological innovation to interact with guests before, during and after their stay, giving rise to remarkable results.

RJ Friedlander, ReviewPro

1:24 PM - 1:36 PM

State of the Industry, Part 3

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Distribution mirror – how good do we hoteliers look. Arthur will share with us what key trends Booking.com is observing in our hotel industry. How do hoteliers adopt technology and innovation ? How do behaviours and distribution strategies evolve over time ?

Arthur Waller, Booking Suite

1:36 PM - 2:40 PM


Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Eight innovators introducing new methods, new ideas and new products in eight minutes.

Tim Kinsella, Amadeus Hospitality
Chris Hodges, Expedia
Dakota Smith, Hopper
Alex Gisbert, Fastpayhotels
Pierre Boettner, hospitalityPulse, Inc.
Jimmy Suh, One Night
Joris Beerten, OTA Insight
Brian Batts, Criteo

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

Coffee Break

Foyer, Level 3

3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Pick a Track to Follow – Distribution or Payments – or Mix It Up!
Distribution Track: Part 2

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM Working Group Session: Content

Content is complex. The Content Working Group is on a mission to ensure content is delivered out on whichever platform, in whichever format, the audience wants to consume it.  Join us as we explore various options for evaluating content requirements and selecting appropriate solutions to provide travelers searching for accommodations informative, accurate and engaging content.

Dee Thomas, DerbySoft (Presenter)
Ben Levine, Booking.com (Co-Chair)

3:50 PM – 4:40 PM
 Working Group Session: Hotel Analytics

The Hotel Analytics Working Group will share the wealth of data received from the 1,000+ HEDNA members and non-member participates in the survey. The analysis will identify findings and recommendations across the three categories: chains, management companies, and independents then collated into the group’s first HEDNA White Paper. The analysis and White Paper will form the basis of future best practice work leading to recommendations and guidelines that the Group is committed to delivering in 2018.

Matthew Goulden, Triometric (Co-Chair)
David Turnbull, SnapShot Travel (Co-Chair)

4:40 PM – 5:30 PM
Mapping the Mobile Guest Journey

Under the leadership of Donnie Schumann of HotelTonight and Faith Marshall of NTT Data, the Mobile Working Group is working on a Mobile Customer Engagement Platform.

Obviously the mobile experience is different than the desktop experience. The purpose of the Mobile Customer Engagement Platform, to be kicked off in January 2018, in Austin, will gauge the business needs of our membership in terms of the guest journey on mobile to finalize a roadmap for the working group. The road map will plan for the next 18 months and will strive towards going “beyond-the-white paper” to develop research that will be useful for the membership in the possible forms mentioned below (one or a combo of several):
• Mobile Customer Engagement App
• Interactive Demos for Members
• Video Content
• Case Studies

Donnie Schumann, Hotel Tonight (Co-Chair)
Faith Marshall, NTT Data (Co-Chair)
Sunder Pillai, NTT Data

3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Payment Track: Part 2

Capitol View Terrace N/S, Level 3

3:00 PM – 3:35 PM Implementing Guest Centric Payment Options: How to Select a PSP or Acquirer

David Cabreza, Hilton Hotels (Moderator)
Alexandra Lara, The Walt Disney Company 
Liron Diamant, dLocal
Laurie Gablehouse, Ingenico

3:35 PM – 4:10 PM Right-sizing B2B Payments

Pascal Burg, Edgar, Dunn, & Company (Moderator)
Mike Carlo, Onyx CenterSource
Xavi Ginesta, Voxel Group
Ron Karpovich, JP Morgan
Jim McGowan, Marqeta
Noelia Torres-Martin, WEX

4:10 PM – 5:30 PM
Working Group Session: Open Payment Alliance & Third Party Commission

Xavi Ginesta, Voxel Group
Matthew Goulden, Triometric
Jennifer Sampson
, Onyx CenterSource

7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Austin – A Night on the Town


Join HEDNA for a night on the town at Speakeasy in Austin’s Warehouse District, sporting ground-floor rooms with old-school charm, plus a mezzanine and a rooftop lounge with a cool vibe and a killer view of Downtown. We have built in some time for you to grab a bite before heading to the Speakeasy to network, socialize, nibble on tasty bar food, and get your groove on with the live band and DJ! The Tuesday evening event is sponsored by Pegasus. The rooftop lounge is sponsored by ReviewPro.

Recommended Dress: Casual Dressy 


January 31, 2018

8:00 am – 12:00 pm Registration
9:00 am – 5:15 pm HEDNA Conference
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm HEDNA Awards Dinner

The last day of conference and join us later for a closing event dinner, get a little rest and head home Thursday. 

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM


Foyer, Level 3

8:00 AM - 9:00AM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

Rise and Shine. HEDNA invites you to a healthy american breakfast to kick off this busy day.

9:00 AM - 9:05 AM

Vice President’s Welcome

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Welcome to day 2 of the conference. 

Anne Cole, HEDNA Vice President

9:05 AM - 10:05 AM

Artificial Intelligence and Travel in 2030

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

How will our lives be different in 2030, how will travel and distribution be different. Understand the impact of bots, autonomous transport and artifial intelligence on our lives today and tomorrow.

Dr. Peter Stone, The University of Texas at Austin

10:05 AM - 10:35 AM

Cyber Security: Best Practices from an Expert

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Information security threats are set to worsen in 2018  In this session we will touch upon current cybersecurity threats and how to Combat some of them; including ransomware, phishing, vishing, smishing, social engineering, IoT and emerging threats in 2018.

Meyer Ben-Reuven, Chelsea Technologies

10:35 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break


11:00 AM - 11:25 AM

Governmental Regulation: A Blessing or a Curse for Innovation

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Austin and regulation – a story on UBER – Can regulation help or hamper innovation.

Steve Adler, Mayor of Austin
Greg Duff, Garvey Schubert Barer

11:25 AM - 11:50 AM

No More Passports: The Electronic Identity Has Arrived

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

1.8 Billion international travelers are expected by 2030, with most of the growth in travel demand comping from the Middle East, Asia and Africa’s emerging middle classes. To realize the economic potential those travelers hold, the framework on which travel is built must be brought into the 21st century to facilitate both seamless and secure travel. Join us to hear how companies like Marriott and Accenture are partnering with the World Economic Forum to innovate the future of travel.

Melissa Flood, Marriott International

11:50 AM - 12:30 PM

Chatbots: Employees of the Year 2018

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

How can chatbots save direct distribution? Natural Language Usage and Applications for Hoteliers. Are AI’s and devices replacing the concierge?

Benjamin Devisme, Colossal Factory
Cam Urban, Roxy

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

1:30 PM - 2:20 PM

The Evolution of the Chinese Traveler

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

The growth of China Outbound Tourism has steadily increase increased in recent years. 62.03 million outbound trips were made in the first half of 2017, which is an increase of 5% compared with the same period in 2016 and ranked the first among all countries in the world. Asia countries still occupied the majority of top 10 outbound destinations, United States are list in Top 5 outbound travel destination. The China session will introduce how Chinese outbound traveler behavior change from the tour group to the individual tourist, how the China local OTA/Platform help the Chinese traveler and make the travel easier and more existing, also will show you how Chinese leading payment solutions impact the global market as well as bring more outbound business to United States and other global market.

Alex Jin, Zhiketong
Anson Lau, ChinaOnline
Will Shao, IHG
Jason Zhao, Dianping Group

2:20 PM - 3:15 PM

Best of HEDNA Hackathon 

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Be inspired by the innovative products and solutions developed at the first HEDNA HACKATHON.

Nick Vivion, Tnooz

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Networking Break

Foyer, Level 3

3:45 PM - 4:20 PM

Demystifying Blockchains:
Point & Counter-Point

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Blockchain: a technology that many experts believe will be as transformative as the Internet. Learn what blockchain is, how it works, what it’s already doing, why it matters, and how it could impact distribution, loyalty, and payments.

Doug Rice, Hospitality Technology Network, LLC (Moderator)
Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree
Robert Cole, RockCheetah

4:20 PM - 4:30 PM

HEDNA Workshops Executive Summary

Join us for an overview of the HEDNA Working Groups to understand their mission and their accomplishments for 2017.

David Cabreza, Hilton Worldwide

4:30 PM - 5:15 PM

Welcome to a New Kind of Hotel

Redefining Service Innovation in Hospitality.  A discussion with Michael Levie, Founder, citizenM Hotels and Adam Harris, CEO & Founder, Cloudbeds

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

HEDNA Awards Dinner

The Driskill Hotel

The Main Event! Join us Wednesday evening the world-famous and opulent Driskill for the HEDNA Awards Dinner, celebrating and recognizing special HEDNA members, Innov8 stand-outs as well as the first HEDNA HACKATHON winners. The gala is sponsored by PrimeiroPay.

Recommended Dress: Cocktail Chic

The event is right around the corner

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