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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


Ballroom 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

Bickler, 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.

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

HEDNA University 2.0: Transactions & Functionality

Barton, Level 4

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.

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM

HEDNA University 2.0: Emerging Channels

Bonnell, Level 4

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.

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Coffee Break

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Content

Barton, Level 4

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.

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Revenue & Channel Management

Bonnell, Level 4

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.

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Networking Lunch

Capitol View Terrace N, Level 3

2:15 PM - 4:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Electronic Advertising

Barton, Level 4

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.

2:15 PM - 4:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Payments 

Bonnell, Level 4

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.

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

First Time Attendee Reception  


First time attending a HEDNA Conference?   Join the HEDNA Board of Directors for a toast and warm welcome.

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.

Recommended Dress: Casual 


January 30, 2018

8:00 am – 5:30 pm Registration
9:30 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


Ballroom Foyer, Level 3

8:00 AM - 9:00AM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

8:45 AM - 9:15 AM

Arrival Coffee

Ballroom 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, Head of Commerce at 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, Head Economist & VP Data Science, HomeAway

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Networking Break

Ballroom 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 Systems:  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

Blake Madril, IDeaS
Clive Wood, Snapshot Travel

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.

John Hach, Travelclick (Moderator)
Estella Hale, SHR
Tim Kinsella, Amadeus
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: How Disney Enables its Payment Ecosystem

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

Alexandra Lara, Disney

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 - 1:30 PM

State of the Industry

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM


Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

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

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Coffee Break

Ballroom Foyer, Level 3

3:00 PM - 4:15 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

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
 Working Group Session: Mobile

As our world becomes increasingly digital, only the easiest companies to work with across all channels will persevere against traditional competitors and unforeseen disrupters. Organizations without a tailored mobile strategy run the risk of creating unnecessary customer friction and missing out on business from a rapidly growing market segment. The Mobile Working Group explores mobile technology’s value and helps address barriers to mobile entry in the hospitality industry. Join this session for an engaging overview of their recent white paper that evaluates  mobile’s role in customer acquisition and forecasting, as well as how mobile can lead to a better understanding of the guest.

Donnie Shumann, Hotel Tonight (Co-Chair)
Faith Marshall, NTT Data (Co-Chair)

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, Disney (Moderator)
Liron Diamant, dLocal
Laurie Gablehouse, Ingenico
Annie Marie Perry, Worldpay

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
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


Ballroom Foyer, Level 3

8:00 AM - 9:00AM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

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

Understand the impact of bots, autonomous transport and artificial intelligence on our lives today and tomorrow.

Dr. Peter Stone, David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of Computer Science, The University of Texas at Austin

10:05 AM - 10:45 AM

Cyber Security: Best Practices from an Expert

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

Privacy and the internet, what needs to be protected to secure your business.

Meyer Ben-Reuven, President, Chelsea Technologies

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM

Networking Break

Ballroom Foyer, Level 3

11:15 AM - 11:40 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

11:40 AM - 12:15 PM

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, Vice President Social Impact & Public Affairs, Marriott International

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM


Creekside I/II and sideYARD, Level 2

1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

The Evolution of the Chinese Traveler

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

China is the largest source market for international travel. Understand the opportunity for travel providers and accommodation suppliers.

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Chatbots: Employees of the Year 2018

How can chatbots save direct distribution?

Capitol Ballroom, Level 3

2:30 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. 

3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Networking Break

Ballroom Foyer, Level 3

3:45 PM - 4:05 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, Managing Director, Hospitality Technology Network, LLC (Moderator)
Pedro Anderson, Co-Founder & COO, Winding Tree
Robert Cole, Currency Alliance

4:15 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, Director, International Distribution Services, 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 Gala 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