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Fairmont Austin 101 Red River Street Austin, TX 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

9:30 am – 3:30 pm HEDNA University 1.0
9:00 am – 4:15 pm HEDNA University 2.0 Sessions

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Welcome Reception

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

9:30 AM - 3:30 PM

HEDNA University 1.0: Introduction to Distribution

Location: Verbena Room

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

Location: Park A

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

Location: Park B

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.

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Content

Location: Park A

Hoteliers manage a variety of content through various departments on a daily basis. Learn about the different types of content and best practices for inter-departmental content management.

11:15 AM - 1:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Revenue and Channel Management

Location: Park B

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.

2:15 PM - 4:15 PM

HEDNA University 2.0: Electronic Advertising

Location: Park A

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

Location: Park B

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.

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Welcome Reception

January 30, 2018

9:00 AM - 9:10 AM

President’s Welcome

Sarah Fults, HEDNA President

Location: Palm Room

9:10 AM - 10:00 AM

Insights on Innovation in Technology

Harper Reed, Head of Commerce at Braintree, a PayPal Company

Location: Palm Room

10:00 AM - 10:40 AM

Vacation Rental Industry and Its Effect on Hospitality

Justin Rao, Head Economist & VP Data Science, HomeAway

Location: Palm Room

The Vacation Rental is innovating and disrupting at rapid pace. Understand the impact to hospitality and travel.

11:00 AM - 11:40 AM

Distribution Track: Part 1

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

Location: Palm Room

11:00 AM – 11:20 AM Revenue Management: Introducing New Variables
11:20 AM – 11:40 AM Revenue Management: Freemium Tools

11:00 AM - 11:40 AM

Payment Track: Part 1

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

Location: Park Room

11:00 AM – 11:20 AM Payment Optimization: Best Practice Session
11:20 AM – 11:40 AM General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM

State of the Industry: Part 1

Location: Palm Room

The Distribution Perspective: trends and recent changes in consumer travel behavior.

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

State of the Industry: Part 2

Location: Palm Room

The Hoteliers Perspective: changes to our P&L.

1:30 PM - 2:40 PM


8 Innovators / 8 Minutes

Location: Palm Room

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

3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Distribution Track: Part 2

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

3:00 PM – 3:50 PM Content Workshop
3:50 PM – 4:40 PM Hotel Analytics Workshop
4:40 PM – 5:30 PM Mobile Workshop

3:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Payment Track: Part 2

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

3:00 PM – 3:35 PM Guest Centric Payment Options
3:35 PM – 4:10 PM B2B Payment Optimization
4:10 PM – 5:30 PM Open Payment Alliance
4:10 PM – 5:30 PM Third Party Commission

7:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Austin – A Night on the Town

Location: Speakeasy


January 31, 2018

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Artificial Intelligence and Travel in 2030

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

Location: Palm Room

Travel and Tourism in 2030.

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Cyber Security: Best Practices from an Expert

Meyer Ben-Reuven, President, Chelsea Technologies

Location: Palm Room

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

11:15 AM - 11:55 AM

Governmental Regulation: A Curse or a Blessing for Innovation

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

Location: Palm Room

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

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

The Electronic Identity Has Arrived

Melissa Flood, Vice President Social Impact & Public Affairs, Marriott International

Location: Palm Room

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.

1:30 PM - 1:50 PM

Hackathons – Why do them

Nick Vivion, Editorial Director, Tnooz

Location: Palm Room

Hackathons: design sprint-like event in which computer programmers collaborate intensively on software projects. Why do them?

1:50 PM - 3:00 PM

HEDNA Hackathon: Demos

Location: Palm Room

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

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

Demystifying BlockChains: Point & Counter-point

Doug Rice, Managing Director, Hospitality Technology Network, LLC

Location: Palm Room

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.

4:15 PM - 4:30 PM

HEDNA Workshops Executive Summary

David Cabreza, Director, International Distribution Services, Hilton Worldwide

Location: Palm Room

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Welcome to a New Kind of Hotel

Michael Levie, Founder, citizenM Hotels

Location: Palm Room

Redefining Service Innovation in Hospitality

7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

HEDNA Awards Dinner

The event is right around the corner