THERE’S just three days until the first No Vacancy industry conference in Sydney on Thursday – book now and you’ll receive a free Hitwise report covering key trends in the online accommodation sector.

No Vacancy will be a great day offering excellent learning and networking opportunities with more than 130 delegates from major companies on the both distribution and supply side already registered.

Please take a moment to check out the great program below, and don’t forget there’s also free admission for all delegates to the Hotel Operations Technology Expo, which is being held in an adjoining room. 

  • Where: Star City Casino, Sydney
  • When: Thursday, May 17
  • Theme: Distribution, Technology, Innovation
  • Bonus: Free admission to the Hotel Operations Technology Expo
  • Bookings: $475 + gst. 


8.15am -9.10am Registration: Tea, coffee.

9.10am – 9.25am No Vacancy: The business of selling hotel rooms has evolved dramatically over the past five years and there’s no sign that the pace of change will falter. But one thing hasn’t changed – everyone’s aim is to have their ‘No Vacancy’ sign on 24/7. Find out how people are doing it here. 

  • Martin Kelly, Director,

9.25am – 10.00am Forward Thinking: A one-on-one interview with industry pioneer Tony Smith, who founded, built and sold Breakfree Hotels and Resorts to MFS. He now has a new company that mines the internet ‘Long Tail’ through an innovative mix of technology, distribution and destination marketing – a strategy that seems right for the times. The interview will be followed by audience Q&A.

  • Tony Smith, Managing Director, Roamfree

10.00am – 10.30am Nothing Is What It Seems Anymore:  City hotels sell better than country ones yet the development money is heading to the wide open spaces. What gives, will this pattern continue and which properties are best positioned for the future? This session will also examine demand, occupancy and projections for Australia’s most significant city and regional markets.

  • Ron de Wit, Director, Atrium Hospitality Solutions

10.30am – 11.00am Morning Tea

11.00am – 11.50am The Distribution Revolution: Some are making hay while the sun shines, others are still waiting for rain. Whichever camp you fall into, and whatever the size of your property, you need to be well-informed.

  • Global Overview: Gregg Hopkins, Vice President, Hotel Information Systems
  • Australia and GDS: Paul Southey, Regional Director Asia Pacific, TravelCLICK
  • Internet: James Borg, Marketing Director, Hitwise 

 11.50am – 12.10pm Case Study – Accor Asia Pacific: Discover the role the Internet plays in the distribution strategy of Accor Asia Pacific. The region’s largest accommodation group recently launched a new multi-country portal and has proved expert at walking the distribution tightrope.

  • Maria Taylor, VP Distribution and Information Systems, Accor Asia Pacific

12.10pm – 12.40pm Panel – Distribution and Technology Strategies, Now and For The Future: This session features accommodation providers, technology suppliers and distributors outlining their thoughts on the distribution landscape and the best strategies going forward. It will examine the benefits of a multi-channel approach, the costs involved, the pros and cons of going direct, and the importance of controlling pricing.

  • Jeffrey Eckerling, Commercial Director, Hotel Club and Rates To Go
  • Anna Guillan, Sales and Marketing Director, Hayman Island/Director of Sales Strategy Mulpha Hotels
  • Chris Koudounaris, Owner, Hotel Prophets

12.30pm – 2.00pm Lunch

2.00pm – 2.20pm Haystack – A Lonely Planet Case Study: Lonely Planet has just launched its own accommodation database, Haystack, after years of resisting the urge to plunge directly into branded product distribution. Why now?

  • Troy Suda, Lonely Planet

2.20pm – 2.40pm Google Accommodation Search Trends: It’s a fair bet that more consumers use Google to access accommodation deals and websites than any other medium. What are the dominant trends and how can you take advantage of them?

  • Claire Hatton, Head of Travel Australia and New Zealand, Google

2.40pm – 3.00pm The Customer Is Always Right: What do consumers want from accommodation websites? Global Reviews regularly benchmarks the major accommodation websites to answer this very question.

  • Sean McConville, Senior Client Advisor and Head of Analytics, Global Reviews

3.00pm – 3.30pm Building A Great Accommodation Website: This session will reveal the latest thinking on what makes a great accommodation website, from search engine visibility through to customer conversion and loyalty. Also find out what turns off potential customers and sends them to other sites.

  • Keith Paulin, General Manager, Hotel Marketing Workshop  

3.30pm – 4.00pm Afternoon Tea

4.00pm – 4.40pm How Do Drive and Remote Destinations Compete In The Age of Low Cost Carriers. Fact – domestic tourism is either flatlining or going backwards in most drive markets as travelers embrace the Low Cost Carrier phenomenon. Challenge – Stimulate demand through destination marketing and product innovation initiatives.

  • Paul Baron, Online Marketing Manager, Tourism Victoria
  • Jackie Douglas, General Manager, Distribution and Revenue Management, Voyages Hotels and Resorts  
  • Grant Clonan, CEO, Station Hotels

4.40pm – 5.15pm Social Media, User Generated Content and What It Means For You: Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of marketing. Now its power has been magnified tenfold by the Internet. In this session learn about user generated sites such as TripAdvisor, their advantages and pitfalls. It will also cover methods of dealing with adverse comment made by consumers through these sites.

  • Stefan Drury, e-Commerce Manager, AHL Group
  • Arthur Hoffman, Managing Director, 

5.15pm – Drinks

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