Media Releases

Travel IQ – A New Event That Celebrates The Business of Travel


Get set for Travel IQ, a new one-day conference that celebrates the business of travel. It’s at The Langham, Sydney, on October 24 and features a dynamic program packed with the leaders of Australia’s most influential and interesting travel companies.  

“Delegates will see the industry through their eyes, connect with like-minded peers and leave with a better understanding of where they’d like to take their business,” says event founder Martin Kelly.

“Travel IQ is an intelligent travel business forum designed to inform and inspire,” he adds.


  • Anthony HayesChief Operating Officer, Sealink Travel Group (SLK)
  • Anthony MoulderHead of Transport & Infrastructure Research, CLSA Australia
  • Anthea HammonDirector Hammons Holdings, owner Scenic World/Sydney Harbour Bridge Tourism Experience
  • Bob EastChairman Tourism Australia/ Chairman Experience Co (EXP)
  • Brett MitchellRegional Director APAC, Intrepid Group
  • Darrin GraftonCo-Founder, Serko (SKO)
  • David HammonDirector Hammons Holdings, owner Scenic World/Sydney Harbour Bridge Tourism Experience
  • Dax EddyExecutive Director, Jamberoo Action Park
  • Jamie PherousManaging Director and Founder, Corporate Travel Management (CTD)
  • Josh OakesDirector, The Sunshine Tribe
  • Les SzekelyManaging Director, Grand Prix Capital, early investor in SiteMinder and Rezdy
  • Nigel BentonPublisher, Australian Leisure Media
  • Robert HalfpennyManaging Director, Aurora Expeditions
  • Rod CuthbertExecutive Chairman, Rome2rio; Founder & Former Chairman & CEO, Viator
  • Rob SmithDivisional Director, Australia/New Zealand, Merlin Entertainments (LON: MERL)
  • Sue BadyariChief Executive Officer, World Expeditions
  • Simon LenoirCo-Founder, Rezdy
  • Tammy Marshall, CEO, The B Hive
  • Vasso Zographou/Michael SimpsonDirectors, Savills Hotels

Seats are strictly limited with a total capacity of 135 to ensure maximum delegate engagement. 

Further speakers will be added over the next couple of weeks, stay tuned for details. There are corporate partnership opportunities available, please get in touch if you’re interested.
Travel IQ Contact: 
Martin Kelly, (02) 9882-1575, (0414) 774-978,

Wherever Life Takes You, Best Western Is There

November 9, 2017: Best Western Australasia (BWA) has embraced a new positioning statement – ‘Wherever Life Takes You, Best Western Is There’.

The tagline underpins the brand’s current brand campaign in the Australian and New Zealand markets, emphasising the phenomenal reach of the hotel and resort group, which has more than 4100 properties in 100+ countries and territories. Continue reading

Odysseus sets sail with Crystal & Uniworld – Now Live & Bookable

October 6, 2017: Odysseus Solutions today announced that luxury operator Crystal Cruises and river specialist Uniworld have become the latest major cruise lines to offer live booking through its industry-leading distribution and booking platform.

Crystal Cruises, Crystal Yacht, Crystal River, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and U by Uniworld are now connecting direct to Odysseus through an API, giving distribution partners immediate access to their products. Continue reading

Kristy Edwards Now Leading Best Western’s Revenue Team

September 26, 2017: Kristy Edwards has been promoted to Senior Revenue Manager at Best Western Australasia, managing a team of four that works across its properties in Australia and New Zealand.

They’ve been having great success boosting performance at a range of properties leading to increased demand from Best Western members for their services.

“Our hoteliers are generally owner operators and exceptionally busy people who can’t spare the time to work on revenue management and demand generation, which is where we come in,” says Kristy. Continue reading

Best Western Expands Australian Network – New Properties in Albany and Karratha

September 7, 2017: Best Western Australasia continues to evolve and today welcomed two excellent new properties in Western Australia to its hotels and resorts network.

“It’s fantastic to see properties of this calibre joining Best Western – it’s testament to the exciting brand evolution and repositioning we’ve undergone over recent years,” said Mr Richards.

In both cases Best Western’s global marketing reach and strong loyalty program were factors in the hotels’ decision to join, said Steve Richards, Head of Commercial at Best Western Australasia. The new properties are: Continue reading

Livn’s Global Tours & Activities Now Live on Amadeus

September 6, 2017: Amadeus travel agents can now seamlessly book 19,000 global tours and activities in real-time thanks to a ground-breaking integration with Livn initially covering the Australia and New Zealand markets

The connection between the Livn tours and activities database and Amadeus Selling Platform Connect has just gone live following a successful trial among key agents, offering them a lucrative new income stream in a challenging marketplace.

It enables agents to instantly book an incredible selection of tours and activities around the globe from hundreds of leading suppliers like Intrepid Group, G Adventures, Disney, Gray Line, Pro-Dive and Tourism Holdings. Continue reading

Best Western Australasia Sets TripAdvisor Ratings Record

August 8, 2017: The lift in standards across Best Western’s hotel network in Australia and New Zealand has continued with a record 54% of its properties being rated four stars or above by consumers on TripAdvisor and awarded a coveted Certificate of Excellence for 2017.

It is the third consecutive year that the Best Western Australasia (BWA) network has improved its TripAdvisor ranking, up an impressive 17% since 2015, when 46% of BWA properties received a Certificate of Excellence.

A major factor in the sustained improvement has been BWA’s new Quality Assurance Program, lifting standards across all member properties, which now offer free high-speed internet, healthy breakfasts and the ability to earn or redeem Best Western Rewards points. Continue reading

Odysseus Rides Cruise Wave, Launches Dynamic Packaging and Staffs Up To Stay Ahead of the Curve

Miami, July 26, 2017: New products and a desire to stay ahead of the curve is propelling the rapid expansion of travel technology company Odysseus Solutions, which today announced it is employing another 20 software developers, software and support engineers.

Founder Monish Luthra said extra staff is needed to ensure that Odysseus – developer of the travel industry’s leading booking engine – stays ahead of the development curve. He confirmed the extra staff will take Odysseus’s staff count to more than 100 for the first time. Continue reading

Georgina Williams to Help Drive Best Western’s Brand Expansion

Georgina Williams, Best Western

July 11, 2017: Highly regarded hotel executive Georgina Williams has joined Best Western Australasia as Brand Development Manager with responsibility for growing the group’s profile and presence in Australia and New Zealand.

“My main role is to bring new members into the Best Western family, working closely with Steve Richards, the Head of Commercial at BWA,” says Georgina.

“We’re particularly interested in speaking with owner-operator hotels whose business would benefit from Best Western’s branding, distribution, and customer loyalty.”

Georgina has held senior roles at several leading hospitality companies including SilverNeedle Hospitality, Stamford Hotels & Resorts and Swissotel. Continue reading

Growth on The Agenda for Best Western After Strong Year

June 9, 2017: Rapid international tourism growth combined with excellent corporate and government demand propelled Best Western Australasia to a strong result for the year to March 31.

Leading the charge were international guests buying BWA’s ‘Hotel Pass’, sales of which rose 35% over the previous year, the best for a decade. This result is well ahead of the inbound market and down to the global strength of the Best Western brand which is now in 100+ countries. Continue reading

Asian Agents Missing The Cruise Technology Boat Says Odysseus

April 26, 2017: Asian cruising is powering ahead with passenger numbers doubling in the past four years to 3m+ but regional agents are missing a major sales opportunity through a lack of automation – a scenario cruise tech company Odysseus Solutions is out to change.

Odysseus, exhibiting at Digital Travel APAC in Singapore this week, has developed the industry’s leading booking engine with 25 major cruise lines now live on the platform and is the go-to resource for more than 100 travel companies. Continue reading

Great Program & Speakers @ TRAVELtech 2016

TT15 - overview of ballroom at TRAVELtech 2015

Sydney, Sept 23, 2016:  Fantastic speakers and  a provocative program anchor the latest edition of TRAVELtech – Australia’s leading online travel marketing, distribution and technology event – which returns to Sydney on Tuesday, September 27.

There’s also excellent networking with 200+ delegates registered and plenty of time built into the day to make new contacts and catch up with old friends.

TRAVELtech is a fast-paced, issues-based event with loads of history (founded 1999) and a reputation for integrity and topicality. This year’s theme is Disruptive Influences – The Story Continues and confirmed speakers include:

Ben Angell, VP Marketing Asia Pacific, Norwegian Cruise Line
Jon Beros, General Manager,
Tony Carne, General Manager, Urban Adventures
Chad Carey, co-Founder, Chimu Adventures
Katherine Cole, Regional Director Marketing,
Gerry Comninos, CEO, RMS
Frederic Chanut, MD, In Marketing We Trust
Rod Cuthbert, CEO,
Randall Deer, Managing Director, Ignite Travel Group
Matt Evans, Analytics Lead Travel, Google Australia
Brett Jardine, Commercial Director, CLIA Australasia
Chris Hall, Managing Director, APT Group
Ross Honeywill, Executive Director, Centre for Social Economics
Peter Hopgood, General Manager, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort
Kurt Knackstedt, CEO, Troovo
Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research
Bruce Piper, Publisher, Travel Daily/Cruise Weekly
Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns, World Animal Protection
Chris Reed, Founder & CEO,
Alexander Robinson, CEO, Airly
Kelvin Ross, co-Founder, Dreamz AI
Dan Russell, General Manager,
Adam Schwab, Managing Director, Lux Group Limited
Alex Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, SiteMinder
Sean Sutherland, Head of Digital and E-Commerce, OTA Division at Flight Centre Travel Group
Justin Wastnage, co-Founder Cine Souk
Tim Welsh, Director of Social Media, Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited
James Woodford, co-Founder, YouCamp

TRAVELtech program highlights this year include:

– Latest travel and web research from Google and Roy Morgan
– Insights into the growing and disruptive world of travel deals from industry leaders
– Focus on the booming cruise industry including online and tech perspective
– Insta-Gratification, sort the wheat from the chaff in this marketing super session
– Learn from Australian based tech and online companies who have made it internationally
– Discover how one Aussie travel website is now getting more than 10m unique visitors a month
– Case studies, including one on Aunt Betty, Flight Centre’s new ‘startup’ website
– Hear ‘giving back’ strategies progressive travel companies are employing to enrich the communities in which they operate
– Feel the energy from Australian travel startups as they compete in ‘Pitch It To Me’

TRAVELtech is being held at Sheraton on the Park in Sydney from 9am to 5pm on September 27. Tickets cost $549 + gst.

For details and bookings please visit

Further Information:
Martin Kelly
Director, TRAVELtech
612 9882 1575


Oct 12, 2015: Just a couple of days until TRAVELtech returns to Sydney this Thursday with a compelling program based around the theme ‘Disruptive Influences’.

The agenda features more than 25 of travel’s most innovative companies – including several global disruptors – while excellent networking is also guaranteed with strong delegate registrations.

There are still a few tickets left but time is running out; see for further details.


  • Mark Cantoni, Co-Founder, Outboundapp
  • Wlad Chagas, Product Manager – Consumer Insights, Experian Hitwise
  • Stefan Cordiner, Regional Director – South Pacific, Hotel Tonight
  • Murray Decker, Founder, Tour Amigo
  • Sam Dobson, Head of Transport Equity Research, Macquarie
  • Ken Frohling, VP Business Development, Viator
  • James Gaskell, Managing Director, Travel Corporation FIT
  • Darrin Grafton, CEO and co-founder, Serko
  • David Hamblin, Snr Director Mkt Mgt AP, Expedia
  • Ryan Hanly, Founder, Outboundapp
  • Adam Hutchinson, Founder, Geozone
  • Kevin Jochelson, Founder, Fiestafy
  • Steve Johnson, Co-Founder,
  • Jeff Lewis, VP Engineering, Viator
  • Sam McDonagh, Country Manager ANZ, Airbnb
  • Alexandra Ormerod, MD, Luxico
  • Lisa Pagotto, Founder, Crooked Compass
  • Stevan Premutico, CEO and Founder, Dimmi
  • Jeremy Reitman, CEO,
  • Michael Richardson, Head of Business Development AU/NZ, Spotify
  • David Rohrsheim, General Manager, Uber ANZ
  • Christian Schaefer, Founder,
  • Ryan Tuckerman, Group Director Sales & Marketing, Art Series Hotels
  • Alistair Venn, CEO, Groupon Australia
  • Paul Wilson, Co-Founder, Bailador
  • Renee Welsh, CEO, Booking Boss

For further details please contact:

Martin Kelly
Conference Director

Speakers Announced, Agenda Revealed for TRAVELtech Australia – ‘Disruptive Influences’

Lots of fresh faces and innovative companies feature in the first round of speakers for TRAVELtech Australia, which returns to Sydney on October 15, 2015

This year’s theme is ‘Disruptive Influences’ with the fast-moving, issues-based event anchored by a compelling agenda exploring the seismic changes rocking the travel world and beyond.

Where: Sheraton on The Park
When: Thursday, October 15
Bookings: AUD499 + gst Early Bird


  • Stefan Cordiner, Regional Director – South Pacific, Hotel Tonight
  • Murray Decker, Founder, Tour Amigo
  • Sam Dobson, Head of Transport Equity Research, Macquarie
  • Ken Frohling, VP Business Development, Viator
  • James Gaskell, Managing Director, Travel Corporation FIT
  • Darrin Grafton, CEO and co-founder, Serko
  • David Hamblin, Snr Director Mkt Mgt AP Expedia
  • Ryan Hanly, Founder, Outboundapp
  • Adam Hutchinson, Founder, Geozone
  • Kevin Jochelson, Founder, Fiestafy
  • Serena Leith, Director of Marketing Asia Pacific, Spotify
  • Jeff Lewis, VP Engineering, Viator
  • Lisa Pagotto, Founder, Crooked Compass
  • Stevan Premutico, CEO and Founder, Dimmi
  • Jeremy Reitman, CEO,
  • Christian Schaefer, Founder,
  • Debbie Soo, Vice President Asia Pacific, Kayak
  • Damien Tampling, Technology and Media Partner, Deloitte
  • Ryan Tuckerman, Marketing Director, Art Series Hotels
  • Alistair Venn, CEO, Groupon Australia
  • Renee Welsh, CEO, Booking Boss

If you have any questions or would like to get involved, ring (02) 9882-1575 or email


Online Travel Leaders Speak At First-Ever TRAVELtech New Zealand

– Focused, issues-based event at Pullman Auckland  on June 25-

TRAVELtech – Australasia’s leading online travel, distribution, digital marketing and tech event – is coming to NZ for the first time on June 25, featuring a program packed with online industry leaders from New Zealand, Australia and Europe.

Speakers include top executives from Expedia, Google, HomeAway, Trivago, Experian Hitwise, Trade Me, Sabre Pacific, Accor Pacific, Mantra Group, Online Republic, THL, Serko, Tourism New Zealand, Revinate, #whywellington and Mantra Group.

Where: Pullman Auckland
When: June 25, 2015
Program: Click for details

Who should attend? The quick answer is everyone with an interest in the internet and its impact on their business, especially forward thinking industry professionals working in management, marketing, distribution, website or online strategy.

Book now and save with the early bird rate of AUD499 available until Monday, June 1.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Mike Ballantyne, Co-Founder, Online Republic
  • Daniel Bridges, Head of Satellites, Trade Me
  • Sydney Burdick, Global PR and Social Media, Trivago
  • Wladimir Chagas, Senior Insights Analyst, Experian Hitwise
  • Keith Chilek, Chief Technology Officer, Tourism Holdings
  • Andrew Fraser, Director of Marketing, Tourism New Zealand
  • Darrin Grafton, Chief Executive Officer, Serko
  • David Hamblin, Senior Director Mkt Mgt AP, Expedia
  • Andrew Hodges, Head of Revenue NZ and Fiji, Accor Pacific
  • Paula Maxwell, Director of Trade Sales, Mantra Group
  • Dougal Mckenzie, Industry Head – Travel, Google Australia & NZ
  • Fergus Park, Head of Product, Amadeus IT Pacific
  • Jon Randles, Head of Talking, Mosh Social Media
  • Anton Stanish, Regional Director Australia/NZ,
  • Nigel Taylor, Country Manager NZ, Sabre Pacific
  • Nicole Wiener, Director of Sales Asia Pacific, Revinate
  • Ben Woodward, Social Media Strategist and Founder, #whywellington

Founded in 1999, TRAVELtech has an outstanding track record with an international reputation for strong programs, real information, entertaining speakers and excellent networking.

This is the first edition of TRAVELtech to be held outside Australia.


The Big Squeeze – No Vacancy Australia 2015

Feb 10, 2015: No Vacancy Australia is returning bigger and better than ever to Sydney on March 26, the conference anchored by a punchy, issues-based program with 19 expert speakers confirmed and more on the way.

This year’s theme is ‘The Big Squeeze’ and the day will feature analysis, presentations, panels, case studies and the latest industry statistics.

The program focuses on the internet, distribution, marketing, innovation, consumers and technology.

“Competition is coming from every angle as holiday patterns and consumer tastes evolve at break-neck speed,” event director Martin Kelly said.

“No Vacancy covers all the major issues with an emphasis on real-time information and strategies.”

He added that sponsorship is at record levels while more than 200 delegates are expected.

Confirmed speakers include…

  • Bob East, CEO, Mantra Group
  • Paul Constantinou, Chairman, Quest Serviced Apartments
  • Jarrod Crump, Director of Revenue and Distribution, Accor Australia
  • Michael Daley, Insights Delivery Manager, Experian Hitwise
  • Dean Dransfield, Director, Dransfield Hotels and Resorts
  • Emma Fraser, Group Director of Marketing, TFE Hotels
  • David Hamblin, Senior Director of Market Management – Oceania & India, Expedia Inc
  • Dan Lynn, Vice President Asia Pacific,
  • Will Owens, Director, Revenue Finders
  • Rodger Powell, Director, Tourism and Hospitality Services Australia
  • Tony Sheer, General Manager, Arra Accommodation Group
  • Karin Sheppard, Chief Operating Officer – Australasia, Japan, Korea & AMEA
  • Ray Stone, Executive General Manager, Voyages Indigenous Tourism
  • Andrew Taylor, Regional Director of Development, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
  • Andrew Turner, Executive VP Hotel Operations, SilverNeedle Hospitality
  • Adrian Thompson, Director of Revenue and Distribution, Meriton
  • Stephen West, Executive General Manager, Turtle Beach Resort
  • Han Zantingh, Managing Director Asia, Brainjuicer
  • Neil Ackland, Founder, Sound Alliance

No Vacancy, held annually since 2007, has an outstanding track record with an international reputation for strong programs, honest interaction, entertaining speakers and excellent networking.

Media Contact: Martin Kelly, (02) 9882-1575 or (0414) 774-978.


Stamp - 2014 TRAVELtech Website of the Year 137x142Sydney, Sept 30, 2014: Entries are now open for the 2014 TRAVELtech Web Awards which recognise the best of the Australian travel web.

The big prize is Website of The Year and there’ll be a number of other awards including Most Innovative, Best New Site and, for the first time, Best Travel App.

To qualify a company needs to be based or employ staff in Australia and the winner will be announced at the TRAVELtech conference in Sydney on Friday, October 24.

TRAVELtech director Martin Kelly Past said winners include Lonely Planet, HotelsCombined, Rome2rio, and VroomVroomVroom.

The winning sites will be chosen by independent judges with evaluation based on the following criteria.

  • Innovation (is the site moving faster than the competition and utilising the latest technologies)
  • Design and Usability (does it looks good, is the theme carried throughout the site, can it be easily navigated, is there always a logical click pathway)
  • Meeting the Brief (Does this site achieve what it sets out to do, how well does it serve the target market)
  • Speed and Build (Do things happen quickly with no waiting around for images or information to download, does the site feel robust, well-built)
  • Content (Does the site have good content, it is well laid out and authoritative, are images used well both to inspire and educate)

Further Information: Martin Kelly, 612-9882-1575


Innovation & Inspiration @ TRAVELtech 2014

Logo - TRAVELtech medium

Media Release                                                                        September 17, 2014

– Great Speakers, Topical Program, Early Bird Ends Friday –

Flight Centre co-founder and CEO Graham Turner headlines a fantastic program at TRAVELtech 2014 in Sydney on October 24.

This year’s theme is ‘Innovation – Finding A Better Way’ and the fast-paced on-day event features the latest industry data, case studies, panels, interviews, presentations and debate.

There’s also a special session on ‘Fostering Innovation’ while other highlights includes the annual Web Awards and ‘Pitch It To Me’ for start-up travel businesses.

Conference director Martin Kelly advised prospective delegates should book now and save with the $499 early bird rate, which ends this Friday, September 19. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Mike Boyd, CEO, VroomVroomVroom
  • Peter Bradd, Entrepreneur in Residence, Fusion Labs
  • Elise Chang, Marketing, Partnership & Leisure Sales Director, Thrifty
  • Luke Crawford, Director, tripbooka
  • Michael Curry, Manager Digital Innovation, Qantas Airways Limited
  • Michael Daley, Insights Delivery Manager, Experian Hitwise
  • Brad Gurrie, Managing Director, Travelzoo Australia
  • Rakesh Hegde, Founder & CEO, Rezopia
  • Anthony Hynes, Managing Director and CEO, eNett
  • Richard Ings, CEO & Co-Founder, Troopr
  • Simon Lenoir, Founder, Rezdy
  • Ross McDonald, Industry Head – Travel & Tourism, Google Australia
  • Richard Morgan, Director Business Development AP, Sabre Holdings
  • Georg Ruebensal, Managing Director, Expedia Australia
  • Andy Sleigh, GM Asia-Pacific, Skyscanner
  • Graham Turner, CEO & Managing Director, Flight Centre
  • Clement Wong, CEO, BeMyGuest
  • Rod Bishop, co-Founder,
  • Margaret Scott, Founder and Chief Viewologist, Views on Top

Founded in 1999, TRAVELtech is Australia’s leading web travel business and technology conference.

It typically attracts 200+ senior tech, marketing, e-commerce, management and sales staff from a large range of companies, and is known for a tightly moderated agenda that cuts to the chase.

There’s been strong demand for TRAVELtech 2014 from delegates and sponsors, which include Sabre Pacific, Sonata Software, Amadeus,, Viator, Tourism Technology, Dynamic Creative and Skyscanner.

Media Queries: Martin Kelly, 612-9882-1575 or 61-414-774-978.

Less Than Two Weeks Until First No Vacancy Bali

Media Release                                                                                      August 18, 2014

Time is running out to book for the first-ever No Vacancy Bali Conference on August 29, which features a fast-moving, issues-based program that lifts the lid on Asia’s hottest accommodation market.

Growing Pains is the theme and the program focuses on distribution, development, marketing, innovation, consumers and technology, plus the latest performance data.

It features 20 industry-leading speakers including Chuck Abbott, Regional VP Starwood; Mark Flower, Director Commercial SEA of IHG; Tenaiya Brookfield, Director of e-Commerce at Archipelago International and Stephen Thresh from

There are also senior executives from Google, Expedia, Pop! Hotels, Mantra Group, HotelsCombined,  Komune Hotels,, C9 HotelWorks, Horwath HTL, JLL Hotels,, Elite Havens and more.

Confirmed Speakers

  • Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice President Southeast Asia, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
  • Hichame Assi, Chief Operating Officer, HotelsCombined
  • Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 HotelWorks
  • Peter Brampton, General Manager, The Stones Hotel – Legian
  • Tenaiya Brookfield, Director of e-Commerce, Archipelago International
  • Michael Burchett, Senior VP Operations & Development, Mantra Group Indonesia
  • Tony Cannon, Co-Owner, Komune Resorts
  • David Chambat, Managing Director,
  • Daniel Finch, Executive General Manager Asia,
  • Mark Flower, Director of Commercial Southeast Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Matthew Gebbie, Director, Horwath HTL
  • Alan Gertner, Industry Head – Travel, Google Southeast Asia
  • Irene Janti, Brand Director, Pop! Hotels
  • Traci Mercer, Vice President Market Management AP, Expedia
  • Daniel Miller, Head of Bali Office, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels
  • Craig Seaward, General Manager, W Bali Retreat and Spa
  • James Stuart, Managing Partner, The Brand Company
  • Jon Stonham, Chief Executive Officer, Elite Havens Group
  • Stephen Thresh, Regional Director Southeast Asia,
  • Mary Justice Thomasson, Resident Editor – Bali, Luxe City Guides

Tickets cost AUD449 – including all conference sessions, post-event access to presentations, lunch, morning tea, afternoon tea and drinks.  Bookings can be made on

Speakers, Program Revealed for No Vacancy Bali

A powerful speaking line-up has been revealed for the No Vacancy Bali accommodation industry conference at the W Seminyak on August 29, 2014.

Based around the theme ‘Growing Pains’, the fast-paced one-day event features speakers from Starwood, IHG, Accor, Google, Expedia, Pop! Hotels, TripAdvisor, Mantra Group, HotelsCombined,, Komune Hotels, HotelWorks,, Elite Havens and many more.

Highlights include the Bali development boom, sales and marketing, online accommodation trends and opportunities, a dedicated OTA session covering all the major issues, and a panel examining latest talking points in distribution, pricing and yield management.

There’ll also be an opening industry leader’s panel, sessions on both budget and luxury properties (Bali’s hot at both the top and bottom) plus case studies on mobile marketing and the creation of the Komune niche surf accommodation brand.

Where: W Seminyak
When: Friday, August 29, 2014
Program: Click for details

The following speakers have been confirmed so far with more on the way.

  • Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice President Southeast Asia, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
  • Hichame Assi, Chief Operating Officer, HotelsCombined
  • Bill Barnett, Managing Director, C9 HotelWorks
  • Michael Burchett, Senior VP Operations & Development, Mantra Group Indonesia
  • Tony Cannon, Co-Owner, Komune Resorts
  • David Chambat, Managing Director,
  • Daniel Finch, Executive General Manager Asia,
  • Joel Fisher, Director, Display Advertising AP, TripAdvisor
  • Mark Flower, Director of Commercial Southeast Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Matthew Gebbie, Director, Horwath HTL
  • Alan Gertner, Industry Head – Travel, Google Southeast Asia
  • Irene Janti, Brand Director, Pop! Hotels
  • Mary Justice, Editor, Luxe Guide Bali
  • Rio Kondo, VP Development – Indonesia and Malaysia, Accor Asia Pacific
  • Traci Mercer, Vice President Market Management AP, Expedia
  • Jon Stonham, Chief Executive Officer, Elite Havens Group
  • Stephen Thresh, Regional Director Southeast Asia,

No Vacancy has been run annually in Sydney since 2007 and expanded to Bangkok in 2011. After three successful years in the Thai capital, the No Vacancy SEA conference is now shifting to Bali

Further information: Martin Kelly, Conference Director, 612-9882-1575,


No Vacancy 2014 – Balancing Act: Fantastic Speakers, Excellent Program, Awesome Value

Tune Hotels CEO Mark Lankester, HotelClub President Nicolas Chu, CEO Scott Blume, Toga Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman and Baillie Lodges co-Founder James Baillie are just a few of the fantastic speakers taking centre stage at No Vacancy Australia in Sydney on March 26.

Others include Rob Anderson, CEO Best Western Australia; Hichame Assi, COO of HotelsCombined; and Adrian Currie, Senior Vice President Corporate Development at the Priceline Group.

There are also senior executives from Mantra, Accor, YHA, The Ascott Limited, Hotels Windsor, JP Morgan, Starwood and many more.

No Vacancy is where accommodation meets the internet and has been held annually since 2007.

It brings together hoteliers, online travel agents, sales/marketing experts, suppliers and tech providers.

This year’s conference theme is Balancing Act – a reflection of the increasingly complicated nature of the accommodation business, where there’s no such thing as black and white and it’s impossible to keep all stakeholders happy.

Following an opening keynote from Rachel Argaman, the program moves through key issues confronting accommodation professionals such as distribution, marketing, innovation, consumers and technology, plus the latest performance data.

It will also drill down into both the economy and luxury segments, and feature exclusive case studies on the recent brouhaha and also the innovative online approach taken by HotelClub and Orbitz.

Bookings are tracking well and a crowd of 200+ is expected.

No Vacancy is known for tightly focused and moderated programs packed with issues, opinions, panels, presentations and debate.

Tickets cost $549 + gst and all information can be found at

No Vacancy Sydney 2014 – Balancing Act

Media Release, 14 November, 2013

No Vacancy, Australia’s leading accommodation industry conference, returns to the Sheraton on The Park in Sydney on March 26, 2014.

As ever, it will be a focussed one-day event revolving around a strong program with entertaining, influential speakers.

There’ll also be great networking through the day with a bustling trade show and more than 200 delegates.

Balancing Act is the 2014 theme and work has started on the program.

Conference director Martin Kelly said the event timing couldn’t be better.

“This is a very interesting yet challenging and complex time for the Australian accommodation industry,” Mr Kelly said.

“Demand is strong especially the CBD markets led by Sydney which had its strongest ever month during October with record occupancy and rate.

“Other cities aren’t far behind while leisure destinations are also picking up.

“It feels like accommodation is on the cusp of a long-term upswing.

“But it’s not all plain sailing. There are also tensions in the marketplace, especially between suppliers and distributors such as Online Travel Agents.

“Meanwhile, consumers are evolving as fast as their latest electronic gadget. It’s hard to keep up.”

Mr Kelly said: “The program will definitely explore the distribution dynamic and also look at the latest industry issues and trends.”

Two hot topics that will be included while seemingly contradictory are luxury lodges and budget hotels.

“That both sectors can be doing well may indicate a more switched on consumer who trades up and down depending on circumstance. As I said, it’s interesting times.”

Sponsorships are now available and tickets will go on sale soon.

Further information: Martin Kelly, (612) 9882-1575,

Rome2Rio Beats Strong Field to Win Website of the Year

Media Release, 19 Sept 2013

A small Australian online business,, has beaten out a strong field including some of the world’s largest websites to win the TRAVELtech GlobalCollect Website of the Year for 2013. is a multi-modal search engine – which displays air, rail, bus and ferry transport options – that operates both a B2B and B2C business model.

The judges were most impressed by the innovative approach from this Melbourne based business, which at last count employed five staff.

One judge commented: “Innovation fantastic – this is really hard to do”.

Rome2Rio co-founder Michael Cameron said “it’s a very much unexpected but thrilling win”.

The TRAVELtech GlobalCollect Web Awards were open to websites which are either based in Australia or have staff, sales or tech, employed here.

The Top Ten websites were:

The web awards concluded the TRAVELtech: Reboot conference in Sydney last week. More than 200 people attended and it was a great couple of days.

You can see photographs here.

TRAVELtech : Reboot 2013

Media Release, Sept 5, 2013

Get ready for a new, improved and expanded version of TRAVELtech in 2013, which will be staged over two days instead of the traditional one in Sydney on September 12 & 13.

This year the first day – the new day – will be all about travel technology with the content aimed at those working in the industry’s growing IT sector.

“We’ll be putting the tech back into TRAVELtech,” said conference director Martin Kelly.

The second day will address online travel, e-commerce, distribution, digital marketing, mobile, social media, web trends and other key issues.

In other words, day two is the “traditional” TRAVELtech program which has worked so well over the past few years.

“The idea is to reboot TRAVELtech and broaden its appeal without losing program focus, which we’ll be able to do by having two distinct days” Mr Kelly said.

This modular approach is also be reflected in tickets and pricing. Delegates can buy individual day tickets at $549 + gst, or a two day pass for just $150 more – $699 + gst.

It’s an exciting time in the history of TRAVELtech, which was founded in 1999 and has a strong reputation for dynamic programming and great networking.

TRAVELtech is independently developed by Bluewater Press, a well-established event producer also responsible for the launch and long-term success of the No Vacancy, Destination Online and Search Engine Room conferences.

If you have any queries, please call or email event director Martin Kelly on (02) 9882-1575.


My name is Martin Kelly and I run Travel Trends, a content, marketing, research and strategy consultancy for travel businesses.

I help travel companies improve their positioning,  communications, stakeholder engagement and public relations through content-led strategic initiatives.

Typically I develop a multi-tier approach including stories/blog posts, newsletters, media releases, white papers, reports and  events - all designed to better connect business with their customers.

Often, my clients have neglected their marketing communications so I work with them to create credible positioning and messaging to ensure a solid, relevant platform before embarking on outreach.

I am also a respected travel  industry analyst, contributing to Phocuswright's regional research reports while representing them as a speaker at events in Australia and overseas.

In terms of background, I started the Travel Trends website to support the No Vacancy and TRAVELtech conferences, which I founded and ran for many years before selling in 2016.

I've kept the site going as an example of my work and still file the occasional story. 

I'm always open to new opportunities and would love to hear from you. For further information please email

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