Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
Digital Marketing Strategy Conference 2019 Education & Speakers


The 2019 conference is centered around the customer journey. Speakers and sessions will address new developments in marketers’ efforts – online and off – to connect with, track, and influence consumers throughout all phases of their travel.

At the end of the day, you’ll walk away with specific, practical recommendations to sharpen your action plan and thought-provoking, challenging ideas to guide your strategies – all aimed at increasing revenue, driving direct bookings, and taking the agony out of marketing in a digital world.

Attendees receive credit for 8 hours of continuing education for CRME and CHDM certification and re-certification. Additional hours can be earned by participating in pre-conference learning.


Marketing in the Age of Assistance

Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist | Brand Marketing, Google

Today’s consumers are highly empowered because of the digital landscape, which has made them more curious, demanding, and impatient. Brands that are succeeding in today’s world of digital assist the consumer. They look at all consumer touchpoints and reduce friction, and they do so by being personal and by being prompt.

Chief Marketing Officer Panel: A View from the Top

This panel of leading hotel chief marketing & digital officers will bring their diverse perspectives to bear on current events in the hotel marketing landscape, what the future holds for marketing hotels in the digital world, and other important issues affecting the industry today. It is a candid conversation with actionable insights that you’ll only hear at HSMAI – the industry’s only organization committed to fueling sales, inspiring marketing, and optimizing revenue for hotels and their partners.

Panelists will be announced shortly!

Digital Talks: Insights Worth Sharing

It's a conference tradition: marketing executives will share their interesting ideas and case studies for driving revenue and profit. In 7 minutes, each will share:

  • Best practices with practical takeaways that attendees can used to sharpen your every-day skills and boost property performance, or
  • Strategic insights that broaden attendees’ perspectives and help them better understand key issues and concepts that impact the strategic and leadership aspects of the digital marketing discipline.

Presenters and their topics will be announced soon!


Choose from 12 breakout sessions, plus roundtable discussions throughout the day. The complete education program will be announced by the end of October. In the meantime, see below for confirmed sessions to date.



Detailed descriptions, including speaker information, will be updated regularly.  Check back often for the latest details.  

Traveler Trends and Booking Behaviors: Actionable Data and Insights for Hoteliers Traveler motivations, priorities, accommodation preferences and booking behaviors vary by age, geography and individual preference, as well as trip type. To understand traveler purchase decisions, hoteliers must first understand how travelers are influenced, why they are traveling and what they are looking for in their travel experience. Through a mix of global custom research, proprietary first-party data and industry examples, attendees will learn how to target, inspire and convert potential guests from around the world. From the power of package bookings to how much travelers budget for hotels and the influence of deals, to culinary travel and bleisure trips, hoteliers can learn about the trends and behaviors shaping today's travelers and leverage these actionable insights to better inform their own digital marketing strategies and campaigns.

Presented by Jennifer Andre, Senior Director, North America & Latin America, Expedia Group Media Solutions

Legal Headlines and Headwinds for Digital Marketers  Issues that digital marketers need to be aware of in the travel landscape change daily. Greg Duff, Principal and Firm Chair, from Garvey Schubert Barer, will share his list of the most pressing and controversial issues he sees from his point of view and attendees will have the opportunity to ask him specific questions about the topics of interest to them.

Presented by Greg Duff, Principal and Firm Chair, Garvey Schubert Barer

Reimagining the Hotel Booking Site to Better Compete Get an inside look at what it takes to completely reimagine the hotel booking site, and take away specific ideas to apply to your own.

In a highly competitive lodging market, hospitality brands like Aqua-Aston struggle to win direct booking and loyalty from consumers. Consumers may visit a hospitality brand's website while in the planning stage of a trip, but often end up booking on an OTA. With the advent of more travel content, review sites and price comparison engines, travelers spend 5 months on average planning a trip and conduct approximately 50 searches across 700 digital touchpoints during that time. The redesigned Aqua-Aston Hospitality website is an industry first, allowing consumers to "shop" for travel based on the type of trip they want. Designing more than a hotel/hospitality booking site, Aqua-Aston developed a personalized portal experience that delivers extensive content by establishing digital brand ambassadors and features to help travelers navigate through the dreaming, planning, booking phases. The new website has seen an increase in revenue by 22% YoY and conversion rate to 1.03%, with travelers booking longer stays through the portal.

Presented by James Karabelas, Vice President, Marketing, Aqua-Aston Hospitality

Hotel Data Science Boot Camp for Marketers Learn the fundamental skills of working with datasets as a hotel marketer. In this session, we will walk you through the key data segments and techniques hoteliers can use to make smarter business decisions and apply actual intelligence to marketing programs. Deepen machine learning skills and gain best practices for data cleaning, modeling, clustering and more, including hotel systems, combinations and recipes for success when you slice, dice and segment. Walk away with a data science tool kit and game plan to implement at your hotel.

Presented by Michael Bennett, SVP Global Marketing, Cendyn

The Business of Influencer Marketing: More than likes & #hashtags Influencer marketing is booming. In a recent survey of marketing leaders from HSMAI, one-third reported that their priorities for 2019 are shifting more toward influencers. As more brands and properties leverage influencers, and more influencers come onto the stage, both sides of the equation are experiencing growing pains.

Best practices are emerging around the issues of influencer identification, contracting, performance measurement, and funnel integration. Learn the keys to building a holistic influencer marketing practice on a solid foundation that consists of much more than likes and hashtags.

Moderated by Robert Cole, Founder-CEO, RockCheetah, and member of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board

Marketing to the Rescue: Leverage Digital Opportunities to Mitigate Pricing Reactions and Stabilize Prices From this hands-on session, you will go home with the tools and knowledge you need to facilitate a group-based learning exercise that actively places participants in situations where they need to make price and allocation decisions in a competitive, multi-channel environment. You’ll also end up with a framework that allows them to diagnose the outcomes of their decisions.

It is an effective training tool to develop key revenue management decision making and performance analysis skills of revenue managers, GMs, sales managers, asset managers, and others whose jobs regularly intersect with digital marketing.

Presented by Dr. Chris Anderson, Academic Director, Cornell University



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