Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International
Digital Marketing Strategy Conference 2018 Education


In 2018, it all starts with strategy.

The reality is that good strategy – digital or otherwise – is difficult to formulate. Possibilities are unlimited; time, money, and resources are not. Those hotel marketers who make thoughtful, deliberate choices will design strategies that are long-term enough to gain momentum and flexible enough to respond to the constantly changing digital landscape.

Throughout the Digital Marketing Strategy Conference, you’ll be challenged to:

  • Put the smallest decisions about your digital marketing in the context of your company’s broader goals.
  • Recognize that relationships – inside and outside of your company – are strategic, to create connections between ideas and people, and to find opportunities to advance your interests at those connection points.
  • Increase your likelihood of consistently exceling by embracing the creation of strategy as a journey, not a project.

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 strategy for tomorrow – all aimed at increasing revenue, driving direct bookings, and taking the agony out of managing digital marketing.

Attendees receive credit for 8 hours of continuing education for CRME and CHDM certification and re-certification. An additional 1 - 5 hours can be earned by participating in pre-conference workshops.


It Starts With Why...with Heath Slawner

Any hotel or destination can explain what they do, some can explain how they are different or better, but very few can clearly articulate why. WHY is not about money or profit — those are results. WHY is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us.

  • Explore why what we do becomes more powerful when we know why we do it.
  • Learn how the Why can act as a filter, giving us an alternative perspective on our organizations, careers, and even our lives.
  • See the reason guest connections through trust and authenticity are vital to a hotel or destination's success.

Get a preview of Heath's perspective.

Executive Insights: It Starts With…Owners

They are ultimately the ones signing all the checks, so in many cases not only does marketing start with owners…it can also end with them. This panel of industry leaders, each with a keen eye for the digital side of the business, will bring their ownership perspectives to bear on the hotel digital marketing landscape and beyond. They will share their insights into how they take the whole ecosystem surrounding their investments into account as they evaluate marketing plans and activities. 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.

  • Moderated by Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti, Director and Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University School of Hospitality Management, and member of HSMAI's Digital Marketing Council
  • John Rosen, Founder/President, Wexford Lodging
  • Jeremy McBride, Vice President, GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc.
  • Liz Uber, VP of Asset Management, BRE Select

Digital Insights: Ideas Worth Sharing

Through a new twist on a conference tradition, 6 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.

Presentations include:

  • Rate rationalization in the Booking Path | Dan Wacksman, CHDM, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Distribution, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts
  • The Second Mobile Tipping Point Is About To Happen And We're Not Ready | Stuart Butler, Chief Operating Officer, Fuel Travel
  • Google's Take on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Travel | Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry, Travel, Google
  • Transforming the Off-Season with a Winning Team | Lauren Peress, Director of Marketing, Mohonk Mountain House
  • Why be average when you can be savage (with your marketing)? | Catlyn Origitano, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Sojern
  • How to Harness Social Media for Hospitality Wins | Benji Greenberg, CEO, BCV

It Starts with Innovation...Unbox Your Thinking to Create Innovation Breakthroughs

Our world is changing at warp speed. Massive waves, like the Time Compression, Digital Lifestyle and Unwired Ubertrends, are reshaping society. In an exhilarating ride through the “landscape of now,” Michael Tchong will paint a riveting tableau of a world recast by these powerful phenomena, and help you understand how emerging trends will help you gain a competitive edge.

It’s challenging to keep pace with the changing data points in a digital world. Michael provides uncanny insights plus actionable thought starters to help spark the necessary dialog and creativity to push marketing toward the future.

In this interactive talk, Michael will help unlock your creativity and ""innovation quotient"" (IQ) with off-the-shelf tools and techniques — mandatory expertise in a world that increasingly demands breakthrough solutions and marketing ROI.

Michael Tchong is an expert on disruptions that reinvent markets, in particular social media, technology, and marketing trends and innovations that are reshaping our world. Today he is an adjunct professor of innovation and social media at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley, and is writing his third book, Ubertrends: How Trends And Innovation Are Transforming Our Future, which will be published in 2018. He maintains a blog at


Eight breakout sessions will be delivered in 2 tracks:

  • The Leadership track is ideally suited to team leaders who wish to broaden their perspectives and better understand emerging issues and concepts that impact the financial and leadership aspects of the marketing discipline.
  • The Best Practices track is designed to provide attendees with practical take-aways that can be used by digital marketing practitioners to sharpen their every-day skills and boost property performance.
Time Title Track


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

11:00 – 11:35 am  Multi-National Travel Trends: Turning Insights into Action Leadership In order to create targeted strategies tailored to the interests and preferences of travelers, hotel and travel marketers need a deep understanding of cultural and geographical travel trends. New research that examines emerging trends of American, Australian, British, Canadian, Chinese, French, German, and Japanese travelers will arm you with actionable insights to identify, engage with, and convert travel audiences across the globe.

Presented by Hari Nair, Global Senior Vice President, Expedia Media Solutions

11:00 – 11:35 am Maximizing the Places Where Marketing & Revenue Management Intersect Best Practices Driven by increased focus on the rising costs of customer acquisition and pressures to drive direct bookings, marketing and revenue management are connecting (and colliding) more than ever. Don't let another week go by without leveraging those intersections to create smart, comprehensive, innovative, and coordinated marketing and revenue strategies that maximize profitability more effectively and more efficiently.

Presented by Chris LaRose VP, eCommerce Americas, Hilton Worldwide

11:45 am - 12:20 pm Demystifying Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Hospitality Industry Leadership There are lots of commercials touting IBM Watson and other AI platforms, but are any of them real? We all hear that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future, but where and how can we use it? How is it being used in the hospitality industry today?

In this session we will demystify the AI landscape and learn about applications and solutions that can be leveraged today to help hoteliers participate in the AI revolution.

Presented by Robert Dawson, Independent Consultant

11:45 am - 12:20 pm Personalizing the Web Experience Best Practices A truly personalized web experience requires bringing your data to life in the real world. Learn what you can you do to create an online and offline experience that is personalized to each of your guests.

Presented by Michael Shaw, Client Success Manager, Hedgehog Development

2:00 – 2:35 pm Data & Predictive Analytics Leadership Marketing professionals are under increasing pressure to extract knowledge and insights from vast amounts of data in order to enhance their business strategies.

This session will provide you with an understanding of analytics terms and applications, as well as a realistic perspective on the application of complex analytic methodologies.

Michael Klein, Executive Director of Revenue Optimization, MGM Resorts International and member of HSMAI's Revenue Management Advisory Board

2:00 – 2:35 pm Data in Action: Fueling Guest Acquisition with CRM Data Best Practices Leveraging knowledge of past guests is an often overlooked best practice when it comes to identifying “marketing personas” and targeting look-alike audiences. Implementing this strategy will significantly expand your hotel's marketing reach, helping to acquire new guests that are similar to a hotel's “best” past guests and are “in market” (i.e., planning to travel to the property’s destination).

Smart data marketing can be implemented for ANY type of hotel and takes full advantage of “owned data” (past guest data, demographics, website data, etc.), layering on real-time travel planning insights and intent data points to target in-market potential guests during the travel planning process to your property’s destination.

At the end of this session you'll be prepared to implement this type of marketing right away, knowing several ways to quickly set up these types of campaigns using past guest data.

Presented by Jon Vecchiarelli, Director, Business Development, HeBS Digital and Peter Shin, Partnerships & Development, Sojern

2:45 – 3:20 pm What is customer loyalty really? Leadership Details to be announced soon!
2:45 – 3:20 pm Understanding Your Data's Whole Story Best Practices Looking at a hotel’s digital performance can be misleading without knowing the hotel’s overall performance. Join us as we walk through a step-by-step process to ensure you are assessing digital performance in the context of overall performance and asking the right questions of the right stakeholders.

You'll leave able to confidently evaluate both reservation and web data to understand the user journey and preferences on your specific site, and understand that web data is merely directional, not the system of record. This will aid you in making business decisions based on reservation data with web data as a supporting factor.

Presented by Charles Pollard, CHDM Manager, Digital Reporting Strategy, Marriott International and Molly Wolford, Senior Reporting Analyst, Marriott International