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


In 2019 we'll 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.

Executive Perspective: A View from the Top

This panel of leading hotel marketing executives 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.

Moderated by Natalie Osborn, Director, Marketing, SAS Institute, Inc. and member of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board

  • Jessica Davidson, CHDM, Vice President, Digital Content + Creative, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Jeff Doane, SVP of Sales & Marketing - North & Central America, AccorHotels
  • Tammy Lucas, VP Marketing, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Flo Lugli, Principal, Navesink Advisory Group and Interim Chief Commercial Officer, Americas, Radisson Hotel Group
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.

Presentations and presenters include:

  1. 7 Minutes in (Hotel Marketing) Heaven | Cady Wolf, Vice President, Strategic Accounts, Sojern
  2. Case Study: Biometric Activation | Sabrina Lillew, Executive Director of Loyalty, North & Central America, Accor Hotels
  3. Creating Authentic Customer Experiences in the Era of Visual Content | Jose Canelos, Sr. Manager, Digital Product Development at The Leading Hotels of the World and Gary Zurnamer, Enterprise Sales Director, Stackla
  4. The Benefits of Becoming BFF With Your DMO | Brandy Hastings, Regional Partnership Manager, VISIT FLORIDA
  5. The Rapidly Changing Search Environment | Daniel Verdi, Vice President of Performance Media and DMP, Red Lion Hotel Corporation
  6. Lessons for Marketers from Amazon's Culture of Innovation | David Peller, Head, Worldwide Business Development, Hospitality, Amazon Web Services

The Promise of AI

David Atkins, Principal and Co-Founder, Digital DNA Infusion

The first “killer” app for artificial intelligence that could impact hospitality, travel, and tourism is coming sooner than you think. When it does, it will likely cause massive, wide-ranging, impacts to all aspects of hospitality, travel and tourism similar to those that accompanied the interstate highway system in the U.S.

AI is an over-used buzzword. Are you ready for the reality of it?

Flash Points

An HSMAI signature program, Flash Points is an interactive session that live-polls our expert communities about emerging and up-to-the-minute issues facing the industry. Today, you’ll help us answer some of the biggest questions on the minds of hotel marketing professionals, including:

  •  In which area(s) are hotel budgets increasing in 2019?
  • Which performance indicator is most concerning for the U.S. hospitality industry?
  • What is the most potentially disruptive technology for the hospitality industry?
  • What is most important to a marketing team’s performance?

All you need is a phone, tablet, or laptop — plus professional insights and opinions you’re willing to share. You’ll walk away from this immersive experience with a real-time pulse-check that helps you benchmark yourself and your company against other hotel marketing leaders.

Facilitated by:

  • Jay Hubbs, CHDM, Senior Vice President, eCommerce, Remington Hotels
  • Holly Zoba, CHDM, Owner, Influencer Sales


Choose from 12 breakout sessions throughout the day.




Check back often for the latest details.  

Traveler Trends and Booking Behaviors: Actionable Data and Insights for Hoteliers Marketing Strategy 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  Marketing Strategy 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

The Business of Influencer Marketing: More than likes & #hashtags Marketing Strategy 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 them, and more influencers come onto the stage, both sides of the equation are experiencing growing pains.

Best practices are emerging around the strategic issues that are important to defining and delivering the desired outcome including:
  • influencer identification and selection,
  • contracting,
  • messaging (content and context),
  • success metrics and 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.

  • Robert Cole, Founder-CEO, RockCheetah, and member of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board
  • Aimee Cheek, Director of eCommerce, OTO Development, and member of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board
The Progression of Personalization: A Panel Discussion on Operationalizing 1:1 Marketing Marketing Strategy The good news: Data gives you an amazing opportunity to take everything you know about a guest and personalize your communications and offerings for them — connecting your digital and on-property experiences in seamless and innovative ways. The bad news: Operationalizing data for personalization efforts presents huge challenges — including the need for additional content, specialized platforms, and a comprehensive strategy that connects marketing, technology, and operations. This panel will share case studies that illustrate how to seize that opportunity and navigate those challenges when it comes to website, email, and social-media personalization, on- and off-property guest experiences, and more.
  • Adele Gutman, VP Sales, Marketing, and Revenue, Library Hotel Collection
  • Whitney Reynolds, Director of Social Media, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • Agnelo Fernandes, Senior VP of Sales & Marketing, Terranea Resort
  • Moderated by Robert Patterson, Vice President of Marketing Technology, MMGY Global
Reimagining the Hotel Booking Site to Better Compete Digital Tactics In a highly competitive lodging market, with more and more travel content, review sites, and price comparison engines, hospitality brands like Aqua-Aston struggle to win direct booking and loyalty from consumers.

Designing more than a hotel booking site, Aqua-Aston developed a personalized portal experience that delivers extensive content and features to help travelers navigate through the dreaming, planning, and 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.

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.

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

Hotel Data Science Boot Camp for Marketers Digital Tactics 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

Marketing to the Rescue: Leverage Digital Opportunities to Mitigate Pricing Reactions and Stabilize Prices Digital Tactics 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

Optimizing Content for Voice Search & Virtual Assistants Digital Tactics With more than 400 million Google Assistant-based devices in use and 20 million Amazon Echos sold, the power of a customer's voice has never been greater – and not just figuratively. Customers are literally using their voices to interact with brands in myriad ways.

Now is the time to rethink content marketing and digital strategies to include – and constantly learn from – voice. It can mean the difference between high-quality, relevant experiences for your guests, and irrelevance for your hotel or brand.

This session will cover the opportunities and challenges that voice search presents hotels and the travel industry, including:

  • Optimizing your content and user experience for a future in which half of all queries are voice-driven.
  • The role featured snippets play in surfacing voice search results.
  • Using variables such as location, long-tail keywords, and reviews.
  • Creating task-based and informational content.
  • Identifying cost-effective ways to experiment and learn with voice search.

Presented by Anil Aggarwal, CEO, Milestone, and member of HSMAI's Marketing Advisory Board.

Mobile Video Best Practices Digital Tactics Mobile has changed the way that travelers get inspired, plan, and book their trips — and mobile video is increasingly playing a critical role in how brands engage with travelers. It's estimated that 50% of digital travel sales will come from mobile by 2021 and 78% of all mobile data traffic will be video by the same year.

Hear best practices and lessons learned directly from winners of the new Facebook Mobile Video Award, presented for the first time at HSMAI’s January 2019 Adrian Awards Gala. The award recognizes brands that are developing video campaigns to connect with travelers across the customer journey – from inspiration to booking – where they're most engaged, on mobile. It evaluates campaigns based on how their creative assets were built to capture attention on mobile and their usage of measurement solutions to understand impact on real business results.

Moderated by Colleen Coulter, Head of Industry, Travel, Facebook

Finding and Elevating Common Ground Metrics for eCommerce and Revenue Management Cross-Discipline Integration It is essential to break down barriers to get good data that is relevant, meaningful, and useful to both ecommerce and revenue management teams.

This session will take a high-level look at common metrics between the revenue world and ecommerce to get you thinking about opportunities for overlap. We’ll aim to answer important strategic questions like:

  • Where can we evolve the conversation on common ground for reporting (like with consumed v. booked)?
  • How can we tell a better, more understandable story to stakeholders across disciplines?
  • How can we better know what is working, and to what degree?

Presented by Chris LaRose, VP, eCommerce Americas, Hilton Worldwide

Strategic Distribution: Getting to an Effective Channel Mix Cross-Discipline Integration It’s not just about getting your rates right or selling the most you can through your website or through the sales team. An essential partner of Marketing, Sales, Digital and Revenue Optimization and an overriding component of a complete Revenue Strategy, Distribution is the glue between revenue disciplines impacting how hotels make some important strategic decisions. Which products do you want to put on the shelves? Which storefronts do you want to use? How can you effectively merchandise your products to capture the right customers? How does a hotel determine its Optimal mix and how much can it spend to achieve it?

With the average third-party commission at 15-16%, direct channels at 7-8% and the total cost of customer acquisition between 15-25%, it is imperative that hotel revenue strategy teams manage both the revenue and the costs of acquiring that revenue with rigor. Focusing stakeholders on profitability, rather than top-line revenue is a critical step to holistically ensuring that the mix of business you target doesn’t cost your hotel more than it is worth.

Attend this session to understand the evolving developments and trends that are impacting hotels’ efforts to develop business mixes that yield the highest profit contribution. Learn about the implications of those developments so you can align your resources with the best opportunities…and prepare for what the future will bring.
  • Andrew Rubinacci, SVP, Revenue & Distribution, Omni Hotels & Resorts, and member of HSMAI's Americas Board
  • Cindy Estis Green, CEO and Co-founder, Kalibri Labs
Making Your Integrated Marketing Work: Trends and Tools to Maximize Results Cross-Discipline Integration Your guests don't rely on only one channel when making their booking decisions. And integrating your advertising, public relations, and digital marketing -- designing them to ensure that all messaging and communications strategies are consistent across all channels and are centered on your customer's needs -- is no small feat. But when done successfully, integrated marketing creates a seamless, welcoming experience for guests to interact with the hotel/brand/enterprise.

The panel, including Adrian Awards winners in the integrated marketing category, will share:
  • Lessons learned about evolving channel mix and new traffic sources to grow your direct revenues.
  • Insights on the tools that make integrated marketing possible and manageable – how they work, and the your results you can expect to see.
  • Quantitative conversion trends and data.

Moderated by Tim Peter, President, Tim Peter & Associates

  • Griffin Stenger, Managing Director, Concept Farm
  • Madigan Pratt, President, MPA



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