Speakers

Maximum Occupancy is New Zealand’s premier hotel and accommodation industry conference, designed for and by the hotel industry's leaders. The conference features over 25+ leading industry experts and speakers from around New Zealand, Australia and the globe.

See some of our past keynote speakers and panellists below.

Stephen Hamilton

Director
Horwath HTL

David Ovendale

CEO
TOP 10 Holiday Parks

View bio Haley Purdon

Director of Market Management - New Zealand & Pacific Islands
Expedia

Haley Purdon's biography

Director of Market Management - New Zealand & Pacific Islands
Expedia

Haley Purdon leads Expedia Lodging Partner Services in New Zealand and Pacific Islands, responsible for developing the strategies for the Group’s lodging supply business in the region.

With more than 12 years’ experience with Expedia Group, she leads the team to establish and develop strong partner relationships with hotel partners, helping to maximise their exposure to the Group’s 200+ travel booking websites. 

Prior to her role as Director of Market Management, Haley held various roles at the company. She started out as a Senior Market Manager for Orbitz Worldwide, where she was responsible for building a team on the ground, developing the brand awareness and expanding its presence to New Zealand and Pacific Islands region.

Haley brings valued knowledge of the online travel landscape to her role. Her passion for leading and developing people is instrumental to the rapid expansion of the NZPI team over the past four years.

 

View bio Hazel Rigler

Director of Marketing & eCommerce - Australia & New Zealand
Grand Chancellor Hotels

Hazel Rigler's biography

Director of Marketing & eCommerce - Australia & New Zealand
Grand Chancellor Hotels

Hazel Rigler has established a strong career within the Hotel industry, specifically in the complex field of Marketing, Sales and e-Commerce. She has been employed for the past ten years at the Wellington based Head Office for Grand Chancellor Hotels, Australia and New Zealand; a role which she has brought a wealth of international experience and expertise to from her management positions in Dublin and London. Her drive and tenacity has seen her go above and beyond for the company, and her ability to keep the Group ahead of change secured her status as a finalist for the Senior Executive category in the prestigious New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards in 2018.

View bio Edwin Saldanha

Regional Manager - Oceania
STAAH

Edwin Saldanha's biography

Regional Manager - Oceania
STAAH

Edwin has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His career spans two continents with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts and Stamford Hotel & Resorts. Having worn multiple hats, Edwin has a deep-rooted knowledge of hospitality operations, revenue management, marketing and distribution technology.

Edwin has spoken at the following events: 80 Twenty Hotel Conference, Bali Hotel Summit, Auckland University of Technology(AUT), Griffith University, Otago Polytechnic, Motel Association of New Zealand, ARA Christchurch and Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand. 

Todd Simms

Director of Revenue
AccorHotels

View bio Kerrie Hannaford

Area Director of Sales & Marketing
AccorHotels

Kerrie Hannaford's biography

Area Director of Sales & Marketing
AccorHotels

Kerrie leads the sales and marketing, distribution direction for all Accor Hotels brands and hotels within New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, responsible for the development and execution of strategic business plans to achieve the company’s regional and global objectives. Spanning an impressive career with the Accor Hotels global network, Kerrie began her career with AccorHotels in 2005. In 2007 Kerrie was appointed to head of Sales, Distribution & Revenue Management for Australia, where she oversaw 150 hotels and was a lead in the implementation of strategic business initiatives that effectively developed and promoted the network. In 2013 Kerrie was promoted to Senior Vice President where her role was expanded to cover the management of Central America and the Caribbean Hotels in addition to USA & Canada. This position was based in Florida where she led a team of more than 54 global and regional team members. After 7 years in the region, Kerrie & her family then made the decision to return home to the Pacific in June 2017.


Kerrie continues to be involved in the global business travel community and has served as Chairperson of the Industry advisory council of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and is an active member of ACTE. Kerrie is also involved in the local business community in New Zealand where she currently sits on the ATEED Advisory Council - Destination Auckland 2025, and TIA committee for the New Zealand Hotel Investment Conference.

View bio Georgina Torrington

Director of Sales & Marketing
Brook Serene Boutique Hotels

Georgina Torrington's biography

Director of Sales & Marketing
Brook Serene Boutique Hotels

Georgina is a passionate expert with honed sales and marketing skills in the hotel, tourism, events and hospitality sectors.

Experience in the hotel industry spans more than 15 years from multi-national chains to boutique luxury brands, Georgina brings a wealth of knowledge with a keen understanding of current trends to this panel.

Georgina has been focused on:

  • Strategic thinking with tactical planning
  • Digital, social and brand management
  • Events and PR
  • Sales with CRM campaign design and delivery

With a quick wit and inclusive management style, George develops significant relationships to help grow the Brook Serene Hotel business.

View bio Jackie Leat

Hospitality Lead
Fr@nk Innovation & Transformation

Jackie Leat's biography

Hospitality Lead
Fr@nk Innovation & Transformation

Hospitality Lead for Fr@nk, Jackie specializes in delivering Hospitality Technology for  hotels across New Zealand as well as holding a role as, IT Manager at Millbrook Resort.

Jackie has worked in IT for 30 years and now focuses on delivering technology in retail and hotels.

Jackie was instrumental in the planning of the systems for the New Zealand International Convention Centre and SKYCITYs five-star hotels in Auckland and Adelaide in 2018 and now consults to hotels throughout New Zealand planning technology roadmaps and assisting with change.

At Millbrook Resort, Jackie is currently implementing all facets of infrastructure and interfaces on a roadmap for a world class digital customer experience.  This will strengthen the direct mobile engagement with their guests and bring quantifiable benefits to the Resort.

Harriet Tompson

Director Account Management, New Zealand and Australia
IDeaS Revenue Solutions

View bio Roma Patel

National Reservations and Yield Manager
Sudima Hotels

Roma Patel's biography

National Reservations and Yield Manager
Sudima Hotels

Roma is the National Reservations & Yield Manager for Sudima Hotels where she leads the Central Reservations team and is responsible for strategic rate distribution and optimisation to maximise revenue through various channels.

Having held various roles within the Hospitality industry over 17 years, Roma has developed in-depth knowledge and passion for Revenue, Distribution & Technology. Roma is the Winner of 2018 NZ Hotel Industry Revenue Manager of the Year Award by ARMA.

View bio Troy Clarry

Owner/Director
Katalyma Hotels & Hospitality - Whangaparaoa Lodge & Kerikeri Park Lodge

Troy Clarry's biography

Owner/Director
Katalyma Hotels & Hospitality - Whangaparaoa Lodge & Kerikeri Park Lodge

Troy has 20 years experience working for Hyatt International and Marriott (Ritz-Carlton and Bulgari Hotels & Resorts) overseas and moved back to New Zealand in 2013 to operate his own accommodation business - Whangaparaoa Lodge. Troy purchased Kerikeri Park Lodge 2 years later while assisting two new owners of the properties to set up and rebrand their small accommodation businesses. Whangaparaoa Lodge won HNZ Best Motel and Supreme Award in 2017. Troy is also the chair of the HNZ Auckland branch accommodation sector group, and a member of Destination Committee, a sub group representing accommodation in Auckland reporting to ATEED.

View bio Matthew Christensen

General Manager
Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park, Auckland

Matthew Christensen's biography

General Manager
Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park, Auckland

Joining Swiss-Belhotels International in 2018 after 8 years with the now Accor owned Mantra Group. Swiss-Belhotels International now operates a growing portfolio of over 150 hotels and resorts worldwide. Matthew finds interest in logical and dynamic thinking, Integration of existing and new technology to overall improve not only the total guest experience but the experience of staff through the process. 

View bio Jamie Ewen

Director
Seveno Solutions

Jamie Ewen's biography

Director
Seveno Solutions

Over the past 15 years Jamie has focused on creating solutions powered by existing and emerging technologies into single touch points designed to deliver great user experiences.                Jamie has worked across a number of industries and geographies including media, telecommunications and hospitality in New Zealand and South Africa. 

View bio Andrew Belsham

Regional Manager For New Zealand & Pacific
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Andrew Belsham's biography

Regional Manager For New Zealand & Pacific
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

A skilled tourism and hospitality specialist, Andrew Belsham heads up Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ New Zealand and Pacific Islands presence. With over 16 years’ tourism industry experience including senior management and director roles with the Flight Centre Group UK, Ten Lifestyle Management UK and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Andrew’s real passion is the people behind the business and partnering with them for a mutually successful future. He has broad of international accommodation and tourism sector knowledge, gained through visiting and consulting with over 250 properties worldwide ranging from the top end luxurious to mid-scale accommodation. 

View bio Frazer King

Revenue Manager
Wairakei Resort and Chateau Tongariro

Frazer King's biography

Revenue Manager
Wairakei Resort and Chateau Tongariro

Frazer is the Revenue Manager for both Chateau Tongariro and Wairakei Resort Taupo. Working closely with the BI team in Singapore both hotels have undergone a radical change in their on-line presence and approach to how the hotels are sold. 

Frazer has worked in all areas of the hospitality industry starting his career at the Regent Auckland in the 80’s – being the second hotel in NZ to install Fidelio. During his 18 years as Regional Director of IT at the Four Seasons Sydney, Frazer introduced many key IT solutions and interfaces we now consider business essentials on a daily basis. Frazer returned to NZ in 2013 working as Rooms Division Manager at Chateau Tongariro.

View bio Seamus Barden

Co-founder/Director
Fr@nk Innovation & Transformation

Seamus Barden's biography

Co-founder/Director
Fr@nk Innovation & Transformation

Seamus is co-founder, director and ‘left hand’ of Fr@nk Innovation and Technology.  With extensive experience in IT and construction programme management, Seamus brings a combination of hands-on leadership and practical knowledge to all his clients. Combined with expertise in strategic thinking and seeing the big picture, Seamus cuts through bureaucracy (and resistance to change) with his common sense approach, well thought out plans, and uncontestable logic. A genuine ability to communicate with people at all levels enables Seamus to gain cross-organisational buy-in and successfully deliver transformational initiatives into business as usual. 

View bio James Donald

Co-Founder
Yonder

James Donald's biography

Co-Founder
Yonder

James is the Co-founder of Yonder, helping tourism providers deliver exceptional customer service 24-7, through chat.  He is focused on using technology, like Artificial Intelligence, to help solve problems and deliver exceptional user experiences for tourism providers like hotels and activities.  James trained as an Engineer at the University of Auckland and worked in the oil and gas industry for 12 years around Europe, Russia and New Zealand leading large projects and technical teams.  James saw an opportunity to use his skill set together with Letitia Stevenson.  For 3 years they've been helping solve problems for tourism businesses, and founded Yonder in 2018.   

View bio David Visser

Senior Account Manager
Booking.com

David Visser's biography

Senior Account Manager
Booking.com

David Visser leads the South Island team as a Senior Account Manager in the Auckland office for Booking.com. David started his career in the hotel industry over 10 years ago and joined Booking.com in 2011 as part of the opening team for the New Zealand office. He has worked in a variety of roles including connectivity and account management. 

View bio Andy Higgs

GM Strategic Partnerships
Centrality

Andy Higgs's biography

GM Strategic Partnerships
Centrality

Centrality is a blockchain venture studio on a mission to make a positive change in the world. Andy’s international experience includes Deloitte Consulting, MTV Networks Europe and co-founding Accelerate Sport (now CSM), developing global sport and entertainment rights based in London.

View bio Les Morgan

Chief Operating Officer
Sudima Hotels/ Hind Management

Les Morgan's biography

Chief Operating Officer
Sudima Hotels/ Hind Management

Les Morgan is the Chief Operating Officer of Sudima Hotels and Hind Management. The Group has an annual turnover in excess of $50m and employs over 450 people. Sudima Hotels is currently is undergoing a significant expansion phase with numerous new Hotels under development, and is contracted to have 1,600+ rooms under management by 2021.

Les recognises that whilst commercial success is a primary function of any business; strong organisational values and community empathy are vital ingredients to a healthy prosperous company. 

Les is a previous recipient of a Westpac Excellence in Leadership Award, was the 2018 Winner of NZ Hotel - Industry Senior Hotel Executive Award and recently received the Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Tourism Industry Champion Award.

Originally from Rotorua, he now resides in Auckland. He holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a Sommelier by trade. His background includes experience in 3 to 5 Star Hotels from boutique to substantial in both the UK and New Zealand with several of the World’s leading Hotel Brands.

 

View bio Claire Thomson

Account Manager - New Zealand
Google

Claire Thomson's biography

Account Manager - New Zealand
Google

Claire has worked with Google for over seven years, in their Sydney, Toronto and Auckland offices, returning home a few years ago to raise a family in rural Auckland (yes that does still exist). Claire is passionate about sharing how technology can future proof and grow businesses, and especially keen to increase New Zealand's digital literacy.

View bio Adrian Caruso

Founder, Managing Director
Fastrack Group

Adrian Caruso's biography

Founder, Managing Director
Fastrack Group

Adrian is founder and CEO of Australasia's leading travel, tourism and hospitality full-service marketing and communications firm, Fastrack Group.

Adrian is a highly experienced and respected travel, tourism and hospitality digital marketing, media and communications expert with over 25 years in the industry. He is also a management consultant and strategist. 

Sally Attfield

Hotel Sector Manager
Tourism Industry Aotearoa

View bio Paul Hammond

Business Development Manager, Pacific
STR

Paul Hammond's biography

Business Development Manager, Pacific
STR

Paul Hammond is the Business Development Manager, Pacific at STR, a global company who collects performance data from accommodation properties all over the world and provides aggregated reports and insights on market performance for accommodation providers and custom groups, which enables them to make better business decisions. Paul has over 20 years of experience in tourism & hospitality, and previously he worked for almost 10 years in the Online Travel (OTA) industry with global companies Orbitz, part of the Expedia Group, and Booking.com, as well as over 2 years in a major sports project with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) organising committee. Paul has also held several management and sales & marketing roles with numerous Hotels and Hotel Chains internationally and in Australia including Palazzo Versace, Hyatt, and Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).

View bio Rodney Williams

Commercial Director
ARMA

Rodney Williams's biography

Commercial Director
ARMA

With over 30 years involvement in commercial aviation, working for both major carriers in Australia - Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia – Rodney has held a number of management roles covering areas such as Loyalty (Frequent Flyer), Alliances, Network Development, Revenue Management (Pricing & Inventory), Corporate Planning, Revenue Planning, Network Planning & Analysis, Route Economics, Resource Planning and Finance and spent three years in the USA as Manager Market Planning The Americas.

View bio Graham Perry

Managing Director, Australasia
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Graham Perry's biography

Managing Director, Australasia
Best Western Hotels & Resorts

Graham is a seasoned executive leader with experience working across the global travel, tourism, media and hospitality sectors.  The thread that flows through his career is his passion for marketing and the ever-evolving travel distribution and technology landscape.

From 2016 Graham has worked with a number of successful travel start-ups including eRoam who are applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to transform travel distribution. He was appointed Managing Director, Australasia for Best Western Hotels & Resorts in May 2018.

View bio Adam Cunningham

Managing Director
Motive World

Adam Cunningham's biography

Managing Director
Motive World

Adam is the owner of several service related businesses throughout New Zealand, including a multi-site hotel and serviced apartment provider, urban backpacker, conference centre, online marketing group and business development consulting company. He has written training material for the service sector for 20 years and facilitated more than 10,000 people in the art of soft skills.

View bio Pablo de la Vega

Account Manager - New Zealand
Google

Pablo de la Vega 's biography

Account Manager - New Zealand
Google

Pablo has worked with Google for six years, in their Dublin, Paris, Manila and Auckland offices. He has worked 3 years with Advertisers from the travel industry in Europe and is now looking after Financial Services advertisers in New Zealand. Pablo specializes in digital performance marketing or how to maximize his advertisers Return on investment with Google.

View bio Stuart Davidson

Territory Sales Manager
Kentico Software

Stuart Davidson's biography

Territory Sales Manager
Kentico Software

Stuart Davidson is a Territory Sales Manager for Kentico Software, a fully integrated all-in-one ASP.NET CMS, E-commerce and Digital Experience platform. Kentico prides itself on enabling its customers to create cutting-edge and highly personalised digital experiences across web and other digital channels. Kentico is trusted by some of the most recognisable brands in Australia and across the world, including LJ Hooker, Twining’s, ME Bank and Red Cross.

Stuart has a background in Financial Services and has over 6 years experience in the digital space. He has a Bachelor of International Business from LaTrobe University and Master of Diplomacy and Trade from Monash University.

View bio AJ Shantiratnam

Senior Account Manager
Tripadvisor

AJ Shantiratnam's biography

Senior Account Manager
Tripadvisor

AJ Shantiratnam is Senior Account Manager for TripAdvisor in Australia. AJ manages click-based advertising business for hotel chains and OTAs in Australia.With a blend of experience working for large OTA and hotel chains, AJ has over 10 years’ experience in the travel industry which he capitalises with his passion for data and business analysis. AJ has previously worked for Agoda.com and Frasers Hospitality leading account management and e-commerce performance.

View bio Fabian Bartnick

Vice President of Asia Pacific & Commercials
LodgIQ

Fabian Bartnick's biography

Vice President of Asia Pacific & Commercials
LodgIQ

Fabian is the Vice President of Asia Pacific & Commercials overlooking all aspects and operations within the region as well as the commercial part of LodgIQ. Fabian’s career covers all sides within hospitality including property, regional and corporate level roles as well as consulting and technology vendor roles across 4 continents and 25 countries. Fabian has helped built and apply price optimization, visual analytics and total revenue management tools across the globe and successfully turned around revenue performance in many companies by providing strategic consulting services as well developing powerful revenue analytics solutions that empower the business to maximize its revenue potential. Fabian has been on the Board of Directors for HSMAI South East Asa and currently sits on the HSMAI Advisory Board.

View bio Mauro Risch

Hotel & Resort Photographer
The Hotel Photographer

Mauro Risch's biography

Hotel & Resort Photographer
The Hotel Photographer

Over the last decade, Mauro Risch has become known simply as The Hotel Photographer. With 50 000 followers on Instagram, Mauro Risch enjoys a highly engaged following and one of the most popular hotel and resort photographers on social media. He is trusted by PR and marketing teams, hotel managers and executive brand teams right across the Asia Pacific region. Mauro is the preferred photographer for some of the top operators across the industry, including IHG, Accor, Wyndham, Radisson, Meriton and TFE.

View bio Essen Tsou

Digital Marketing Manager
Fastrack Group

Essen Tsou's biography

Digital Marketing Manager
Fastrack Group

Essen has a wealth of knowledge in digital marketing for the hotel and travel industry. Essen has over 5 years digital marketing experience in the hotel/travel industry, previously working within the Global Marketing Team at Expedia. Essen brings in her expertise across online acquisition channels, including paid media, remarketing and social direct response.

View bio Gerard Smith

Business Development Manager
Fastrack Group

Gerard Smith's biography

Business Development Manager
Fastrack Group

A business development and relationship specialist, Gerard has held senior management roles in some of New Zealand’s leading digital agencies, before returning to Brisbane after 12+ years. More recently Gerard has held senior management roles with some of Australasia's leading digital agencies, where he focussed on building successful commercial partnerships with leading tourism organisations, including Tourism New Zealand, Real Journeys, Skyline Enterprises and Hobbiton, to name a few.

More Speakers to be Announced


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