RSF London Agenda


Monday, November 6th, 2017

8:45a – 9:30a

Registration & Light Refreshments

9:30a – 9:40a

Opening Remarks & Welcome

Michael McCartan
Managing Director – EMEA

9:40a – 10:35a

Cognitive and Predictive Intelligence: How Watson will Change Hospitality – Opening Keynote

With the help of IBM’s Watson, many industries outside of hospitality have been able to push forward into next generation data collection, forecasting and analysis. Learn from one of the foremost experts in the field how Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning have allowed businesses to make better decisions with more insight. Greenstein will discuss how the power of predictive data is leading hotels to a similar transformation. Predictive and Cognitive Analytics will transform the way hoteliers forecast and more accurately anticipate the needs of their guests.

Bret Greenstein
Vice President, Consumer Business
IBM Watson Internet of Things

10:35a – 10:45a


10:45a – 11:45a

Rethinking Hotel Technology – Panel Discussion

As distribution and the technology powering it continues to evolve at breakneck speeds, hoteliers are beginning to realize the architecture they've built and used through the years to manage bookings and guests is not well equipped for today's digital marketplace. Rather than bolting on more solutions to an already fragile ecosystem, innovative hotels are beginning to rethink their tech stack and are looking for ways to better integrate multiple systems in a modern cloud architecture to better personalize offers and experiences for guests. Like health care and the financial services sectors already moving in this direction, hoteliers are seeing the benefits of an open API structure connected in the cloud that provides easier and safer sharing of data, while also enabling more flexibility and the ability to respond rapidly to changing consumer preferences and new technologies. If you could start over from scratch, would your tech stack look like it does today?


Lee Hayhurst
Head of News
Travel Weekly

Marc Fries
VP, Change Management
AHM Hotel Management

Richard Pemberton
Hospitality Technology Consultant
Avenue9 Solutions

Nick Price
Founder, NetSys Technology
CIO, citizenM

11:45a – 12:45p

Brunch & Networking

12:45p – 13:45p

The Untapped Potential of Personalization: A Brand vs. Independent Approach – Panel Discussion

As more guests become accustomed to standard amenities such as free WiFi and complimentary breakfasts, current loyalty programs are becoming a thing of the past. Travelers want more personalized service and hoteliers are yearning to know more about their customers. Building guest profiles that can be shared securely among systems allows hotels to build a special relationship with each and every guest.


Janel Clark

Brian Gore
Director of Brand & Marketing
The Set Hotels

Karen Plumb
Director of Demand & Distribution
Premier Inn

Suzie Thompson
VP Marketing, Distribution & Revenue Mgt
Red Carnation Hotels

13:45p – 13:55p


13:55p – 14:55p

Extreme Customer Centricity in a Networked World – Closing Keynote

Customer behavior has changed and the speed of the market and how companies, themselves, need to become a network if they want to survive. But, above all, companies must put the customer first if they want to be successful. Not just as a nice slogan, but as a rational program of drastic change, in which processes and procedures have to be rethought from scratch: a program in which `digital’ plays a key role in order to give customers what they want in a warm and human manner.

Rik Vera

A certified hotel Revenue Management professional and trainer with a passion for hotels and a wide knowledge of revenue management, distribution and digital marketing.

Janel’s aim is to educate the next generation of hoteliers in the Art and more increasingly the Science of Revenue Management, and to inspire more people to take this path.

Janel has used her extensive practical knowledge to run consultancy services for hotels across the full spectrum, from 5-star chain properties to independent boutique hotels, helping them embed, achieve and exceed best practice. Janel has also been involved in the organisation and management of ‘blue chip’ revenue management training academies throughout EMEA.

A translator of the digital marketing and distribution worlds, enabling hotels to embrace and maximise new technology.

A passionate industry expert, Janel’s role as Head of Education at SnapShot allows her to develop and deliver Educational services in association with academic partners to introduce improved ways for hotels to make commercial decisions

Janel believes that one day, Revenue Managers will rule the world!

After graduation from Lausanne Hotel School and having spent a few years in operations, Marc started to explore the intersection of hotel management and technology 15 years ago, which has ever since fascinated him. After acting on customer side for some years, installing technology for Sunstar Hotels and TUI Hotels & Resorts all over Europe, he switched to the vendor side, helping to grow the start-up hetras, a fully cloud based hotel solution, as director of operations. In his current role as VP Change management for the Swiss consulting and outsourcing specialist AHM AG, he tries to blend experiences from the hospitality and the technology sector, introducing organizational methodologies such as Agile and Scrum to hotels, enabling true hospitality with the use of guest-facing technology and gaining strategic advantages through big data and other innovations.

Bret Greenstein is Vice President of IBM Watson’s Internet of Things Consumer Business, aimed at reaching consumers at scale by establishing new IoT products and volume offerings by tightly collaborating across IBM business units and leveraging capabilities from The Weather Company.

Since joining IBM Watson IoT, Bret and his team have been instrumental in helping industrial clients around the world to design, build, and operate connected things through software solutions and industry expertise. His team was also recognized by industry analysts earning IBM recognition through it’s recent Leadership position on Forrester’s Wave report.

Bret has over 28 years of technology and leadership experience in all aspects of IBM's business; including hardware, software, service delivery, and business transformation. He holds patents in the areas of collaboration systems and is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Masters degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

Lee Hayhurst, Travel Weekly’s head of news, has reported on the industry for the last 11 years covering the cruise, hotel and tour operator and travel agent sectors and most recently focusing on technology and digital as editor of Travolution.

He regularly moderates industry events both in the UK and overseas and heads up the annual Travolution Awards, which takes place in November, as well as the Travolution Summit, a day-long conference held in September.

Michael joined Duetto as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2014 to spearhead the rollout of the revenue strategy technology company throughout the region. He directs the vision and execution of Duetto’s rapid growth there from the company’s London office. Prior to that, he served as CEO of eRevMax and other senior positions there, overseeing the daily operations of the Rate Tiger and Simple Distribution brands.

Before that he served as Vice President of Product Management at Pegasus Solutions. A specialist in software product management, business development, technical pre/post-sales and overall project management, he has over 15 years experience in the hospitality industry. He is a frequent speaker and panelist at major travel industry events across EMEA.  McCartan has an engineering degree from the University of Cape Town and a business degree from the Open University.

Richard has over 25 years of experience at a senior level within Hospitality ICT. He has a strong track record in the design and delivery of new hotel property infrastructure, In-room systems , technology roadmaps, IT strategies and much more. Richard has held senior level roles within Mint Hotels, Principal Hayley and latterly he held the position of ICT Director for Best Western Hotels. His strategic approach has lead to successful IT leadership delivering IT solutions and business process change via emerging technologies.

Richard currently serves as Hospitality Technology Consultant at Avenue9 Solutions which is a part of the JLL Group. His role is primarily focused upon delivering technical and operational strategy consultancy to hotel groups.

Karen Plumb is Premier Inn’s Director of Demand and Distribution, with responsibility for leading a talented team at the UK’s leading hotel chain. Her remit covers demand strategy, corporate sales, distribution eMarketing, eCRM activity and call centre functions as well as overseeing Premier Inn’s highly successful Business Account programme. Prior to joining Premier Inn in 2014, Karen worked at TripAdvisor® where, as part of a global sales remit, she launched the company’s Business Listing product in EMEA.   Karen is a highly experienced professional, with over 20  years spent working for companies in the travel, distribution and hospitality sectors.

Nick Price is the founder of NetSys Technology a software development and technology consulting company focussing on the hospitality and travel sectors. As part of his portfolio of responsibilities, Nick also holds the post of CIO at citizenM ( ), a happening Amsterdam NL based Hotel Company with global aspirations. Nick has worked with citizenM since early 2013 and is responsible for a large and growing set of digital technologies, including traditional IT. Prior to starting NetSys, Nick held the CIO post at Global luxury hotel brand Mandarin Oriental for twelve years where he was fortunate enough to participate in a significant global expansion of the company from its base in Hong Kong. Nick, a UK national, is an inductee in the HFTP (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals) Hall of Fame, and a co-founder and past-president of HTNG (Hotel Technology Next Generation). In late 2016, Nick was elected to the Board of Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP). When not on a plane, Nick can be found at his homes in France or Hong Kong.

Brian has worked within the luxury hotel segment for more than 17 years including roles with groups such as The Leading Hotels of the World, Mandarin Oriental, Langham Hotels, Bulgari Hotels and Resorts.

Inés is a young and talented strategic developer with a very unique vision on hospitality marketing and branding. Inés graduated in Business at Esade Business & Law School in 2008. Tireless and hard-working, at the same time, she is a dreamer and an adventurer. Before even enrolling in business school, Inés had already planned what she wanted this hotel to be like.

After graduating she started working on several hospitality projects, joining the Ace Hotel, New York in 2010. Since then she has worked in a very diverse range of positions, participating first hand in the development of the hotel in New York. Pulling together all of her experience Inés together with her partner Lluís Rullán have put together one of the very first Casa Bonay’s in Barcelona.

Suzie has worked in travel marketing for over 15 years, with previous positions held at Sabre Hospitality Solutions, and Intercontinental Hotels. Suzie has been with Red Carnation Hotels for the past 6 years as Vice President Marketing, Distribution and Revenue Management for a collection of 17 luxury boutique hotels.

Suzie is actively involved in the travel industry and is a member of the HSMAI Europe Digital Marketing Advisory Board. Suzie was recognised as one of the ‘Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing’ in 2013 and Red Carnation Hotels were named ‘Digital Winner’ in 2015 by HSMAI and ‘Digital Leader’ in 2016 at The Caterer’s Digital Vision Awards.

Rik Vera is a renowned thought-leader, advisor and lecturer on the topics of customer-centricity, change management, sales and marketing. Having gathered years of C-level experience in sales and marketing related functions, he inspires companies to develop customer-centric strategies fit for a connected world.

Rik Vera mixes years of business experience at C-level with humor and passion. Rik has an over 20 years C- level experience in sales-marketing and general management in the manufacturing industry. In 2015 he and his business partners Peter Hinssen and Steven Van Belleghem started nexxworks, where Rik is CEO. They travel the world, inspiring companies how to lead in the New Digital World, taking business leaders to innovation hubs like Silicon Valley, ignite frustrated enthusiasts with innovative bootcamps, but above all they encourage companies to get ready for the day after tomorrow.

A limited number of 2017 attendee registrations are available.