OpenTravel Advisory Forum

October 23-25th, 2017
Enabling the Future of the Connected Consumer

Omni Championsgate, Orlando, Florida

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Hotel Reservations

OpenTravel will be co-locating our Forum with the HFTP Annual Convention, and we are using their housing bureau. For the best rate, please click here to book your hotel.

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OpenTravel Challenge

To develop a culture of innovation and creative thinking in where boundaries and constraints are removed and teams are given the freedom to collaborate and think about the problems in the industry and propose innovative solutions to resolve those problems utilizing OpenTravel Standards.

Challenge – The Evolution of Connectivity in the Travel Industry
Join our first team-based Challenge to evolve OpenTravel’s ability to respond to disruption and innovation in technology. Bring your ideas to accelerate awareness, implementation and global adoption of current and future OpenTravel standards. As a team or alone, stand and be recognized as you deliver your solution to the judges and your peers. Each team has the potential to collaborate and influence the direction of OpenTravel and its integral role in the travel distribution ecosystem.

Click Here to Learn About Our OpenTravel Challenge


Gene Quinn – Keynote Speaker, Moderator of the OpenTravel Challenge

Gene Quinn is a pioneer in digital media, technology and financial services and e-commerce. He is Co-Founder and former CEO of Tnooz and led the company from launch in 2009 through 2016.

Tnooz is the leading source of news and analysis about technology and its impact on the global digital travel economy. As a global B2B media brand, Tnooz tracks innovation and disruption in the travel industry through the lens of devices, distribution, marketing, social platforms, startups and systems.

Gene was an investor and chairman of the board of Phocuswright from 2000 to 2012, when the company was acquired by Northstar Travel Media. Through its widely recognized travel research and leading executive conference, Phocuswright remains an industry thought leader.

In the 1990s, Gene was a pioneer in digital transformation of the media and financial services industries at Trbune Company in Chicago. As a member of the company’s digital strategy team, he was part of early-stage investments in new media, banking and e-commerce companies, including America Online, Checkfree, Open Market, Excite, iVillage and Peapod.

In 1997, he was named the first Senior Vice President, Online and Interactive at MTV Networks, home of Viacom’s global entertainment brands MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and TVLand. He developed web media platforms for the brands and led business development and content partnerships with Yahoo, AOL, Intel, Microsoft and other technology and distribution companies.

Since 1999, Gene has been a private investor and adviser to public and private companies in travel, media, marketing, financial services and web technology. In addition to chairing Phocuswright, he was advisory board chairman of BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth marketing leader acquired by Tesco’s Dunnhumby agency, and adviser to Newtrade Technologies, a hotel marketing platform acquired by Expedia, and adviser to Monetate, a provider of retailing personalization software.

Gene’s governance background includes: director of public companies Checkfree and Open Market; director of private companies Tnooz and PhoCusWright; chairman/director of the trade group Interactive Services Association and non-profit conservation group Henry’s Fork Foundation; member of advisory boards of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), the birthplace of the Mosaic web browser, and the MIT Media Lab.

He holds a BA in English literature from the University of Delaware and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.


Robert Cole – Keynote Speaker, Founder of RockCheetah

Robert Cole is founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice that diligently attempts to prove that marketing, travel technology, quality service & profitability can peacefully coexist.

RockCheetah’s clients have included organizations such as Marriott International, National Geographic, Amadeus IT Group and a small group of travel industry investors. Robert also serves as Phocuswright’s Senior Research Analyst for Lodging and Leisure Travel.

Highlights of Robert’s hospitality experience include heading marketing planning for Four Seasons Hotels, leading Sabre’s hotel line of business, launching dynamic packaging pioneer Neat Group, and overseeing destination product contracting for Mark Travel’s vacation brands.

Robert has been involved in multiple travel industry initiatives, serving as a founding OpenTravel Alliance interoperability committee member, on the HEDNA Board of Directors, the HSMAI Digital Marketing Committee and Adrian Awards Platinum/Best of Show judge.

Aside from his consulting, Robert also publishes the Views from a Corner Suite blog, Travel Quote of the Day, a RockCheetah Twitter travel information firehose and travel image collection on Tumblr.


Buddy Altus – Vice President Distribution, Avis Budget Group

Buddy Altus is Director of Electronic Distribution in the Online Marketing Group at the Avis Budget Group. Mr. Altus’ responsibilities include managing product development and business from third party e-commerce applications and services. This includes ABG’s XML interface, the private label booking engine used by airlines, corporate accounts, and travel agencies, ABG mobile sites, and Global Distribution Systems.

Mr. Altus’ experience prior to ABG includes e-commerce companies in music and content protection and another in group buying. Additionally, he spent 10 years at American Express where he was part of the team that developed AXI, American Express’ first corporate booking tool. Before Mr. Altus moved to travel and e-commerce he developed programming language software at Intermetric.


Susanne Auigner – Senior Advisor, Partner Management, DB Systel GmbH

Susanne Auinger, MBA is Senior Advisor of Partner Management/Alliances in the Division Portfolio and Partner Management of DB Systel GmbH, the IT service provider of Deutsche Bahn. She is responsible for the new tactical and and strategic partnerships for the DB IT – Environment focused on digitalization of 4.0 and future technologies including direct responsibility of defined key partners. Before taking over her new task in 2016, she was the Head of Sales Channel Management and spent 5 years leading an expert team in sourcing.

Susanne received her Master’s degree from the University of Applied Sciences Landshut in Germany in cooperation with the University of San Diego. She gained experience as a domain expert and as a leader in ICT marketing and sales managing international sourcing projects and and key account business as well as cooperation partners.

She also drives the DBS participation in the EU research project MASAI (mobility based on aggregation of services and application interconnection) under the European Chapter H2020, analyzing mew technologies and investigating and developing tools to enable a seamless travel experience in Europe.

Jim Jandrew – Service Owner, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

Jim is a skilled business technologist with more than 25 years progressive experience in a variety of industries. He is regarded as an independent, strong direction setter, self-motivated, and a conscientious technology professional with strong business acumen and customer focus.

As Disney’s subject matter expert for travel distributor integrations, Jim is an ardent proponent of the OpenTravel interfaces. Through his expertise, in the development of B2B specifications, establishing strong communication protocols, and industry leading best practices and ability to drive tactical and strategic direction enabled Disney to successfully introduce the OpenTravel interfaces to new travel distributors and expand OTA integrations by nearly 400% over the past 2 years. At the same time, he led Disney’s effort to increase utilization of OTA interfaces features by transitioning from manual processes to communicate hotel rates and descriptive information to travel distributors to automated notifications.


Greg Poirier – Director, Xenia Hospitality – A Hospitality Travel & Global Wine Industry Specialist

Over the course of his career, he has worked in hotel operations for over 20 years with major companies such as Hyatt Hotels and Walt Disney Resorts, and consulted on technology strategies for customers globally.

Married with two children, he lives on the North Shore of Boston, MA.

As an aside, he also fed an insatiable curiosity and interest in wine while completing a Masters of Business Administration Wine & Spirits Program from Ecole de Management in Bordeaux, France now KEDGE.

A generalist by nature with a background in hospitality and travel technology, he is in constant pursuit of advanced technologies that solve industry challenges of today and tomorrow.


David Sjolander – COO, HTNG

As Chief Operating Officer, David is responsible for driving the operational execution of HTNG’s mission. David is a lifelong hotelier with deep background in hotel technology, distribution and operations. He has held senior executive positions with several industry suppliers, such as Pegasus, TravelClick and Fidelio, as well as leading hotel chains Carlson Hospitality and Hyatt.

David holds a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Denver and an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He also serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management at the University of Denver.


Mike Tinkey – CEO, OpenTravel

Mike Tinkey is the CEO of The OpenTravel Alliance which enables the future of travel connectivity for air, hospitality/lodging, rental car, rail, ground transportation, golf, spa, tennis, and other leisure experiences, and other activities by driving the evolving digital experience for consumers. Mike works collaboratively to build alliances to implement open standards of interoperability between travel verticals to increase speed to market of products and services, create efficiencies, and provide more distribution options for businesses and more choices for customers.

Mike Tinkey is a Principal of TinkeyWorks where he is using his proven ability to forge relationships, solve problems, and capitalize on business opportunities to create beneficial outcomes for those he serves.

Most recently serving as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association “NGCOA”, Mike also was previously on their Board of Directors. Working tirelessly to benefit the best interests of golf facility owners and operators and the golf industry as a whole he has been a dedicated and resourceful leader focused on facilitating member engagement and building bridges with suppliers and allied associations locally, nationally, and internationally for the past 24 years. Mike was instrumental in the NGCOA’s technology, multicourse, and business development, while spearheading many allied association relationships.

Mike is a frequent speaker on golf, tennis, and hospitality industry issues and trends, marketing and business development communications, digital distribution in travel industries, and growing revenue through traditional means as well as through innovation and technology.

As a former resort top executive officer, Mike served in the capacity of Chief Operating Officer and President of several coastal resorts in South Carolina, as President of the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association and the Low Country Golf Course Owners Association, and on various hospitality and charity boards.

Mike has also served and is currently active on a number of advisory and elective boards at the state and national level in golf, hospitality and tourism industries including Golf 2020, We Are Golf, the Golf Industry Show, and the National Alliance for Accessible Golf.

Mike has also been a tennis professional and Director of Tennis in the private and resort sector, been and international tennis tournament Director, international tennis coach, active as a volunteer in various tennis associations, and offered the position to be the director of the tennis operations for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, GA.

Residing in the Charleston, South Carolina area with his family, Mike also is engaged in a family business, Tinkey Timberlands.


David Velasquez – SVP, Technology and Distribution

David Velasquez is senior vice president of technology and distribution for LinksRez. He is responsible for the organization’s overall technology strategy, operations, and product development. His focus is on managing and delivering high-performance and reliable technology-based solutions for LinksRez clients and partners.

Passionate about technology, Velasquez is a 21-year hospitality IT / 26-yeat IT veteran. Prior to joining LinksRez, he was with Best Western Hotels, serving as Vice President of IT overseeing many aspects of the technology organization including infrastructure, security, service desk, vendor management, and IT processes. He also held several positions early in his hospitality focused career with Wyndham Hotel Group through the years where the company was known as HFS, Inc. and Cendant Corporation. This included overseeing the company’s data center, telecommunications network, service desk and central reservation systems. Before joining Cendant, he began his IT career with MicroAge Corporation, focused on automation and systems integration.

In addition to his core focus as an IT executive, Velasquez participates in multiple industry focused organizations including HTNG and OpenTravel Alliance. Most recently, he has taken the position of chair, leading the HTNG Next Generation Distribution Messaging initiative having a focus on reviewing messaging standards utilized within the hotel and travel industries. He has also served as a Board Governor for HTNG from 2014 through 2016 and participated in HTNG infrastructure workgroups. He is current a participant in the OpenTravel 2.0 messaging project.


Jing Zhu – Founder and Chairperson of CHTA

Jing Zhu is the Founder and Chairperson of CHTA, which aims to build the industry standard and future platform by all talents here in China and worldwide, yet to connect echo systems together with leading-edge technologies in making travel and hospitality a much better space.

Jing has been a CEO in the hospitality business for more than 10 years. She has received numerous awards, including Most Innovative Industry Leader in China. She was also recognized by HITEC/HFTP as one of the most outstanding women in the global hospitality technology field.

Jing has a telecom engineering master’s degree and EMBA certificate. She has a passion for sports and recently has been working toward completing the World Marathon Majors.

About CHTA

CHTA is a non-profit organization with a strong focus on leading-edge Chinese technologies, which aims to set the standards in servicing the industry globally. CHTA is a vehicle through which Western technologies can be effectively deployed to properties in China, not only international chains but also local Chinese ones. CHTA consists of a group of leading hoteliers, developers, and technology vendors who strive to bring the true value to hotel guests and the business. CHTA is strongly supported by numerous volunteers from both membership companies and non-membership individuals. For more info about CHTA please visit: