OpenTravel Advisory Forum Amsterdam 2018
Enabling the Future of the Connected Consumer Experience

The OpenTravel Advisory Forum took place April 11-13, 2018
OpenTravel co-located our Forum with the HFTP and HiTec Amsterdam.

To see Presentations from the Forum:

Thank You to Our Speakers

Alexander Aigner – Interim Manager, DB Systel GmbH

The first 13 years of my career were in the technology industry where I worked as a consultant and software developer mainly for the building and transport industry in Austria, Luxembourg, Poland and the US. My final role was General Manager of a 20-employees GPS technology company.

For the last 7 years I operated as a flexible, technology-oriented and customer-focused interim manager and helped companies to develop technology products and services at an early stage. Thereby I have helped clients in all aspects of an early stage project:

  • International project management
  • Raising capital (Mezzanine, Venture, Loans, Grants)
  • Establish international sales partnerships
  • Sourcing developers globally
  • Setting up and streamlining business processes.

I worked with more than 50 clients, raised more than €20 million for early stage products and services, and established sales partnerships in more than 20 countries including UK, US, Eastern Europe, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Clients have included: Deutsche Bahn (German railway), Verisign, Coca Cola, Star Alliance, City of Vienna, Lionel Richie, Universal Music, and Kastelruther Spatzen.

João Almeida – President, MASAI Mobility Community

User experience and interconnection in the rail passenger service will go far beyond the need of simple interoperability between the different fragmented rail organizations throughout Europe.

Similar to other verticals, the passenger transfer has to speed up and create new and flexible models, combining different mobility services, through mobile and web based interaction to keep future customers attracted.

How to meet this Challenge?

This session gives you the insight on the approach, actions and measurements of DB Systel, the IT Service Provider of the Deutsche Bahn Holding (German rail), Germany in cooperation with other European partners on how to help its customers and stakeholders to reposition in a disruptive market, by targeting the harmonization with other European rail systems and interfaces, the combination with other mobility related services, on a more complete use-case and richer user-experience interaction, for example, via chat-bots.

By the end of 2015, together with 4 European Partners, DB Systel stepped into a research adventure of MASAI Project. Sponsored by the European Commission the MASAI project aims on providing specifications and tools to enable openly stakeholders to build the travel of the future, which means from the customers point of view: no boundaries between verticals, personalization and interaction by using digital concierges. Three European Pilots are being setup to show the operability of the idea until May 2018.

DBS and MASAI demonstrate their activities in Europe and is also demonstrating the value and the role of Open Travel Alliance on how it supports and contributes to the realization of the customer journey, dealing with different verticals, creating user experience.

The results will be openly shared via MASAI Mobility Community (M2C) which is cooperating, since the beginning, with Open Travel Alliance (OTA), by either reusing existing tools or complementing specifications and tools.

Hear about the outlook on further steps of cooperation that might bring momentum to the seamless travel.

Buddy Altus – VP Innovation Customer & Partner e-Commerce, Avis Budget Group, OpenTravel Alliance Executive Committee Vice Chair


Mr. Altus joined the Innovation Group of Avis Budget Group in July of 2017, where his team builds the e-commerce applications and interfaces that make it easy for partners and customers to integrate with, use, and access Avis Budget Group’s products and services. Previously, he served as vice president in the Marketing Group where he led Distribution and Product Development and was responsible for Avis Budget Group’s XML interface and private label booking engines used by airlines, hotels, travel agents and credit card companies.

Mr. Altus also led the integration of Concur’s TripIt to Avis.com, as well as enabling enrollment in Avis Preferred directly from Concur, and the launch of Avis support for Concur’s TripLink. Mr. Altus also initiated, directed, and launched the integration of digital wallets from MasterCard, American Express and VISA for the Avis and Budget websites as well as for Avis’ IOS and Android Apps.

Prior to Avis Budget Group, Mr. Altus held e-commerce roles at American Express where he was Director of Marketing for AXI, the first corporate booking tool developed by Expedia and American Express. He was also an executive at two startups: one in group buying and the other in music distribution. Mr. Altus has served on the Board of the OpenTravel Alliance for the past 8 years and is currently Vice Chair. He holds degrees in Computer Science from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

Sandy Angel – Director of Specifications, OpenTravel

Sandy is the Specification Manager for the OpenTravel Alliance. Her responsibilities include managing workgroups, project teams and committees as well as developing and publishing both the 1.0 and 2.0 Specifications.

Sandy is also currently the Web Services Architect for Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) with her focus being primarily on the Software Forum Workgroups and acts as a liaison between the two organizations. She has extensive experience in the hotel industry working for Marriott International for over 20 years holding many different positions within operations, reservations sales and information technology.

Sandy graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hotel Restaurant Management. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons.

Paul Armitage – General Manager, Le Golf National

Paul has been living in France since graduating from University in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK in 1991, and has worked within the Golf industry for 20 of these 26 years.

He has progressed through many golf operational roles, and to venue management, central marketing management, and regional management for chains and group operations.

Before taking his current role with the French Golf Federation as General Manager at Le Golf National in September 2014, Paul was the Managing Director for a network of French Golf Courses called LeClub Golf, owned by NGFGolf (U Golf). Under Paul’s leadership LeClub Golf grew from 45 Golf courses to 120 within the French Network alone,

Paul was brought into Le Golf National four years in advance of France’s hosting of Golf’s greatest team event – The Ryder Cup 2018 – to work with the Federation and prepare the venue both physically and operationally to host the Event and capture every opportunity that will arise. Paul will lead Le Golf National throughout its path of re-positioning, as well as with the creation of a new commercial strategy to accompany its vision of becoming France’s premier golfing facility, and a model for the rest of the French Golf Industry to look up to in 2018 and beyond.

Susanne Auinger – Senior Advisor, Partner Management DB Systel GmbH and Chairperson of OpenTravel

Today she is in the response of building up new tactical and strategical partnerships for the DB IT – Enviroment focused on digitalisation 4.0 and future technologies including direct responsibility of defined key partner accounts, actually IBM and SAP. Before taking over her new task mid of 2016 she owned the position head of sales channel management at DB Systel.

Susanne received her Masters degree from University Munic/ Landshut Germany in cooperation with the USD, San Diego USA. She gained long year experience as domain expert and in different leading positions in ICT Marketing and Sales, managing international sourcing projects and key account business as well as cooperation partners.

Beside her position as Senior Advisor she 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 new technologies, investigating and developing tools and instruments to enable future seamless travel experience in Europe.

Susanne was born in Paris in April 1963 and grew up in France, Japan, and Germany. Today Susanne lives in Würzburg, working in Frankfurt, Germany. She is married and has one child.


Vittorio Carta – Manager European Projects and Committees, Deutsche Bahn AG

Vittorio Carta holds Italian and German passports and has an electrical engineering degree as well as an MBA. Vittorio has been working for more than 15 years in commercial and technical positions within Deutsche Bahn Group. His last ten years were focused on international passenger transport matters and from 2011 to last December he held the position of New Business Development Executive at Arriva PLC in London and Frankfurt.

Vittorio is currently acting as Full Service Model (FSM) Initiative Manager. FSM is a key element of the rail sector’s response to the increasing demands for improving access to rail distribution. The aim of FSM is about implementing the specified online interface between rail distribution players to improve rail customer’s travelling experience and create growth opportunities for rail in Europe.

Additionally to that Vittorio is the General Manager of the TAP TSI Services Governance Association (TSGA), a legal entity as an answer of the rail sector to the TAP TSI regulatory requirements in order to ensure access to fundamental rail data in a non-discriminatory way.

Emmanuel de Verdalle – Program Manager, ITxPT Consortium

Emmanuel is co-founder and ITS program manager of DIGIMOBEE. DIGIMOBEE provides engineering and software modules to improve operational performance of Public Transport networks and client experience in sustainable mobility.

Emmanuel was responsible for the “ITS architecture” work package in the EBSF and 3iBS European projects: he has coordinated the researches of 25 members to define common technical specifications and to build an integrated testbench. He has also worked on ITS systems design and development like AVMS, bus priority, eco-driving and remote diagnostic.

Emmanuel coordinates European and French ITS projects. He’s a key contributor to the Public Transport community working on onboard ITS architecture through CEN standardization group (TC278 WG3 SG1 working on EN13149 standard).

Emmanuel is now Topic Research Advisor of EBSF_2 European project on IT Standard Introduction in existing fleets & intelligent garage and predictive maintenance.

Emmanuel is the Exploitation Manager of the ITxPT association, www.itxpt.org. ITxPT federates Public Transport stakeholders to support the deployment of IT standards and good practices for plug-and-play IT-systems in Public Transport.

Jacob Dreyband – Sr. Director Software Development, Versonix Corp., USA

Jacob Dreyband is an Executive Information Technology Professional with many years of experience in the areas of large scale distributes systems, Cloud Computing, BPM, SaaS, global system architecture, product development, project management and software development management.

Jacob works for Versonix Corp, the leader in providing state of the art reservation services for the world’s largest ferry and cruise lines, resorts and transportation companies. Jacob manages migration of core system to modern technology and its cloud enablement and is responsible for both local and remote software R&D and QA in new technology area.

Prior to Versonix Corp, Jacob served as a CTO at Eccentex Corp, where he managed its engineering team and development of an award winning PaaS and SaaS technology for the Dynamic Case Management. In the course of his professional career, Jacob successfully authored, developed and delivered to the market a range of innovative and competitive products in the area of middleware and large scale distributed systems for both enterprise and embedded solutions. As part of the teams he worked with in past, he was also an active contributor to standards bodies in the area of messaging, BPEL and few others.

Alvaro Hidalgo – Managing Partner, First Logic

With 30 years of global business experience and public & private sector expertise in Corporate Finance & Privatization with Credit Lyonnais and World Bank/UNOPS, Alvaro moved towards the Hospitality industry leading large Resort & Transformation Projects in Spain, Morocco & Brazil. As Managing Partner of FIRST LOGIC Consulting, his firm provides Strategic & Financial advisory to the Hospitality industry in Market Entry & Greenfield projects as well as Restructuring & Turnarounds.

His expertise in the implementation of Traceability Processes led him to Identification & Identity projects and thus to the application of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

He contributes to HFTP and, as Chair of Task force GDPR & Hospitality DPO, he leads the HFTP´s project to guide the Hospitality industry through its adaptation to the new legal framework.

Alvaro also collaborates with Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, teaching in the Postgraduate & Executive Programs.

Daniel Johnson – Partner/Co-Founder, VENZA

As Partner and Co-Founder of VENZA, Daniel Johnson aims to bring innovative solutions to global organizations. He harnesses creativity and sensibility to formulate and operationalize industry-wide best practices. His function revolves around developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining VENZA’s strategic initiatives.

Daniel is honored to co-chair the HTNG GDPR Work Group as well as be a member of the HFTP GDPR-HDPO Task Force.

Daniel Johnson is a graduate of the University of Augsburg, US, (BA) and the University of Bristol, UK, (MSc).

Christian Kameir

Christian Kameir led the merger of two of Europe’s first Internet service providers as general counsel for NIKOMA, today the largest European ISP in 2000.

After founding Yelp-predecessor Colizer in 2004, and selling the operation in 2008, Chris joined the board of several high-tech companies. In addition to majoring in business, Chris graduated from Muenster’s School of Law.

Chris is a guest lecturer at the Rady School of Business (UCSD), speaker and writer for technology magazines covering topics from artificial intelligence to blockchain technologies.

Brian Lewis – CTO, OpenJaw

A technologist who started his career writing video games, Brian has over 20 years’ experience in travel technology.

Having been heavily involved in SITA’s Blockchain implementations and PoCs, he has knowledge of both the low level technical intricacies of the technology as well as regulatory and industry implications of its adoption.

As CTO of OpenJaw Technologies his current focus is Asia and the rolling out of e-Commerce platforms at scale to the Chinese airline market.

Arriën Kruyt – Chairman of Rover, the Netherlands Union of Public Transport Users and Member of the Management Board of the European Passengers Federation

Gene Quinn – Advisory Board, WayBlazer and OpenTravel

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.

Vanni Sanvincenti – Lead NDC Architect, International Air Transport Association “IATA”

Vanni brings 14 years of experience in IT and business architecture into his current role with IATA’s standards setting activities. He has a broad domain experience in messaging standards and integration architecture and is now driving technical streams within the NDC program.





Kevin Thomas – Head of Architecture, Travelport Digital

Over 25 years’ experience having held a number of leadership positions in a variety of technology organisations that included Chief Technology Officer at Minds and Machines, Head of Operations at Aviareto and Chief Technology Officer at Data Electronics. He has a Master Degree in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Staffordshire and an MBA from Imperial College London.




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.

Most recently serving for 24 years as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Golf Course Owners Association “NGCOA,” 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.

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

Dee Waddell – Global Managing Director, Travel & Transportation Industries, IBM

As Global Managing Director for IBM’s Travel & Transportation Industries, Dee Waddell is responsible for IBM’s global business in all industry segments within travel and transportation and leads IBM’s global accounts in developing and delivering industry-leading solutions and services. Industry segments include airlines, airports, railroads, freight carriers, logistics providers, port authorities, hotels, cruise lines, car rental companies, travel agents, and global distribution systems.

Dee has extensive leadership experience in the Travel and Transportation industry, having served in senior business and technology global leadership roles at Amtrak and United Airlines. Most recently he served as Senior Vice President, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Universal Weather and Aviation, a global leader in the business aviation industry, and transformed the global approach to digital technology leveraging next-generation design-thinking and customer experience strategies.

At Amtrak, Dee served as Group Chief Information Officer and led the widely-acclaimed digital transformation of the 120+ year-old paper-and-punch ticketing process with a next-generation iPhone eTicketing and reservation solution, enabling a complete “paperless” journey for customers and onboard conductors. At United Airlines, Dee served in leadership roles for united.com and MileagePlus, including having responsibility for global ecommerce revenue of nearly $3b. He has also served in business and technology leadership roles in other major organizations including Motorola, Accenture and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Dee and his teams have been widely recognized for their accomplishments in leadership and innovation, including awards from CIO Magazine (“CIO 100″ award in 2015 and 2012 and “Ones to Watch” in 2009 with special distinction as stand-out winner in team building), Computerworld Magazine (Premier 100 IT Leader in 2013), and also from InformationWeek Magazine (IW500 in 2012 and 2011).

Dee is a life-long learner and holds a Doctorate in Management and BA in Information Systems from the University of Maryland University College and an MBA in Strategic Management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also fluent in Japanese, having lived in Japan for six years. Dee currently resides in Houston, Texas, USA.

Stuart Waldron – VP System Architecture Travelport, OpenTravel Board member

Stuart Waldron is the VP of Technical Architecture at Travelport leading the transformation of travel content acquisition and distribution. He is also a former board member of the OTA and longtime member of the OTA architecture work group.

Prior to this, Stu was the lead architect at Amtrak for ResNG on their next generation reservation effort, leading internal and external (OTA) efforts to define a rail common service model for commodity reservation functions. Before that, Stu was the architect for global Travel and Transportation in the IBM Distribution Industry business unit. He was the overall technical lead for IBM solutions, relative to the travel and transportation industry (air, car, hotel, ground), including a travel industry framework and rail offerings. Stu was responsible for coordinating the various technical and product teams in IBM, as well as IBM strategic partners. Stu left IBM after 23 years as a Senior Technical Staff Member and was a member of the Enterprise Software Architecture Board and other technical forums.

Stu has over 30 years experience in the T&T industry, starting in 1977. He has been deeply involved in every major upgrade of reservation and departure control systems for the North American airlines and active with many international carriers as well. Stuart has worked for Eastern, United, and American airlines. He was also chief architect at Sabre responsible for the next generation GDS system. In rail, Stuart has worked at the French railroad (SNCF) to reinvent passenger reservation services to meet the needs of high speed rail traffic. Stuart has also worked with India, China, Italy, Egypt and other rail carriers as they work to modernize their passenger service system.