EyeforTravel San Francisco 2018

April 2018, San Francisco

Words of wisdom from women in travel

On International Women's Day, EyeforTravel's upcoming speakers and travel industry movers and shakers, share insights

To kick off this month of articles and interviews, ahead of upcoming San Francisco and London shows, we canvassed women who are shaking things up at brands including Cathay Pacific, Expedia, Viator, Choice Hotels and more. There is more in a story published by Tnooz today, but here are some quotable quotes from some of EyeforTravel’s upcoming speakers who shared thoughts on everything from the qualities needed to succeed, to the power of networking, professional priorities, career highlights and the future.

  • The future

“Voice will fundamentally change where the billions of dollars currently spent on advertising go. Companies will compete not on the breadth of the search, but on the accuracy of the recommendations” - Christina Heggie, Investment Principal, Jet Blue Technology Ventures

“Data continues to be a challenge. Connecting sparkly marketing tools with legacy operations systems is a resource heavy task - but one step at a time, we will get there! As an industry, I think we could be better at aligning what we believe about our travel brands / experiences with what the customer believes about our brands / experiences; using semantic analysis of reviews and UGC as a brand mirror...interesting stuff!” - Suzie Thompson Vice President of Marketing, Distribution and Revenue, Red Carnation HotelsThompson

“The next big thing in travel will be better use of information to make the travel inspiration and booking experience more personalised and predictive in real-time.” – Ariane Gorin President - Expedia Partner Solutions brand

“I’m absolutely sure that in the near future chatbots will become an inevitable part of business, they will replace traditional call centres, booking-engines and, in some way, communication with customers.” – Maryna Shumaieva, Co-founder & CTO CruiseBe.com

“Personalisation for consumers, VR and AR. We’ve just finished a tremendously successful VR ad campaign and are looking to expand our reach and continue to innovate with our storytelling capabilities” – Robecta Ma VP – Marketing, Cathay Pacific Airways

  • Professional priorities

“One of my key professional priorities is to continue to champion our brand’s Women at Accor Generation (WAAG) and serve as a mentor within its framework. The network seeks to actively support the women of Accor in personal and professional development. Importantly, it aims to be a medium of solidarity and mutual aid between members, for sharing ideas and experiences freely.” - Michelle Gilman Jasen, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, Accor Hotels

“Like many companies our goal is to share solutions and find common ground in order to take the traveller’s experience to the new level. Personally I remain open to learning new things, studying new programming languages and techniques and tracking innovative trends.” - Shumaieva

“Maximising output, getting as much out of my time as possible. Focusing on what is most important, growing our business and prioritising well-being. The biggest challenge in all this is not moving fast enough - I get so anxious - I like to move fast!” - Krista Pappas, Vice President, Lola

“Empowering people to understand that if we are going to succeed in a market with competition like Google and the OTAs we need too offer far more than just a hotel room. There is so much more we can do – that is the challenge, but we need a shift in mindset. Importantly though, commercial priorities should come first with technology being the enabler.” - Tess Mattisson, Director, European Marketing, Choice Hotels

“The launch of our new hotel API platform (EAN Rapid), growing our partner base, particularly in emerging markets, and maintaining an engaged, high-performing team.” - Gorin

“Measuring marketing efficiencies, tell more business/leisure travel stories about women (there are never enough!), and expanding our market (Washington DC to be launched in September!)” - Ma

  • Career highlights

“Representing travel for Microsoft at the Department of Justice case against Google, when Google was trying to acquire ITA Software. It was surreal and powerful. Right up there though is working with Paul English. I’ve never met anyone as brilliant in my life plus he is a great mentor.” – Pappas

“Becoming an entrepreneur, co-founding two companies, moving to the US to take part in an acceleration programme in Dallas, Texas, launching new technologies and products, tracking their growth and presenting at TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Alley in San Francisco.” – Shumaieva

“I feel very lucky, perhaps spoilt, to have begun my career in Sweden, where gender equality in the work place meant that I had no problem in grasping every opportunity.” – Mattisson

“In the travel space, where I have been for seven years, I’ve had the chance to drive strategy across various marketing channels but also content and product. Since joining Viator, I’ve been responsible for growing the European strategy from the ground up. That’s led me into running the search engine marketing effort at TripAdvisor for all its attractions – very exciting stuff!” - Emilie Mouquot Director of SEM, Viator

  • Disappointment

“There are still not enough women in leadership roles in travel or with board seats. We have work to do.” -  Pappas

  • Qualities to succeed

“Grit, unwavering optimism, confidence.” - Ma

"Women need to be tenacious and tactical strategists and leaders who are able to scale their interactions with each member of the team so everyone feels empowered, supported and energised to do their best work.” - Siobhan Mitchell, Director - Loyalty Marketing, Marketing & Sales, Accor

“It could be a long list but the one’s I live by and which I believe in, are: energy, self-belief, creativity and versatility.” - Mouquot 

“To succeed, you need to be curious, willing to constantly learn and change, and to have a traveller-centric mind-set.” - Gorin

“It is important for women to be tenacious, collaborative, entrepreneurial and inspiring.” - Ma

  • The power of networking (and mentoring)

“Never underestimate the value of networking. Develop and nurture relationships and stay engaged.” - Pappas

“Everyone talks about it, but what is it really? For me, it’s been building a collection of great people that I know to some degree of familiarity that I respect and can learn from. I’ve learned to just ask - for coffee, a half hour of time, an introduction to a contact, etc. In the worst case, you won’t get a response, and that doesn’t happen very often.” - Gilman Jasen

“It is important to be able to embrace change, build and maintain a network, keep learning and collaborate with others.” - Thompson

“I really encourage women, who are less inclined to do so than men, to find mentors. It is always helpful to speak to someone who has been where you want to take your career.” - Clare Gilmartin, CEO, Trainline

Join EyeforTravel in San Francisco (April 9-10) or London (June 4 - 6) to hear more from these women in travel, and also from the industry’s leading men

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