Speakers

James Stagg
Deputy Editor
The Caterer
Tom Athron
Group Development Director
John Lewis Partnership

Tom Athron, Group Development Director for the John Lewis Partnership, is responsible for considering the future shape of the Partnership, including new business opportunities and all activities within Group.

Tom Athron joined the Waitrose Board in August 2009 as Finance Director. Prior to this he was Buying Director at John Lewis, for Electricals and Home Technology. He joined the Partnership in July 2005 as Head of Group Financial Strategy reporting to the Finance Director. He took up his current role in October 2015.

Tom started his career in investment banking as a graduate trainee in credit finance and structured debt at Hambros. After completing his MBA in 1999 he joined Javelin Group, a consulting firm specialising in retail and e-commerce strategy, where he worked with clients including BT, Marks & Spencer, B&Q, and Littlewoods.

Naveed Bhatti
Client Director
CGA

Having worked in the world of FMCG for the bulk of his career, Nav has stepped into the world of Insights & Research with CGA. Nav has had the experience of starting, running and growing his own business as well which he has now sold on, allowing him to learn the intricacies and detail that go in to developing an idea and nurturing it to success. This has given him a greater scope of understanding when it comes to knowing the true essentials that businesses are after; coupling this with the resources at CGA, Nav has been able to deliver game changing work for clients nationwide.

Being a southerner (Kent) he has made the move to Stockport to work out of the head office, and is still getting his head around the wonderful accent of the North East!

Steve Lowy
Chairman
Hotel Marketing Association (HMA)

Steve studied Hospitality & Tourism Management & has gone on to run restaurants, hostels and hotels. Since launching Umi Hotels in 2007, Steve also launched Umi Digital in 2010 & now sits on a number of industry boards in the UK as Vice-Chairman of the Hotel Marketing Association & Chairman of the British Educational Travel Association.

Steve loves nothing more than travelling, eating local food and supporting his beloved Liverpool F.C. and is passionate about the hospitality industry and in particular independent operators, who he believes, with the right tools, can punch above their weight. Steve also has a passion for promoting opportunities for young people to join the industry.

Fergus Boyd
Group Director/Vice President of Digital & IT
Yotel

Fergus is currently VP/Director of Digital & IT in YOTEL, the innovative hotel start-up in the new “affordable luxury” sector. He has 20 years of experience in the airline world and the digital media sector. Fergus has been nominated into the CIO 100 list for 2016 and 2017.

Prior to YOTEL, Fergus headed up eBusiness for Virgin Atlantic, and was responsible for sales optimisation on the market leading and award winning www.virginatlantic.com web site which generated over £300m pa, and for the mobile channel, live chat, web analytics, voice of the customer and the global affiliate programme.

Fergus held senior roles in British Airways and headed up projects in BA’s Brands & Product Development department who created the market changing flat beds in business class. He also was one of the founding members of “eBA”, BA’s dotcom startup in 2000 which later transformed into BA.com which now turns over £2B pa.

Nick Davies
Owner
The Cottage in the Wood

A former strategy consultant and civil servant, Nick Davies left the corporate world in 2015 to take on the ownership and management of the 30-bedroom hotel The Cottage in the Wood in the Malvern Hills. Together with his wife Julia, Nick is investing £2.5 million into a five-phase refurbishment of the hotel, which began in January 2017 and will see the couple drawing upon their extensive knowledge of and passion for hotels and travel to create a destination hotel, restaurant and bar. Nick is using his strategic expertise to manage the refurbishment project, a complete business restructure and the day to day operations of the hotel.

Dan Best
Managing director
Unruly

Dan is Managing Director, Global Clients at Unruly. He works with clients and agency partners to deliver solutions across the full Unruly proposition to include content creation, testing and distribution. Dan's previous roles include The Telegraph, Discovery Channel and The Independent.

Suzie Thompson
Vice President of Marketing, Distribution & Revenue Management
Red Carnation Hotels

Suzie has worked in travel marketing for over 15 years, with previous positions held at Sabre Hospitality Solutions, lastminute.com 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.

Peter Hancock
Chief Executive
Pride of Britain Hotels

Peter Hancock is Chief Executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, a collection of never more than 50 independent luxury hotels around the country. He began in this role in 2000, having previously spent 12 years as Publisher of Johansens guides and was a hotel General Manager in his early career, starting as a waiter in the late 1970s.

Peter is an Honorary Master Innholder, a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a Fellow of the Academy of Food & Wine Service, a Fellow of HOSPA, a Member of the Professional Speaking Association and an Ambassador for the Gold Service Scholarship. He is also a regular contributor to The Caterer magazine.

Julia Davies
Owner
The Cottage in the Wood

After more than ten years working as a market researcher in pharmaceutical and national healthcare sectors, in 2015 Julia Davies decided it was time for a change and with her husband Nick, purchased The Cottage in the Wood Hotel. Nestled high in the Malvern Hills, The Cottage in the Wood has an idyllic location but was in need of updating and investment, which is where Julia and Nick stepped in, beginning a £2.5 million refurbishment project in January 2017. Julia has taken on the role of Director of Marketing & PR at the hotel and oversees all marketing activity and management of relationships with external partners, as well as continuing to jointly run the hotel with her husband.

Simon Gaske
Customer Experience Director
Novus Leisure

Simon’s number one priority is to ensure Customer Experience runs through the DNA of the Novus Leisure business plans. In his armoury is a ‘Customer Experience Dashboard’, which analyses real-time customer feedback and data across numerous channels. This month the Dashboard triumphed at the MOMA (Marketing on Mobile Award), taking home the coveted award in the Relationship Building/CRM category.

Having worked almost exclusively within the hospitality industry for his entire career, Simon has extensive experience of leading projects from concept and strategy, through to implementation and review. As a digital and social guru, Simon has enjoyed numerous successes through this media, whilst providing strategic and operational leadership for major marketing and sales projects.

Mark McCulloch
founder & group ceo
WE ARE Spectacular

Mark has 15 years experience in brand, marketing, digital, social and PR. He started life at the British music magazines (marketing them to students), then worked in agencies back in 2002 before jumping the fence to work client side at lastminute.com where he rose to Head of Brand, then moved to senior positions at Barclaycard, YO! Sushi, Blinkbox Music & Pret A Manger.

Mark wanted to create a new wave agency solely made up of senior experts called WE ARE Spectacular where they focused on branding, marketing, digital & social.

WE ARE Spectacular have worked with many leading food, drink and leisure clients including Costa Coffee, IBIS Hotels, Vue Cinemas, Fuller's Inns, MOD Pizza, Busaba Eathai, Nestle Professional, YO! Sushi, Chop'd, Belushi's, Chop'd, Long Arm Brewery, Harviestoun Brewery, Red's True Barbecue, Red Carnation Hotels, St Christopher's Inns, Upper Crust, Caffe Ritazza, Millie's Cookies, Drake & Morgan, Harris & Hoole & Tesco to name a few.

Mel Taylor
chief executive
Omnico

Mel Taylor has been CEO of Omnico Group since November 2014, overseeing the business operations across the various companies that form the Group; including Omnico, Cyntergy, Clarity Life Leisure and Omnico CSS. Before Omnico he was Director of Channel Sales EMEIA at Honeywell Scanning and Mobility for nearly five years. There he was responsible for the development and execution of the Intermec PartnerNet Partner Program in EMEIA, overcoming challenges in the region by creating new initiatives, partnerships and processes. Before that he was Vice President of Sales at Pandigital, and for nearly six years before then, General Manager at ViewSonic, a leading global provider of computing, electronics, and communications solutions.

Carl Weldon
chief operating officer, Europe
Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP)

Carl is Chief Operating Officer, Europe for HFTP. HFTP is the global professional association for Financial and Technology personnel working in hotels, clubs and other hospitality-related businesses. HFTP are the producers of HITEC - the largest Hospitality Technology Event in the world - with HITEC coming to Europe in Amsterdam in March 2017.

Carl was previously Chief Executive of HOSPA including responsibility for HOSPA’s annual Conference and Exhibition - HOSPACE.

Previously Carl has been in Hospitality Finance, Planning and Operations for over 35 years with Forte Hotels, Holiday Inns International (UK, EMEA and worldwide International), Periquito Hotels, Regal Hotel Group and Noble House Group.

As CW Hospitality (www.cwhospitality.co.uk) Carl has worked on a number of special projects for companies such as Sodexho, Devere Hotels, easyHotel, Allied Pharmacy, Spaghetti House and a major Scottish Golf Resort acquisition.

Anthony Ganjou
chief executive
CURB

Anthony is an entrepreneur with a proven track record of building and selling multi-million pound businesses at the cutting edge of media and marketing innovation.

In his current role as CEO of CURB he has grown a small technology start up into a global business focusing on the delivery of digital content to digital devices without using the internet or data. The business has a proven track record of inventing new digital revenue streams for property owners using hyper local media.

Richard Valtr
Founder
Mews Systems

Richard Valtr was born into a family of hotel developers and operators and started Mews as a way of removing the physical barrier between the guest and hotelier. Now, in over 25 countries, Mews Systems is helping a new generation of hoteliers navigate to a new world of cloud-based technologies with open APIs, which can bring new revenue streams, automation and hundreds of new operational possibilities.