Speakers - Asia-Pacific 2017

Keynote Speakers

Mark McSpadden

Sabre Labs

Mark McSpadden directs Sabre Labs, a travel and technology innovation lab exploring capabilities that will impact travel over the next decade. In the Lab, he and his team research and experiment with technology and trends like indoor location, wearables, virtual reality, and even unmanned aerial vehicles to explore how they may shape the future of travel.
Mark has shared his passion and vision for the future of travel and technology at global events and travel industry board rooms alike. He has given presentations at various travel and tech industry conferences including TEDx, The Beat Live, and several GBTA events.
In addition to his travel industry experience, Mark has an extensive technology background in both enterprise and startup environments. He is a recognized leader in the programming world and is a sucker for a good code contest.
Off-screen, Mark enjoys cooking, eating, laughing, playing, and exploring the world with his wife and 3 young daughters.

Tariq Qureishy

Founder & CEO
MAD Talks

Tariq is currently the Founder/CEO of MAD Talks, a storytelling platform and media brand for the emerging world. This TED like platform captures stories shaping the future, of leadership & innovation, entrepreneurship and breakthrough thinking, in video and audio digital platforms.
He has worked in leadership roles with top global organisations including;
Bloomberg Media - Media Representative and Advisor/Consultant MENA, (2010-2014). The Times & Sunday Times newspaper, CEO/Publisher in the Middle East (2007-2009). Dow Jones Markets, Regional Director EMEA. (1987-1998). Tariq's media and broadcasting experience includes being a keynote motivational speaker, panelist, chairing and moderating global conferences, radio and television.
He specialises in talks about the future, breakthrough thinking, the brain, innovation and creativity, moon-shot thinking, always with practical business solutions that can be applied immediately in your environment. He has worked with BBC World, Dubai Eye, Dubai TV & has appeared in international broadcast & print media He is also Founder of 100% MAD ("Make A Difference"), a UK based, not for profit Social Enterprise, a global millennial movement using the power of the digital environment to democratize philanthropy.
He has a degree in Economics and studied at Harvard Business School.

Juan Aguirre

SVP Global Sales
iRiS Software Systems

Juan is the SVP Global Sales; with over 12 years in the hospitality industry and a strong technology background, his experience and knowledge is a vital and integral part of iRiS. Juan places importance on understanding the challenges faced by the hospitality industry and focuses on providing the most appropriate solutions to our clients.

Martin Bookallil

VP Information Technology APAC
Marriott International

Martin Bookallil is a Hospitality technology leader who, after graduating with a Swiss Diploma in Hotel Management, has been contributing to Global Hotel Groups for 34 years. 


Currently Martin leads as Vice President, Information Technology Asia Pacific at Marriott International. He oversees the IT operations of 550+ managed Hotels, engaged with 80+ franchise Hotels, provides direction to 600+ pipeline Hotels and 30+ Company owned offices with 900+ Associates in scope. The company’s sales in the APAC Continent exceed US 9.1 billion per annum. Martin is a member of HTNG (Hospitality Technology Next Generation) and is based in Hong Kong.

Brian Garavuso

Diamond Resorts International

Garavuso is provides strategic technology direction and information technology management for Diamond Resorts International. He is focused on initiatives to increase revenue, maximize efficiency and improve the customer experience. During his tenure with DRI, Brian has also provided executive management of Marketing primarily focused on telemarketing, direct-sales and electronic marketing. Diamond globally develops, markets, operates and is affiliated with more than 350 quality vacation ownership resorts in 33 countries and is servicing 550,000 member / owners.
Prior to DRI, Brian was SVP, Chief Information Officer for Hilton Grand Vacations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilton Hotels. He also was the Chief Technology Officer for Interstate Hotels & Resorts; and its subsidiary, BridgeStreet Corporate Housing Worldwide. IHR operated more than 395 hospitality and leisure properties with approximately 84,000 hotel rooms. Garavuso was the vice president of technology and CIO for South Seas Resorts (SSR), which was acquired by Interstate Hotels & Resorts in 1998. During his 15 years with SSR, Garavuso held a variety of resort operations, finance, and HOA management positions.
Garavuso is a certified hospitality technology professional (CHTP) from the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals Association. He is also on the technology sub-committee of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Jai Govindani

Red Planet Hotels

Currently Chief Technology Officer at Red Planet Hotels, Jai oversees the entire technology stack both internal and guest-facing. Jai was responsible for architecting and implementing the end-to-end guest experience as part of Red Planet’s rebranding in 2015 and continues to drive innovation in that area.
Jai began his career at an entrepreneurial incubator in 2006 where he pioneered business concepts combining online and offline media into social entertainment experiences. In 2007 he was responsible for steering Siam2you, Thailand’s largest mobile content business at the time, back into profitability. Following that he founded Monster Media, one of Thailand's first digital interactive media firms. Jai most recently founded and ran Zodio, a Bangkok-based regional tech startup focused on Asia.

Adrian Hardwick-Jones

VP Design and Technical Service
Centara Hotels & Resorts


Ted Helvey

Angie Hospitality

Ted Helvey is CEO of Angie Hospitality, the developer of the world’s first cloud-managed, voice- and touchscreen-based guestroom assistant device, with integrated Wi-Fi, communication and room-control features. A proven technology innovator with over three decades of demonstrated expertise and industry experience, he continuously seeks out new ways to improve both guest experience and hotel efficiency. Helvey sees voice as the optimal universal interface with the unique potential to streamline both guest-facing services and back-of-house operations. The winner of HTNG’s 2017 TechOvation Award, Angie is designed to turn guest rooms into smart rooms, delighting both guests and staff, while energizing the hotel’s bottom line.
Prior to founding Angie and beginning product development in 2015, Helvey served as the CEO of iBAHN, a global provider of hospitality technology services. While there, he was responsible for delivering internet-based services to some of the hotel industry’s leading global brands, including Hilton and Marriott. A graduate of Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management, Helvey is based in Silicon Valley, California.

Fraser Hickox

General Manager
The Conceptual Group

Until recently the General Manager of the Peninsula Group's research Lab in Hong Kong, Fraser in retirement remains a consultant to Peninsula and other companies around Asia and in the Middle East as well continues to develop specialised electronics for different companies. A keen advocate of HTNG and the participation of hotelliers within this organisation for a common good. Fraser was inducted into the HFTP Hall of Fame in 2008 and is the recipient in December 1993 of the Personnalite de Lannee Distinction International Hotellerie. He holds a number of degrees in Engineering and Sciences and has had a diverse career spanning broadcasting, civil aviation, banking and manufacturing.

Gregg Hopkins

Chief Sales and Marketing Officer

Gregg Hopkins is a successful business development and marketing professional with over 30 years of varied international experience in hospitality and technology. Gregg was a co-founder of Libra OnDemand, a hospitality-specific customer relationship management (“CRM”) solution, and has also worked with various hospitality enterprise property management, sales and catering, CRM, central reservation system providers, online travel agencies, and destination vacation portal solutions. He has also provided consulting services to organizations on marketing planning, sales strategy, business development initiatives, CRM, social media, and technology.
Gregg is known as a subject matter expert on several topics and participant as a committee or board member of select industry associations (MPI Foundation, HFTP, Rosen College of Hospitality Management) and by his attendance at various industry gatherings.

Ted E. Horner

Managing Director
E. Horner & Associates Pty Ltd

In 1989, Ted Horner launched a consulting practice specializing in technology consulting to the hospitality industry. He is now widely respected as Australia's leading consultant in this area.
In 1996 he launched Australia’s first dedicated hospitality technology exhibition and conference. Today this event is still going, and it is now called Hotel Operations Technology (HOT). In 2002 he was a founding member of HTNG and today he is an Executive Advisor to HTNG. In 2004 he was the first non-US person to be elected to the HITEC Technology Hall of Fame for his contribution to the advancement of technology in the hospitality industry. Since the early 90s he has travelled extensively throughout the world to speak at many hospitality technology conferences and has written many articles on technology that have been published all over the world.

Laurent Idrac


After graduating from French business schools ESSCA and ESSEC, Laurent Idrac started his career with Accor in 1983 where he held several positions in operations and support functions (finance, marketing and reservations). He notably managed all the worldwide call centers. From 2002 to 2012, he ran IT Departments for Accor North America. He returned to France in 2012 to be appointed Group Chief Information Officer for Accor. Laurent Idrac has taken part in numerous IT projects including the design and roll-out of TARS (The Accor Reservation system), which is used by the group’s 3,700 hotels, and of FOLS in-house PMS (Property Management System) in 1,800 hotels, as well as the management of CRM and sales force automation projects. Since 2012, he manages Accor’s partnership with the Innovation Factory, the first innovation campus cluster in Paris.In 2014, Laurent Idrac has also been elected member of the Board of Governors of the association Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) which defines technology standards in hotels. Laurent Idrac, lives in Paris, France. He has a French and US dual citizenship, is married with 2 children leaving the US.

Mario Jobbe

COO & Co-Founder
Circos VR Studio

Mario Jobbe is a well-known entrepreneur in technology, travel, and luxury. He leads the global operations of Circos, a virtual reality (VR) studio that tells brand stories in VR. Circos specializes in hotel VR content. For the past 10 years, Mario has served as a bridge between disruptive technologies and the industries that are often cautious in embracing them.
Prior to starting Brand Karma, Mario worked in product management at Microsoft. He created, launched and marketed one of the company's first social networking sites in 15 languages. Mario was a member of several marketing leadership teams at Microsoft, including its Marketing Leadership Recruit program.
Before Microsoft, Mario did research in computer science at Northwestern University’s Intelligent Information Laboratory (InfoLab). He currently has patents pending for his research in collaborative software.
Mario is a well-known industry commentator and consultant. Having lived in Singapore and Taiwan for several years, Mario now calls Chicago home.

Paul Kitamura

Head Asset Management
M&C REIT Management Limited

Paul Kitamura is a 29-year veteran of the Asia Pacific hospitality industry currently serving as Head, Asset Management for M&C REIT Management Limited, a Singapore based hotel REIT comprising 17 hotels in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Maldives, Japan and the UK.
Earlier, Paul served as Senior Vice President of asset management for GIC Real Estate responsible for the fund’s Asia Pacific hospitality portfolio. During his tenure, he successfully drove fast-track cost efficiency initiatives preserving asset performance during the global down turn and led the re-branding of the 1,053-room Hilton Fukuoka Seahawk.
His operating experience includes leading IHG’s overall business in Japan as country head from 2002-2008. Earlier, he worked for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in a variety of sales & marketing management roles at the corporate, regional and property levels. Paul’s experience also includes data analytics and corporate real estate services having been Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Revenue Management Solutions (big data custom analytics consultancy for hospitality & retail) as well as Executive Director/VP for Goldman Sachs leading hospitality services across the Asia Pacific offices. Paul holds an MBA from the Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a B.S. degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Tony Lee

Vice President, Group Business Systems
Capitaland Limited

Tony Lee, in his 18 years of hospitality technology experience, had served in senior executive roles for both vendor and end-user environments. He has been deeply involved with transformational class work in delivering necessary changes in the areas, within the companies which he was associated with.
Today, Tony Lee is the Vice President, Group Business Systems, for Capitaland limited. Prior to that Tony lead the Global IT organization for The Ascott Limited. The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator with more than 250 properties in over 90 cities spanning more than 25 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region. His prime focus within The Ascott group is in the transformation the company’s global core architectures using IS, to lead and address a very competitive and rapidly evolving market environment.

Benjamin Lephilibert

Managing Director
LightBlue Environmental Consulting

Benjamin is the founder of LightBlue Environmental Consulting http://www.lightblueconsulting.com/, a regional auditing, capacity building and consulting firm supporting organisations willing to improve profitability and minimize their social and environmental footprint. He worked across Asia with various prestigious partners from the private sector (Accor, ClubMed, Hilton), governmental agencies (TCEB) as well as from International Organizations (UNILO, EU, WWF).
Benjamin has been a pioneer on the topic of Food Waste Prevention. He has developed The PLEDGE on Food Waste http://www.thepledgeonfoodwaste.org/, one of the most comprehensive standard to date, integrating implementation of a food waste monitoring system, online data tracking, behavioral change and revision of SOPs at critical food waste generation points.
Benjamin is as well an international guest speaker, guest lecturer, a judge for International Sustainability Awards and an active member of several sustainable tourism working groups (GSTC).
Full profile can be viewed here https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminlephilibert/?ppe=1.

Terence Ronson

Pertlink Limited

Terence Ronson launched his diversified hospitality career as a Chef, from where he held various general management positions with prominent hotels in the UK and Asia. In the mid 80's he developed his penchant for technology, and in 2000 started Pertlink (Hong Kong), from where he also became the Technology Editor for HOTELS Asia Pacific and authored numerous industry related articles. CNN's eBizasia program featured him in 2001 for his innovative work at Rosedale Hong Kong, and helped Langham Place Hong Kong win many accolades for its technology deployment.
Terence often Chairs and speaks at industry events and currently sits on the Advisory Boards for HTNG, HOFEX and HITEC, as well as holding a Visiting Lecturer position at HKPOLY U. Terence runs an active Hotel Technology Blog and is also the inventor of iFlyPad (tm). Terence is currently involved in several exciting Asia based projects to include South Beach Hotel and Club (Singapore) and The Hotel Windsor (Melbourne).

Rachana Salgia


With over 20 years of experience in technology Industry and a degree in management from IIM Ahmedabad, Rachana Salgia, is the guiding light behind DigiValet™. As President and Co-Founder of the company, Rachana spearheads client account management, product management and forging and growing relationships with various key players across the hospitality ecosystem. She keeps a close eye on the competitive landscape, global & regional trends and developments in the hospitality & technology to ensure that DigiValetTM is always one step ahead. Aside to this, Rachana is looked up to by members of her strong DigiValetTM family as an inspirational leader and figurehead. Rachana has formerly played a significant role at Impetus Infotech, where she rose from being a Trainee Software Engineer to Vice President, Software Engineering in a span of 12 years. A fitness enthusiast and a dedicated businesswoman, Rachana believes that staying fit is the key to confidence. While multitasking at work and home, Rachana enjoys activities such as aerobics, dancing and outdoor adventure sports.