Visiting speakers in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Throughout the year, we host an active programme of visiting speakers at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. They are happy to share their insight and to give insider-tips gained from real-life industry experience.
We can do this because we have an extensive network of over 12,000 professional contacts who actively share their knowledge and expertise with us. In the past year we had CEOs, founders, directors of operations, hoteliers, and festival organisers come and speak and inspire our students.
CEO & Co-Founder of HiJiffy
Portuguese entrepreneur passionate about Digital Marketing & Traveling, Tiago Araújo is deeply involved in the hotel ecosystem.
Experienced in the field of communication and digitization in the Tourism industry, he’s frequently invited as a guest speaker at conferences to explore topics around technology and innovation applied to hospitality. He also actively collaborates with organizations focusing on Hospitality Tech.
Having Business Administration as Academic background – he studied at the prestigious Católica Porto Business School -, before becoming an entrepreneur, Tiago worked for five years as a Business Manager in a Digital Agency.
In 2015, alongside José Mendonça and Pedro Gonçalves (his colleagues in the agency), he decided to quit his job to launch his own project, Wonderoute, an app that would evolve in 2016 into an innovative guest communication solution: HiJiffy.
Since then, he’s been building HiJiffy, an all-in-one communication platform for hotels.
Foodservice Expert & Analyst
Peter is an expert on the structure and dynamics of the food service market restaurant delivery, dark kitchens and virtual brands in the UK, across Europe, and in other major international regions and countries including the USA and India. He enlightens senior executives who make significant decisions in the sector.
His forthright and challenging views are based on data-driven insights. He has been involved, as a consultant within the food service sector, for over 30 years blending his knowledge with a deep understanding of its trends and challenges.
He regularly speaks at conferences worldwide and his views are sought by television, radio, and the press. Peter has many innovations to his credit having been the first person to define the structure of the eating out market in the terms which are now widely used by the industry, as well as the most extensive database model of the food service sector.
Peter is the author of “Restaurants also sell food” – published in London, Toronto and Chicago.
He is a founder and past Chairman of Arena, the UK pan-industry networking organisation that he was instrumental in setting up 25 years ago. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.
CEO & Founder of Autoura
Tours, activities and attractions retail entrepreneur. Previously CEO / CTO of TourCMS, a sightseeing industry technology platform powering global retail for traditional day tours, activities & attractions. With Autoura Alex is building the next generation sightseeing industry platform enabling autonomous vehicle sightseeing & experiences.
Dr Rob Britton
Former Managing Director of Marketing at American Airlines
The Air Transport Management MSc programme hosted Rob Britton who asked the question, 'Why is it so hard for airlines to make money?' He outlined eight problems on the topic from his real-world leadership experience in the airline industry.
Rob is an experienced airline executive, and he has spent more than 22 years at American Airlines in various roles, the latest was being the Managing Director for Marketing at AA.
Principal Analyst - Foodservice at Mintel
As a Principal Analyst - Foodservice at Mintel, Trish analyses and reports on the Foodservice sector. She previously worked for a trend forecasting company focusing on food and drink and fashion sectors before retraining to become a chef. After tenures at two seminal London restaurants, countless conversations and shared experiences with chefs about the food service industry, she decided to parlay her passion into in-depth market study and joined Mintel in 2016.
In her guest lecture, she presented Mintel's 2023 UK Foodservice Trends and discussed key strategies for the food service industry to focus on in order to navigate the current cost of living crisis. To find out more please visit mintel.com.
Chief Commercial Officer at easyJet
The Air Transport Management MSc had the pleasure to organise an airliner-student talk with Sophie Dekkers who is the Chief Commercial Officer at easyJet.
Sophie is one of the very few females in C-level roles across the airline industry. She is an experienced business leader with a track record of working in key high-profile roles including as UK Country Director, and Head of Change Management.
Prof Rigas Doganis
Former CEO of Olympic Airways
Under the title 'Beyond the Pandemic - Airline Business Models and Strategies', Professor Rigas Doganis delivered a very insightful presentation for the Air Transport Management MSc students.
Rigas Doganis is a former CEO of Olympic Airways and was a non-executive director of both EasyJet and South African Airways. He is an air transport adviser for the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank, and author of bestselling airline business books.
Group Director of Marketing & Brand at St Giles Hotels
As Group Director of Marketing & Brand at St Giles Hotels, Venicia Gaul leads the development and execution of brand marketing strategies, collaborating closely with the group’s hotel teams to advance the St Giles brand, increase demand, and grow guest loyalty. Venicia joined St Giles Hotels in January 2017 as Global Brand Manager & Strategist in New York City from the company’s creative agency, Piranha, where she held a similar role. She was made Group Director of Marketing & Brand in January 2019. In this role, Venicia leverages almost 15 years of experience driving brand and business growth within the advertising, travel, and public relations industries.
In her guest lecture, she gave us an introduction to the digital marketing strategies used by St Giles Hotels across the different stages of a guest journey, including inspiration, planning, booking, pre-arrival, check-in, stay and post-stay.
CEO & Co-founder of Yapster
Rob Liddiard is Cofounder & CEO of Yapster, a mobile communication platform used by frontline organisations such as Next plc, Vision Express, Caffe Nero, Krispy Kreme, Marston's plc and many more. A company lawyer (practising in London and Shanghai) previously, Rob co-founded Yapster in 2015 to provide organisations with largely 'offline' workforces a secure, inclusive and GDPR-compliant alternative to unofficial use of WhatsApp at work. Over the past 6 years, Rob has become a specialist in the emerging field of Social Leadership, working with industry leaders to align and inspire hard-to-reach colleagues
Director of Business Development at apaleo
Florian Montag is Director of Business Development at apaleo, an open hospitality platform/cloud property management system, formerly Co-Founder and CEO of HotelHero.
Florian has a background in hospitality working for both independent hotels, as well as hotel chains and graduating from the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne. He currently handles business development at apaleo, the cloud platform for new and established players in the hospitality industry.
Before joining apaleo, Florian co-founded and built-up Hotelhero, the software review and recommendation platform for hotels, until it was acquired by apaleo in spring 2021. He is a member of the HSMA IT Expert Circle and has co-written several hotel-tech publications, as well as presented at various conferences amongst others IHIF, Hitec, HICON, HSMA E-day, and Master Innholders.
Florian also co-founded the Smack Hospitality Podcast which brings the stories from distinguished hospitality leaders like Marcus Bernhardt, Marlos Knippenberg, or Charlie Mcgregor to life.
COO/Co-founder of WeTravel
Problem solver with many hats. Co-founder of WeTravel (B2B payment and booking software with 3000+ clients worldwide) and Indorelawan (Indonesia's largest online platform for volunteering with 250k members). 2x tech startup founder with experiences in the US, SE Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Formerly a McKinsey consultant and a special aide in the Office of the President of Indonesia.
Education: B. Eng. in Industrial Engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology, MBA from UC Berkeley (full scholarship), and Certificate in Tourism and Travel Management from City College of San Francisco.
Personal interests: hospitality/travel (have traveled to 54 countries) and fitness (lost 72 lbs/33 kg through healthy eating and exercise).
About the company:
WeTravel (wetravel.com) is a booking and payment solution for multi-day tour operators. 3000+ travel companies worldwide use our SaaS and fintech suites to serve their 500,000 travelers annually. Starting in 2016 in San Francisco, with hubs in Amsterdam and Baku, we are a team of 100 people, 52% female, of 36 nationalities.
Founder & CEO of WE(i) Think
Celine is the Founder & CEO of WE(i) Think, crafting bespoke hospitality and tourism commercial concepts, bringing a wellbeing and sustainability angle and bridging the gap between innovative solutions, client expectations and operational requirements.
She is a consultant with more than a decade of expertise in hospitality, tourism, wellness/spa, F&B and residential development, as well as a certified integrative health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
She worked on a wide range of projects across the globe for international hotel and consulting companies, including Horwath HTL and most recently Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts where she was part of increasing the brand’s presence in the EMEA region, as well as accompanying its global strategy for F&B and Wellness operations and concepts.
Her vision of hospitality is served by her multi-disciplinary skills, placing the concept at the center of the project and involving market research, feasibility analysis, facilities programming, financial projections, operational structuring and programming. Her wellness competences are paired with her interest in sustainability for a holistic approach of wellbeing, from soft to integrative and including both people and planet.
She co-founded the Hospitality of the Future Think Tank, sits on the board of the Hotel of Tomorrow Summit, and is part of the Global Wellness Institute Tourism Destination Initiative, Leading Hotelieres, the Academy of Hospitality Arts Wellness focus group and HospitalityNet Sustainability World Panel. She is a public speaker, addressing wellbeing and sustainability topics at major hospitality and tourism events, as well as a lecturer in renown universities.
Founder & CSO at Optii
Soenke sets product vision for Optii and also oversees customer success. He founded Optii to address the lack of innovation in housekeeping operations, with automation, efficiency, and adoption as key influencers in our product development.