Mobile technology has transformed the travel industry far beyond online bookings. Mobile leaders are embracing digital innovation to change the way travel brands connect with customers. Travel companies can now communicate with users throughout the customer journey, to develop 24/7 relationships. And travellers are seeking an increasingly personalized service.
Hotels and e-commerce travel companies aim to make their mobile and app experiences as easy and engaging as possible, to attract tech-savvy millennials. Travel brands are striving to stand out from the competition by investing in mobile innovations such as keyless check-in and in-app chat services.
So who are the people behind these industry developments? From mobile marketers to mobile product managers, here’s our roundup of the top mobile leaders in travel.
Amanda Richardson is Vice President of Product at mobile-first app HotelTonight, which specialises in last-minute bookings. With over 10 years’ experience in tech, Amanda is an expert in mobile strategy, product development and user experience. Since joining the company, in 2014, Amanda has been responsible for taking the company’s consumer mobile apps to the next level. She’s certainly delivering as, this year, HotelTonight launched its new loyalty program HT Perks and in-app chat concierge service Aces.
Onefinestay is a sort of upmarket Airbnb that handles everything from marketing to home management. Eduardo Aguilar Pelaez has been onefinestay’s Mobile Product Manager since July 2015. With his strong engineering background, Eduardo also spearheaded the company’s Sherlock project, a keyless entry system that allows you to unlock the door to your home via your phone. Onefinestay’s mobile strategy includes an app focused on guests’ stays, including recommendations for the city, rather than bookings. The startup was acquired by AccorHotels earlier this year, which plans to pour £50 million into onefinestay to grow its platform to more cities.
Known in the industry as “mobile Dan”, Marchese is Director of Mobile at Viator (a Tripadvisor company), an online platform for booking travel activities. He’s responsible for planning, developing and monetizing Viator’s mobile channels including its apps and mobile sites. Dan also built Viator’s mobile team, delivering huge growth in its mobile business. Previous roles as Director of Product Management at Moderati and Director of Product Marketing at Aha Mobile have helped secure Dan’s status as a mobile expert.
momondo is a global travel search site, with headquarters in Copenhagen. Christina Vestergaard made great strides to become momondo’s Global Head of Mobile App, Performance and Marketing in April 2016. Earlier this year, the award-winning travel company launched a new version of its flights and hotels app, providing more tailored results and an improved design. Momondo has seen some brilliant first half results this year with mobile visitor numbers up 40% year-on-year.
John Boughton joined TUI Group in 2011 and heads up the team responsible for TUI’s Smartband technology. The innovative wearable wristband and app acts as a resort key, digital wallet, and hotel room lighting and temperature controller. The platform helps TUI speak to its customers and keep them engaged throughout their holiday. John has extensive experience in the travel industry, including previous roles at Real Gap Experience and Exodus Travel.
Tristan Krause joined Expedia, in 2013, to manage marketing campaigns for the travel company’s award-winning mobile apps. Since 2015, Tristan has focused his attention on planning and bringing Expedia’s mobile products to market. Expedia’s standout success was the launch of its overhauled tablet app, in 2014, designed to make browsing for trips easier. Incidentally, that was the same year Tristan received an Expedia Horizon Award for Excellence.
Maria Casaramona heads up Trivago’s app marketing team and is responsible for the global strategy and app marketing in over 50 countries. Maria gained plenty of experience managing marketing campaigns for Trivago before deciding to focus on app marketing. As a launch partner for Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for travel brands, Trivago serves up adverts to people on Facebook and Instagram who have previously browsed or booked on its website and app.
As Senior Director of Mobile, Daniel Craig is responsible for keeping Hotels.com at the forefront of mobile technology developments. Hotels.com is the first online travel agency (OTA) to integrate Uber into its service. Users of the Hotels.com Android app can now book an Uber cab to their hotel with the tap of a button. University of Cambridge graduate Daniel suggested that Hotels.com plans to build on the app’s in-stay mobile offering in the future.
Olivier Voûte is an m-commerce specialist. He’s been the force behind Booking.com’s mobile presence since 2010, playing a huge part in its success. The company optimised its mobile site back in 2009 and saw strong growth in mobile hotel bookings before choosing to make mobile a priority. Booking.com rolled out its first mobile app in 2010 and iPad, Android and Windows 8 versions followed. Olivier’s skills and experience have grown to include managing mobile marketing strategy and advertising, as well as mobile app development and delivery.
Bill Keen is in charge of IHG’s mobile strategy and boasts extensive mobile and e-commerce experience. IHG has been an early adopter of mobile technology since 2011. Its mobile strategy focuses on staying connected to guests all the way through their journey. As a result, IHG was one of the first in the travel industry to create a Facebook messenger bot, which is used as a customer service channel for its Hotel Indigo brand.
Anna Ying Zeng joined Starwood Hotels in September 2014 and was instrumental in the development of its award-winning SPG app. The app allows users to book hotels and manage reservations, and was the first in the industry to offer keyless check-in for its hotels worldwide. Anna has extensive experience in mobile and agile development and is a certified Scrum product owner. Starwood Hotels & Resorts was acquired by Marriott International last year, becoming the world’s largest hotel company.
Our final entry is David Menda, Marriott International’s Director of Product Marketing and Mobile Engagement. David focuses on marketing the brand’s mobile products and guest services. He developed the acquisition strategy for Marriott International’s mobile app resulting in over 2 million downloads. Marriott aims to develop long-term relationships with customers using a mobile-first approach. The app includes mobile keyless check-in, along with features to deal with requests via mobile and offer local perks.