Welcome to the Evolution of Travel speaker gallery. We are proud to present a respected line-up of professional speakers ready to share their views on the meetings and business travel industry.

Our speakers have all been hand-picked for their subject matter expertise and engaging manner.  This ensures that delegates hear the latest thoughts on the evolution of travel and feel engaged in the subject matter.

Stefan Asmuss

Global Travel  Manager, SAP SE

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Lastly before joining SAP in 2008, Stefan was in a global key customer development role within the TMC landscape where he started his business travel journey in 2004. 

Based in SAP’s headquarter in Walldorf, Germany, he assumed various duties in strategic functional and regional leadership roles in travel procurement before he accepted the responsibility for SAP’s overall business travel strategy as the Global Travel Manager in 2013.
Stefan is actively engaged with the German Business Travel Association (VDR), chairing the “Data and Information” committee and acts as the chairman of the European Strategic Benchmark Group with Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

David Bartlett

Vice President Global Sales Europe, Marriott Hotels International Ltd.

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As a key member of Marriott’s Global Sales leadership team David is responsible for providing strategic sales leadership and management oversight to the global sales teams currently deployed throughout Europe. Working in tandem with the continent sales & marketing leaders David and his team develop and implement sales strategies for targeted high-value accounts.

David began his Marriott career in 2000 as Director of Sales & Marketing of the Renaissance Manchester Hotel. Since then he has held numerous on & above property sales leadership positions including Cluster Director of Sales & Marketing – UK Southeast, Director of London Market Sales and Area Director of Sales & Marketing, Eastern Europe. In 2013 his efforts were awarded with the prestigious Stephen G. Marriott Global Sales & Culture Leadership award.

Claire Bentley

Managing Director, British Airways Holidays

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Claire has worked in travel for over 30 years. Her career started in front line customer service, subsequently moving into a number of marketing and commercial roles in both the Inbound and Outbound sectors.

Becoming Managing Director of British Airways Holidays in 2001, the Airline Tour Operator for both British Airways and Iberia, Claire has led the business through significant change, more recently implementing a new strategy and technology platform in 2009, since when the business has grown 13-fold, reaching Revenue of c. £800m p.a., becoming one of the leading Tour Operators in the UK Market.

Steffen Boehnke

Director Product Management Assets & airtours, TUI Deutschland GmbH

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Steffen Boehnke, joined TUI in 1997 and spent the first six month in the Maldives as a representative of World of TUI tour. After his return to TUI HQ in Hannover, Germany he took on a role with purchasing responsibilities in Product Management Freeworld before he moved to Product Management Caribbean, first in the purchasing section 1999 where he was promoted as a section manager.

From 2004 to 2015, Steffen took charge of different long-haul Product Managements like Caribbean, Latin America and North America long-haul West. In 2011 he was also appointed Head of Product Management long-haul TUI Deutschland.

Since September 2015 he is now responsible for Product Management Assets and Luxury brand airtours.

Robert Franklin Box

Global Account Manager, Mercuri International

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Robert has responsibility for the sales and delivery of international projects Globally. In this capacity he has successfully developed solutions for customers to support their development requirements in sales, sales management, strategic account management and customer service. This also included the deployment of Consultative Selling, Account Management and Leadership for Business Relationship Managers in several organizations in Europe, Asia and South America.

Robert has worked as an international project manager for key global customers. In the role of the International Project Manager, he has implemented strategic initiatives in leadership, sales and customer service while managing the customer relationships in projects involving over 100+ countries. He has been a guest speaker at the SAMA global conferences for the past 6 years and has performed numerous speaking engagements regarding global account management. He has worked with multicultural and multilinguistic groups around the world leading workshops.

In addition, Robert has responsibility for the development of global business. In this role he has developed the business to support the needs of clients in the region and to manage the teams of Consultants. Robert has also contributed to internal product development and the skill and knowledge development of other Mercuri Consultants.

He has performed client work focused on improving the results of global SAM organizations, mainly in improving Strategic Account Managers ability to lead and manage global account teams.
Robert holds a dual degree in International Studies and Philosophy from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA and an MBA from the Open University, UK.

Robert resides in San Francisco, with his wife and 4 children. He is an American Citizen. He is fluent in Czech and English language.

Bernd Burkhardt

Head of Global Travel Management Daimler

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After Business Administration studies Bernd Burkhardt joined Daimler over 25 years ago working in different Management positions.

Besides many other roles he took full responsibility for the comprehensive transformation process within the Sales Distribution area in the years 1996 to 1998. Subsequently, during the merger phase of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation he was responsible for the Sales Integration project until the year 2000.

In 2001 he changes gears within Daimler and is now working on the strategic re-engineering of Daimler’s global travel management.

Jean-Philippe Defiebre

Director Online Products & UX, Sixt

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After his Master’s degree and some stopovers in agencies Jean-Philippe started working at Germany based 1&1 in 2010, and advanced most recently as Head of UX.

In April 2015 he moved to Munich and to assume the position of Director Online & UX at Sixt where he is now heading the Online Product Management, responsible for improving the online sales channels with a focus on digital strategy (multi-channel & multi-device), CR optimization and UX.

Ralf Diederichs

Head of Category Management Travel, Lufthansa Group

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Ralf Diederichs started his career in Sales at TUI, German tour operator. After having completed his university career with a degree in communication science, marketing and politics, he moved to a consulting company as specialist for process analysis within global projects for tourism and airline industry.

With Lufthansa, Mr. Diederichs, already worked in different fields. Before moving to Procurement, he worked as a consultant for e-Ticketing processes and Product Manager for Ground Service IT. Currently, he is Head of Category Management Travel for Lufthansa Group taking care of all procurement needs of the Group for Ground Transportation (Car, Limousines, Train & Bus) and Accommodation (Corporate, MICE and Aircrews).

Osama Hirzalla

Vice President Sales & Distribution – Europe Marriott Hotels International Ltd.

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Osama Hirzalla is a skilled hotelier with 25 years of experience spanning across Europe and Middle East & Africa with an excellent experience in Hotel Operations, Sales, Marketing, eCommerce and Public Relations.

Osama is a dedicated hard-working individual with a particular passion for Digital Marketing and Big Data. In his current role as Vice President of Sales & Distribution Europe, he is responsible for driving brand awareness, differentiation and preference for all of the Marriott Brands in Europe. He oversees Marriott’s European digital distribution strategy including growing Marriott.com and managing OTA platforms to drive profitable revenue for European hotels. Osama is a keen advocate of Corporate Social Responsibility and plays an active role in the development and execution of Marriott’s CSR strategy.

Werner Huber

Head of Software Engineering Frontend, Sixt

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Werner is a passionate software engineer, working at Sixt as Head of Software Engineering Frontend. It makes him proud to see thousands of customers using the Apps and Websites that we are developing.

His goal is to create outstanding products with a strong focus on a great user experience. His team is responsible for the Sixt website as well as the apps for Sixt, DriveNow, and myDriver.

Kai-Heinrich Kohl

Director Global Sales Corporate Central Europe, Marriott Hotel Holding GmbH

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Kai-Heinrich heads up the Central European Corporate Global Sales team and is responsible for driving long term strategic initiatives and projects with Marriott’s key customers located in this region. Driving change through a holistic and strategic business approach, is one of his expertise. Being a true strategist he also developed strong customer relationships and has valued a trusted advisor by customers.

He joined Marriott’s Global Sales Organization in 2012. Prior to this Kai-Heinrich worked for various global hotel chains like Steigenberger, Kempinski and InterContinental Hotels and earned a MBA from Sankt Gallen Business School.

Bharet Malhotra

Senior Vice President of Sales, Cvent

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One of Cvent’s founding members, Bharet Malhotra began selling the company’s cloud-based event registration software more than 15 years ago. His contributions over the years helped build Cvent into a thriving global company.

As Senior Vice President of Sales at Cvent, Bharet drives the strategic direction and development for the Cvent Supplier Network, a leading eRFP channel that connects event planners with more than 200,000 venues throughout the world. Under Bharet’s leadership, in 2014 Cvent Supplier Network processed $8 billion in meeting and event RFP volume.

Through Bharet’s leadership, Cvent established relationships with nearly all of the leading hotel chains around the world, including Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Starwood. Bharet and his team work closely with hotel executives to help enhance the properties’ exposure on the Cvent Supplier Network and capture more group business.

Outside of Bharet’s role at Cvent, he is a successful entrepreneur and investor. He is co-owner of Co Co. Sala, an upscale restaurant and lounge in Washington, D.C., and is an investor with 11 different restaurants in the area, including Founding Farmer’s, Matchbox and Ted’s Bulletin. 

Prior to Cvent, Bharet served as a manager at WorldCom, where he executed mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, alliances and partnerships throughout Europe and Asia. Bharet launched his career as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney in New York City.

Bharet earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he triple majored in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Economics. While at Duke, Bharet competed against world-ranked players on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour. Following graduation, Bharet served on the Duke University Alumni Board of Directors and was President of the Engineering Alumni Association.

He has also served on the Board of Directors for the Network of South Asian Professionals (NETSAP and the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation.

Bharet is currently an active member of The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and is an Advisory Board Member for Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research and Kimpton Hotels.

René Mooren

Vice President Sales Europe, Marriott Hotels International Ltd.

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A true hospitality professional, René Mooren has more than 20 years of hotel experience with several global hotel companies.
René has been with Marriott for most of the last two decades and has held various positions in both on-property and regional sales leader roles in Europe. René was awarded the prestigious ‘Stephen G. Marriott Sales Culture Leadership Award’ in 2010 and in 2013 he was promoted to Vice President Sales of Marriott Europe responsible for over 300 hotels across 9 Marriott brands.

Yvonne Moya

Principal, Festive Road

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Yvonne started her career on the TMC side with American Express as Reengineering and Process Specialist before moving over to the Travel Management and buyer side of the corporate travel universe. Starting off at Deutsche Telekom, she had the chance to build up a Travel- and Meetings team from scratch.
Interested in the whole travel supply chain, she then moved over to IBM and for the first two years started on the consulting side and worked as an outsourced EMEA Category Lead for Travel and Events for Goodyear Dunlop Tires. She then took over the EMEA Agency and Card portion for IBM before she moved to Unilever in 2010. She has been managing the whole Travel, Fleet and Meetings area of the award-winning program (Business Travel Award 2016), firstly from a Procurement perspective and responsibility, since 2014 as Global Director for the whole category.
In October 2017, she joined Business Travel Consultancy FESTIVE ROAD and is now helping and supporting both, buyers and suppliers to recreate, innovate and rethink corporate travel.

Bernd Schulz

CEO of i:FAO AG and General Manager of i:FAO Group GmbH

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Prior to joining i:FAO in 2017, Bernd was General Manager for Amadeus Germany, with responsibility for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Before moving over to Amadeus in 2012, Bernd was Head of Global Travel Management for Siemens, a role he took in 2008, after being the company’s Global Travel Procurement Manager for 8 years.

i:FAO is best known for cytric, the global travel & expense technology platform servicing corporations and their business travellers. An end-to-end solution for everyone who needs help building, optimizing or saving on travel. 88.7% of i:FAO is owned by Amadeus.

Dominic Short

Global Category Manager, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

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Dominic joined Takeda in October 2015 as a Global Category Manager and is a member of the team that purchases the group’s global travel and meetings and events services. Before joining Takeda he acted as Managing Director for the Zurich office of the MCI Group. Dominic Short was in charge of leading his team to design and deliver inspiring events, meetings and conferences for both the private and the public sector. In this role, he also helps regional and international enterprises and associations to launch new products, build brand loyalty, reach new markets and reward top performance.

Dominic, born 1971 in London/England, originates from the airline industry, having served Swissair Zurich as of 1989 and for more than a dozen years. In 2001, he became General Manager of the new Zurich event location Toni Molkerei, a fashionable venue for corporate events, theatre and art. Late 2004, he moved as Director Business Development to ICLP, the leading global customer loyalty provider, and in 2008, he joined AirPlus as Global Account Manager based in Zurich and Frankfurt, Germany. From 2011 until 2013 Dominic Short was CEO of traXess in Zurich, a business travel consulting agency, offering online booking tools and global business travel data consolidation.

Pascal Struyve

Global Travel, Fleet & Meeting Services Director Ingersoll-Rand

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Pascal joined Ingersoll-Rand in June 2008 after the acquisition of Trane where he held a similar position previously. Pascal is based at the EMEA HQ in Brussels Belgium.
Pascal has an extensive travel management background in both corporate and travel environments. After 15 years in the travel industry on the supplier side Pascal joined in 2005 American Standard Companies as their EMEA Travel Manager. Within American Standard he became global director of travel and meeting services in 2007. American Standard went through a name change in 2007 and became Trane before it was acquired by Ingersoll-Rand in June 2008. Since 2008 he has the global responsibility for the Travel as well as Fleet and Meeting Services.
Pascal is also member of the Board of BATM (Belgium Association of Travel Management) since 2008 and serves as the President of the association since February 2017.
He also serves on multiple customer advisory boards within the corporate travel industry since many years.

Paul Tilstone

Managing Partner, Festive Road

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Paul started his career in travel management company (TMC) sales & marketing roles for the business travel sector in 1993. In 2005 he took up the post of CEO for the UK & Ireland’s Institute of Travel & Meetings (ITM) where he developed research, sustainability projects and industry affairs. He then launched the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in Europe in 2010, moving to SVP Global Development in 2012 with a brief to develop GBTA regions outside of the USA. In 2013, he also became deputy editor of Global Business Travel magazine.

In 2015 he launched consultancy Festive Road, (www.festive-road.com). He has been listed in the UK’s Buying Business Travel Hotlist and twice listed as one of the world’s top 25 business travel industry influencers by the Business Travel News, USA, for work in advocacy and sustainability.
In 2017 he was appointed to the GBTA board as the first ever elected international director. He is based in Surrey in the UK.

Andrew Watson

Vice President Digital, Loyalty & Portfolio Marketing, Europe, Marriott International

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Andrew Watson is a proven marketer with over 15 years of experience across the Hospitality and FMCG sectors focussing on the development of brands, performance marketing and ecommerce.

In his current roles Andrew oversees Marriott International’s Digital, Loyalty and Partnership marketing efforts across Europe.  His is a great believer in the power of brands and how to drive customer behaviour & loyalty though the use of data, personalisation and online channels.