Speakers announced for first Skift industry forum at WTM London 2016

Some of the biggest brains in the world of hospitality have agreed to share their expertise and opinions at the first ever World Travel Market London/Skift industry forum.

Top names from some of the most innovative and respected hospitality companies will discuss opportunities and challenges in the industry in a session entitled: Faultlines of Disruption in Global Hospitality.

The experts include Jen O'Neal, CEO of Tripping.com, the world's largest search engine for lettings, which allows users to compare properties from top rental sites such as HomeAway and Booking.com.

She will be joined by Josh Wyatt, CEO of Equinox Hotels, an exciting hospitality business that is internationally renowned for innovation, experience, luxury and design.

Adding their insight will be Alex Shashou, President of hotel operating system ALICE; Marc Heyneker CEO and founder of Revinate, which helps hotels improve the guest experience pre, during, and post-stay with mobile and desktop solutions, and Alexandra Zubko, co-founder of TripTease, a direct booking optimisation platform which helps hotels get more direct bookings through their current site.

Completing the line-up will be Anwar Mekhayech, principal and founding partner of DesignAgency.

WTM London 2016 is the only major European travel exhibition Skift will partner with in 2016 and 2017 and the forum is being billed as a mini version of the hugely respected Skift Global Forum - the largest creative business forum in the global travel industry, which has quickly earned a reputation for creating and defining the future of travel.

The panel members will look at how the hotel sector is being rewired and rethought from top to bottom since online booking of travel has become mainstream, with every obvious and non-obvious part of hospitality being turned over, questioned, and retooled.

The experts will look at how these fault lines manifest themselves, such as old verses new; consumer verses business and east verses west, and how the consumer can make the right choice.

WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: "The businesses that will be represented on stage during this exciting two-hour mini-forum have sprung up over the past few years as a result of the changing face of hospitality, so they are well placed to explain what is happening and give their opinions.

"The calibre of experts for the first WTM London/Skift mini forum is extremely high and the speakers will draw on their own knowledge and views to give a colourful insight into what's happening now in the sector and where it is heading.

"This is a not-to-be-missed session, which is sure to be a real talking point of WTM London 2016."

Skift, President, Carolyn Kremins, said: "This is such a critical moment for the global hospitality industry as trends such as everything from the sharing economy to the tug-of war between the largest hotel chains and the behemoth online travel agencies give everyone a run for their money. At the same time, design-forward independent hotels have carved their own niche and are nevertheless trying to figure out how they can gain advantage with all of the disruption shaking the industry around them. Thought leaders on our panel won't be shy about chiming in about the market opportunities and challenges within the tumult."

Faultlines of Disruption in Global Hospitality will take place on Wednesday 9 November at 3pm at the Global Stage (AS950)

WTM London is the event where the travel and tourism industry conducts its business deals. Buyers from the WTM Buyers Club have a combined purchasing responsibility of £22.6 billion (£15.8bn) and sign deals at the event worth $3.6 billion (£2.5bn).

WTM London 2016 will be revamped as a three-day event from Monday 7 - Wednesday 9 November, with opening hours extended from 10am - 7pm for all three days.

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