Joakim Everstin

Head of Innovation, EMEA, Sabre

Joakim Everstin is a technology evangelist and head of innovation for Sabre’s Travel Network division.  In his role, Joakim is responsible for identifying emerging trends and technologies in travel, and overseeing the development of these into value-add products for Sabre’s customers.  He has been a frequent keynote speaker and panelist around innovation in travel, mobile technology and wearable devices in some of the major EMEA tech events and travel trade shows such as TTE,WTM, ITB, IFTM, Russia Internet Forum and Arabian Travel Market. Furthermore he has also presented the Sabre Dev Studio Story at Mashery and Gartner events.

Prior to joining Sabre, Joakim managed a successful company in Sweden, which provided Multi Variate Testing (MVT) and web analytics to help e-commerce companies optimise their e-commerce funnels.  Before this, he worked at Scandinavian Airlines in the e-commerce department, responsible for the front-end optimisation on their web sites.  He has also co-architected two corporate booking tools and worked as a hands-on developer on different online projects using open source technologies such as PHP, MySQL and Javascript/jQuery.


Eric Hallerberg

Country Director, UK and Ireland, Sabre

As Country Director, Hallerberg leads Sabre’s travel marketplace business in the UK and Ireland, which is the largest for Sabre in the region.  He is tasked with growing the company’s customer base, and maintaining successful and trusted relationships with Sabre’s existing travel management company clients, technology partners, as well as leisure and generalist travel agencies in the UK and Ireland.

Before taking on the position as Country Director, Hallerberg held numerous regional leadership positions within Sabre.  He was most recently Regional Managing Director of Global Accounts Europe, Middle East and Africa.  Prior to that, he spent six years in Singapore working alongside Abacus, Asia’s leading GDS – which Sabre acquired in 2015.

He earned a PhD in Economics from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  He also earned dual degrees – a BA in History and a BBA in Finance – from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, spending part of his studies at University College, Oxford.



Dr Nishaal Gooroochurn

Head of Econometrics, Oxford Economics

Nishaal joined Oxford Economics as Head of Econometrics in July 2015. Prior to this, Nishaal worked for over five years at HMRC in the Knowledge, Analysis and Intelligence team where we was head of income tax economics, and computable general equilibrium (CGE) teams. He led on a wide range of econometric and CGE projects and advised HMT, OBR and HMRC on various policy measures. Examples of projects include: a study of the macroeconomic effects of the budget; estimating the capital gains tax elasticity; difference in difference evaluation of tax policies; examination of the macroeconomic, efficiency and equity effects of tax policies; analysis of the EU emission trading scheme; and work on the economic implications airport capacity constraints in the UK.

Prior to joining HMRC, Nishaal taught economics and econometrics at the University of Nottingham for 5 years. Nishaal published several academic papers on a range of topics (taxation, tourism, productivity, corruption, innovation, foreign portfolio investment, macroeconomic impact) in top economic journals such as World Development and Journal of Economics and Statistics. He has also undertaken consultancy projects for various organisations including the World Bank, HMT, DECC, DEFRA, DfT, DCMS, Visit Scotland and WTTC.

In his current role, Nishaal has led several empirical projects for institutions such as Google, IFC, Etihad Airways, BHP Billiton, Accenture, PwC, Hitachi Financials, Abu Dhabi Ports, Transport for London, Boeing-China and CFA Institute.

Nishaal holds a PhD in Economics and MSc in Econometrics from the University of Nottingham.



Stephen D’Alfonso

Director of Public Affairs, ABTA

Stephen is ABTA’s Director of Public Affairs, leading on all of the association’s government affairs activities and political lobbying work in Westminster and Brussels, as well as the devolved governments in Belfast, Cardiff, and Edinburgh. Stephen has been active in lobbying on issues ranging from runway capacity and the reduction of Air Passenger Duty, to the reform of the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidaymakers. Stephen joined ABTA in 2010 after spending two years in strategic communications advising on a range of policy issues.



Sandy D. Jap

Professor of Marketing, Emory University Atlanta GA

Sandy Jap is a Professor of Marketing at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. She is a co-founder of the Emory Marketing Analytics Center (MAC) and an international expert in the management of partnering relationships and business-tobusiness issues. Her research centers on the development of organizational relationships, go-to-market strategies, and e-procurement. Her current focus is the development of decision support systems for multichannel sales attribution and media optimization. Sandy has won numerous awards for her impact on the field and the work has received significant attention from the academic community and the marketplace, including The Wall Street Journal, CFO Magazine, and Harvard Business Review. Her work appears in a variety of books and she is an editorial board member at leading marketing journals. Partnering with the Frenemy is her first book. Prior to joining Goizueta, Sandy served on the faculty at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for six years and was a Visiting Associate Faculty member at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She teaches channel strategy and retailing classes for MBA, executive, and undergraduate programs, and the marketing strategy seminar in the PhD program. She received her PhD from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and enjoys life with her kids. Tennis, red wine, and Cape Cod summers come in a very close second. www.sandyjap.com



Jon West

Managing Director, HRS

Jon West is Managing Director of HRS, the hotel solutions provider, in the UK and Ireland. A driving force within HRS, Jon has been responsible for the transformation of the UK business into a thriving enterprise with a clear focus on corporate travel and building effective partnerships to create industry-leading solutions for travel buyers. Jon West joined HRS in 2009 from IS Solutions, where he had been for 12 years. Jon was Marketing Director at IS Solutions and was responsible for launching the internet and analytics divisions, as well as bringing clients on board.



Andy Blackwell

Principal, Blackwell Security Consulting

Andy is former Head of Security with Virgin Atlantic where he was responsible for all aspects of the airline’s security programme, including Security Management Systems (SeMS) implementation and development.  Prior to joining Virgin Atlantic, he was UK Security Manager and Lead Threat Assessor with DHL International.

Andy has a law enforcement and intelligence background, with previous service with UK Customs, British Transport Police, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Drugs Intelligence Service of the Czech Republic.  Andy has been commended by the Metropolitan Police for demonstrating a high degree of professionalism and providing an exceptional level of service during a period of heightened threat against civil aviation interests.

Andy is a member of UK Security Expo’s Advisory Board, sits on the Editorial Panel of Aviation Security International magazine and holds full membership of the Emergency Planning Society. He is a subject matter expert on SeMS and a wide range of transport security matters.  Andy is a regular speaker at international security conferences and events and several of his articles on security, threat and risk management have been published in specialist magazines globally.

Andy is the Principal and owner of Blackwell Security Consulting, a consultancy focusing on transport and travel security.  He is also a partner of Danburykline, a specialist consultancy which supports transport and other highly regulated, safety orientated industries.



Stephen Humphreys

Head of Sales and Marketing for the UK and Ireland, British Airways

He has responsibility for British Airways and Iberia’s global relationships with its travel management companies, corporate customers, as well as partner leisure agents and tour operators.

Stephen brings over twenty years of management experience in the travel and airline industries. He previously held senior roles with British Airways including Head of UK&I Sales & Marketing and Regional General Manager, South West Pacific.

He also held senior regional and sales positions with Qantas in Australia, before moving to New Zealand to become Managing Director of Stella Travel Services, the country’s largest travel company.

Stephen is married with eight children.



Marian McLain

Head of Third Party Distribution Global Sales, Marriott Hotels

Marian McLain is a hospitality professional with over 30 years of experience in the hotel lodging business working for Marriott International. She has held various roles throughout her career, predominantly focused in sales and marketing, both in strategic account management and property sales and marketing.

Marian is currently the Vice President, Global Sales, Intermediaries, leading the team that manages the strategic relationships with the most highly valued Group Intermediary Partners, Travel Management Companies and Consortia and Retail agencies.

Prior to her intermediary role, she was a Director for Marriott’s Global Sales Corporate Accounts, leading a team that managed Marriott’s top corporate accounts, focused on all revenue segments – group, business travel and extended stay.

Earlier in her career, Marian spent 15 years as both a Director of Sales and Marketing for several of Marriott’s convention and resort hotels.

Marian earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont and received her Global Leadership Designation from the Global Business Travel Association and the Wharton School.

She enjoys golf, biking and a good glass of wine and resides with her husband in Frisco, TX.



Henry G. “Hank” Benedetti

Managing Director, Strategic Accounts, American Airlines

With over 20 years at American Airlines, Hank Benedetti has held roles across several divisions before becoming the Managing Director of Strategic Accounts at American Airlines.

Hank began his career with American in the Cargo division in San Francisco before moving over to the Airport Customer Service group in the early 1990s. After moving to roles of increasing responsibility in the Global Sales organization in San Francisco and Dallas, Hank joined the Strategic Alliances division and helped lead the team responsible for American’s membership and development of the oneworld alliance. In 2003, he became a Global Account Manager responsible for the revenue performance of AA’s largest corporate accounts. When American announced its joint venture with British Airways and Iberia in 2009, Hank moved to the Planning group responsible for the sales integration of its Atlantic Joint Business. Two years later, after a year-long position as Director of Industry Relations for a luxury hotel group, he returned to American as its Manager of Corporate Sales Planning responsible for the policy, administration and strategy of corporate account sales.

Based in American’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, Hank currently leads the Strategic Accounts group responsible for the sales and marketing efforts to its largest corporate and travel agency accounts.

Hank completed his Bachelor of Science in Aviation at San Jose State University. He is a member of the Business Travel News Advisory Board, American Express Middle Market Advisory Board and is a mentor in the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Ladders program.



Dr Gerard Lyons

Leading International Economist

Dr Gerard Lyons is a leading international economist. The Times has referred to him as, “One of the leading analysts of the global economy”.  Ace forecaster: twice topped the Sunday Times annual forecasting poll; rated number one global forecaster by Bloomberg (out of over 360) in 2010&11 and the month before the financial crisis was one of only two UK economists predicting a deep, imminent recession. From January 2013 to May 2016 was Chief Economic Advisor to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. Previously spent 27 years in senior roles in The City at Chase Manhattan, Swiss Bank, DKB and Standard Chartered. First book, ‘The Consolations of Economics’, was a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year and released as paperback by Faber & Faber in June 2015. His ebook can be downloaded from Amazon:  ‘The UK Referendum: an Easy Way to Leave the EU’.



Tim Montgomerie

Columnist for The Times

Tim Montgomerie is a columnist for The Times and writes regularly for other publications including the CapX website. He is probably best known for founding ConservativeHome.com and the Centre for Social Justice, the think tank he established with Iain Duncan Smith in 2004. He began his career at the Bank of England and is based in Washington DC for most of the presidential election year but is spending the referendum period back in the UK, in order to support the campaign to Leave the EU. Tim, a season ticket holder at Old Trafford, has awful memories of his first GTMC conference in Doha – as he saw Man City score two very late goals against QPR and win their first league title for many blue moons. He is hoping for a happier visit this year.


Ben Fowler

Ben Fowler, Research Director, Audiencenet

Ben firmly believes that great insights can change the world. He excels at asking the right questions and harnessing connected technologies to deliver fast and fascinating research. His favourite part of the research process is turning data and insights into compelling stories and impactful recommendations.

He gets the biggest kick out of research projects that tackle the really important issues of our time such as political engagement amongst digital natives, the impact of new technologies on business travel, the refugee crisis and the shift away from traditional broadcast media towards a more social and interactive media environment.

Prior to joining AudienceNet as a Research Director in April 2013, Ben worked at Ipsos MORI and Future Thinking for clients ranging from Twinings Tea to Transport for London. Recent clients at AudienceNet include GTMC & HRS, Warner Music and The TENT Foundation. He is a member of the Market Research Society and a Fellow of the Royal Statistics Society.

Ben is also a relentless cyclist, reader and chef.