EyeforTravel North America

October 2019, Chicago

Personalize, Lock-In Loyalty, Claim Market Share

Airbnb, WhyHotel, Roomkey: from pop-ups to novel design and honest booking

Why not a pop-up hotel in the evolving hospitality landscape? Hear more at EyeforTravel North America, travel’s most senior event of 2019

The hospitality industry continues to evolve, and one of the latest incarnations is the so-called pop-up hotel! And why not, says Washington DC-based WhyHotel, a venture-backed start-up that spun out of real estate firm Vornado Realty in 2017 and will be joining us at EyeforTravel North America (Chicago, Oct 28-29).

In essence, this fast-moving company is looking to fill luxury apartments that often stand empty after a build completes. Founders Jason Fudin, and co-founder Bao Vuong both hail from a background in real estate – Vornado Realty and PN Hoffman respectively – and appear to be onto something. As the company’s Insider Playbook explains: “Most newly constructed apartment buildings take 10-24 months to fill up with long-term renters”. The group is aiming to address this “creepy inefficiency” by temporarily turning those empty units into a 100+ room hotel - importantly though, only if the regulatory environment is favourable, and the traveller demand is there.


The [WhyHotel] idea is that guests can experience a home-away-from-home with all typical comforts and amenities, plus the service trappings that you might expect from a very cool hotel.

The target audience is business travellers, typically on extended stays, groups and families that are looking for a bit more space. The idea is that guests can experience a home-away-from-home with all typical comforts and amenities, plus the service trappings that you might expect from a very cool hotel. In other words, a simple and easy to book online experience, a lobby staffed 24/7 with coffee, water and snacks, and access to a local ‘city host,’ aka concierge. To date the group has opened four hotels and is looking to opening up five more by the end of 2019. At EyeforTravel North America, hear more about WhyHotel’s future plans from Chief Marketing Officer Miguel Oliveira.

Cool housing and honest booking

Should Airbnb, which officially announced its intention to go public last Thursday, be worried? Well, there is no time for standing still and the group which launched in 2018 continues to expand and grow its offering. In November last year, it announced that it was moving into the architecture and construction industry. As part of its Backyard project, new homes are being designed to accommodate short-term rentals, and there are plans to release a new housing prototype late next year. Hear more about Airbnb’s ongoing journey in Chicago from Saket Jain, the group’s Head of Strategy & Operations.

You can’t talk about hospitality without considering the role of the online travel agents and metasearch companies, which are under increasing pressure. Only last week the travel section of UK consumer magazine Which? claimed that Booking.com “is still misleading customers with pressure selling tactics”. Back in February, Booking.com along with Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com, Ebookers and Trivago, were given a warning by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to put an end to harmful practices. Booking.com has reacted to the latest allegations saying that it will move quickly to address the issue. 

As an antidote to this, Roomkey, formerly Room Key which launched in 2012, is positioning itself as the ‘honest hotel booking site’ which ‘helps consumers to book direct’. Hear more about this from Steve Sickel, CEO, Roomkey.

Leo Langford, EyeforTravel Global Events Director, says: “The C-Level speaker line-up for this event is truly exciting. Expect to hear from decision makers in revenue, distribution and marketing who have insight, expertise and case studies to share.”

All speakers confirmed for the event are briefed to discuss topics that will help travel businesses to adapt and grow.

  • WhyHotel will discuss how alternative lodging will meet the evolving mindset of business and leisure travelers
  • Marriott will disclose how their unique digital transformation journey fuels loyalty
  • Expedia, CIE Tours and Wyndham/RCI will dive deep into hybrid and experience-led lodging models that deliver loyalty
  • Preferred Hotels will uncover how to deliver immense choice for your customer in the age of unbundling
  • Hyatt will show you how to achieve world-leading loyalty fueled by consumer analytics and real-time data
  • Hertz will deliver case studies on how AI helped dynamic pricing strategies to boost revenues
  • Facebook and Marriott reveal how customer insights and creative inspiration can build deeper connections with travellers

This event gathers an impressive number of CEOs, CMOs and CFOs at 2019’s most senior travel conference.

Among the speakers joining us are:

  • Chris Silcock, Chief Operating Officer, Customer and Commercial Operations & EVP, Hilton
  • Brian King, Global Officer - Digital, Distribution, Revenue Management & Global Sales, Marriott International
  • Michael Marino, Chief Experience Officer, SVP Marketing, Caesars Entertainment
  • Amy Weinberg, Senior Vice President of World of Hyatt and Consumer Insights, Hyatt
  • Kristie Goshow, Chief Marketing Officer, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
  • Eric Broughton, General Manager - Multifamily, Expedia
  • Dan Christian, Global Chief Digital Officer, The Travel Corporation
  • Eliot Hamlisch, SVP Loyalty & Partnerships, Wyndham
  • Colleen Coulter, Travel Head of Industry, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook

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