Inder Sharma is a visionary, a serial entrepreneur, an angel investor and an environmentalist seeking practical solutions to everyday life problems. He has founded 15 companies over the last 20 years varying from hospitality solutions, to energy efficient lighting, to power generation. Inder founded Hotel.com in 1996 and sold it in 2001. He founded hotelsupplies.com which became the platform for chicebuys.com. He founded medibuy which went public in 2001 with a valuation of $1.5B. Inder has been associated with AAHOA for over 23 years and has been part of it’s growth since 1993. Keep Reading
Martin Owen joined the industry as a travel agent specializing in corporate travel, before working in reservations and sales for an international airline. He moved back into agency management eventually managing a chain of travel agencies in London.
In 1983, he joined Travelbag, a small company of 12 people selling discounted air tickets to Australia. He was part of the ownership team that grew the company to 400 people as a major long-haul tour operator. Travelbag also ran its own charter flight operation with daily flights to Australia from the UK, and owned a tourist ranch and hotel in Central Australia.
On selling his stake in Travelbag in 1996, he established a Tourism Consultancy, Owen Organization. The consultancy assisted in air and land product purchasing for a major tour operator; technology management for an international travel agency group; technology consulting for Sabre/American Airlines in Europe; establishing travel industry distribution for Serviced Apartment rentals worldwide; and developed a travel agency specializing in international travel for dogs among other projects.
Raul is CEO of Virgin Hotels and is responsible for the company’s overall expansion, customer experience and culture. In a career that spans 30 years, Raul has held top management positions for Interstate Hotels, Lane Hotels and the Continental companies and is one of the few hospitality industry executives that understands both the lifestyle and branded hotels segments. Keep Reading
Erik is a hotel technology marketing specialist, with deep experience across global markets with solutions such as revenue management, online distribution and property management. Erik started his career in hotel management, then shifted to technical roles in solution consulting and delivery, before specializing in sales and marketing leadership.
Rocco is a passionate hotelier and energetic entrepreneur with a remarkable career of over 20 years. He studied hotel management at Westminster College in London and Cornell University in Singapore, and he has worked in some of the finest, world class properties in amazing destinations spanning three continents. He’s led pre-opening, rebranding, and repositioning projects, and he’s recognized as a turnaround expert. Keep Reading
Rajiv Bhatia, M.S., CHA, CHE, CRME is CEO of FairBridge Hotels International, a promising franchise system with 43 properties providing an attractive alternative to legacy franchise models.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of FairBridge, Rajiv served as leader of the Knights Inn Brand of the Wyndham Hotel Group. Throughout the last decade he was responsible for brand operations, property openings, design and development, franchise services, quality assurance, training, development financing and marketing. During his tenure at Wyndham, Mr. Bhatia served as president of the company’s Villager brand from 2003 until it merged with the Knights Inn brand in September 2004. Prior to his role as brand president, from 1996 until 2003 Mr Bhatia supported the Hotel Group’s worldwide master licensing efforts for several Wyndham brands including Howard Johnson, Days Inn, and Super 8 while working across five continents and numerous international destinations. Keep Reading
Ron Whitfield is an Executive General Manager with ResortQuest by Wyndham in Destin Florida. He earned his Associate of Arts Degree from the University of West Florida and a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University with an emphasis in Resort and Club Management.
Ron has been in the Vacation Rental Industry for more than two decades. He has had a Community Association Management License for 22 years and has been a Real Estate Broker for 11 years.
Tarun S. Patel is a second generation hotelier and entrepreneur specializing in Hospitality Management and Development, Deal Structure, Finance and Accounting. He’s Principal of Pacific Hospitality Company, and Founder and CFO of Pracrea Inc, a Silicon Valley based startup offering software-as-a-service solutions used by commercial real estate brokers and owners to manage the sale of their listings and properties. Their solution, TheHotelInventory.com, provides a virtual meeting place for hotel buyers and sellers that helps hotel sellers and brokers market their properties, and hotel investors find their next investment.
Tarun earned a BS, Finance and Economics from San Diego State University.
Dr. Joseph Hegarty M.Ed., Ed. D is an educator, author, and international consultant. He has 35+ years experience as a professional manager with innovative organizations including, international and local hotels in management/proprietorship, a full academic career in professional vocational & higher education institutions, and as a published hospitality & culinary education researcher.
He holds a Doctoral Degree in Education from University of Sheffield. A Masters Degree in Education from Trinity College Dublin and a Diploma in Hotel Management from Shannon College of Hotel Management. Keep Reading
Kerry V. Ranson is Chief Development Officer, Business & Acquisitions, for HP Hotels – a Birmingham, Alabama-based 3rd party management group with a portfolio of over 30 hotels in 12 states comprised of Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental, Choice, and Independent full-service and select-service hotels. Kerry is also the outgoing Chairman of the Board for the IHG Owners Association. Keep Reading