Chelsea HauschaConsumer PR LeaderTourism and Events Queensland
Craig PlattManaging Editor, traveller.com.auNine (Traveller, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald)
Craig Platt is Managing Editor for traveller.com.au, Australia's leading travel publishing website, incorporating the Traveller sections of The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Sun-Herald and featured across these masthead's websites as well as the Canberra Times, Brisbane Times and WA Today.
Craig is one of Australia's most experienced digital journalists and editors, and has worked in journalism for more than 15 years. He has managed Fairfax Media's digital travel publishing since 2007.
Emma SturgissHead of Global PRTourism Australia
As Global Manager - Public Relations, I am responsible for the management and operation of Tourism Australia's global PR function which includes the organisation's media and broadcast hosting programs, our global press office and developing PR and communications strategies to support global marketing campaigns. I also provide strategic advice and support to Tourism Australia's regional PR teams in 15 international offices to assist them develop and roll-out their own public relations activities.
Gaynor ReidVice President Communications, Asia PacificACCOR
Gaynor Reid is Vice President ACCOR Asia Pacific, based in the company’s Singapore regional head office. She has worked for ACCOR for 18 years, starting in the group’s Sydney office as Media Relations Manager and moving to Asia in 2013.
She oversees the group’s Communications strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility and Crisis Management to consistently articulate ACCOR’ messaging to both internal and external audiences.
Prior to joining ACCOR, Gaynor was Manager of Communications and Community Relations for the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) and managed SOCOG’s Welcome the World project to prepare Australia to welcome all visitors from across the world for the 2000 Olympics.
With a background in journalism, she was also a reporter and editor for ten years before moving into Public Relations.
An award-winning communications professional, Gaynor was awarded Best Hotel PR of the Year 2013 (Hotel Management Awards), Communicator of the Year 2011 (Australian Society of Travel Writers), Best Hotel PR 2009 (HM Awards) and Best PR Member 2004 (Australian Society of Travel Writers) as well as being a multiple finalist in similar awards over the past decade.
She oversees communications for ACCOR’s 1,100 hotels across Asia Pacific in 20 countries. Gaynor also sits on the group’s Executive Committee for Asia Pacific.
ACCOR is a Group united by a shared passion for hospitality and driven by a shared promise to make everyone Feel Welcome. Over 280,000 women and men in 4,800 ACCOR establishments look after thousands of guests every day in over 100 countries.
James WilkinsonTV Host/Anchor & Editor-In-ChiefWayfarer Travel & Lifestyle TV show
James Gregory Wilkinson is an award-winning TV show host, Editor-In-Chief and global travel expert.
He is the host of the executive travel and lifestyle TV show WAYFARER and Editor-In-Chief of the Wayfarer website and newsletter that was launched in 2017.
WAYFARER Series 1 was broadcast on Sky News Australia (it generated 1.2 million viewers and is still available online at skynews.com.au and Foxtel On Demand) and is about to be broadcast on WestJet in Canada to 25 million passengers.
WAYFARER Series 2 is currently in final production and episodes set to be broadcast will feature Austin, Beijing, Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai and several more global cities to be announced.
WAYFARER Series 3 is currently in production in 4K Ultra HD and destinations will include Paris, Fiji, the Whitsundays in Queensland, Auckland, Sydney, Singapore and several more global cities to be announced.
Each episode showcases some of the best hotels, restaurants, bars, galleries, shops and much more in the world's hottest destinations.
For the last 19 years, James has been the Editor-In-Chief of the Asia-Pacific region's highly respected hotel industry magazine, HM, and its online products.
He is formerly the Travel Editor of Time Out Australia and a Contributing Editor to SPICE magazine and SpiceNews.
From late-2012 to early 2018, James was a regular guest (appearing on over 200 episodes) on the Sky News Business Channel television show 'Business Class', which is now broadcast on Your Money and features airlines, hotels, destinations, travel accessories and much more.
James is also Chair of Laureate Australia Hospitality's Industry Advisory Board and Deputy Chair of the Young Garvan committee at the Garvan Research Foundation.
In 2003, James co-founded the HM Awards (Australasia's largest hotel awards) and in 2010, the AHICE Conference, also the region's largest.
He Chairs the Content Committee for AHICE and is the Chief Judge and co-organiser of the HM Awards.
James has also been a guest on Channel 7's 'The Morning Show', radio 4BC in Brisbane and 3AW in Melbourne, and is formerly the Editor-In-Chief of Hilton, Australian Hotelier, Signature Cocktails and bars&clubs magazines. Prior to this, James was at Courier Newspapers.
James was named 2008 Travel Writer of the Year for Trade / Industry by the Australian Society of Travel Writers, while in 2003, James received the received the Golden Circle Award from Marriott International.
At the 2008 HM Awards, James screened a moving film (that he wrote, filmed, narrated, directed and produced) about the Sala Bai Hotel School in Cambodia that has since raised over 0,000.
In 2010, James was a finalist for Travel Writer of the Year at the National Tourism Industry Awards (NTIAs), presented by AFTA.
Jo PalmerManaging DirectorGate 7
Lauren BlankPR ManagerTourism New Zealand
Lauren has recently joined the Tourism New Zealand family in 2013 from Qantas Airways.
She is fortunate to be based in the Sydney office as part of the Public Relations Team and is a Queenslander at heart.
With a background in Aviation PR, Lauren has worked in the airline industry for over 10 years including Virgin Australia Airlines.
Following Virgin, she moved to Qantas Corporate Communication & PR working across their external media and affairs.
New Zealand is one of Lauren's favourite lands and she feels honoured to be part of the team.
Peter HookPrincipalVisit Sunshine Coast | Hook Communications
Director of Hook Communications, a boutique PR consultancy servicing the hospitality, tourism and lifestyle sectors. Clients include Visit Sunshine Coast, Kakadu Tourism, the Schwartz hotel group (hotels include Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains, Novotel Newcastle, Mercure Sydney, Mercure Canberra and the new Four Points by Sheraton at Central Park Sydney), the Tank Stream Hotel Sydney and a range of other hotel and tourism companies.
Hook Communications was established by Peter Hook, one of the industry's most experienced communication professionals, with over two decades in senior management positions at Accor and Southern Pacific Hotels.
Stephen HowardGroup Director of MarketingOvolo Group
Stephen Howard is a Marketing Communication professional with a variety of experience spanning over 15 years in a number of different industries and cultural backgrounds having lived in Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
Stephen began his career studying at QUT in Brisbane, Queensland whilst running the Marketing and Promotions for a number of high-end hospitality venues. To further progress his career be relocated to Sydney in 2007 working The Popcorn Group running the PR and Marketing for the national social beach volleyball festival SLAM.
In an extreme change of direction, in 2008 Stephen moved into the car industry working for multi-national car company Hyundai Motor Company. Whilst at Hyundai he oversaw a complete brand change in the company launching a number of new vehicles and also implementing a new direction in their PR practices.
In July 2012, Stephen felt the need to return to where it all began in hospitality joining one of Australia's largest hospitality and entertainment companies EVENT. Here he successfully launched the designer hotel brand, QT Hotels & Resorts the the Australian and International markets whilst also overseeing the company's group communications across EVENT businesses such as Event Cinemas, Rydges Hotels, Thredbo Alpine Resort, among others.
In 2017, Stephen furthered his education completing the Strategic Marketing Management course and the renowned Ivy League University Harvard.
In March 2018, he joined designer hotel collection Ovolo as Director of Marketing during a period of rapid expansion across a number of different regions.
“Ovolo is an amazing, fun and creative brand! The collection of hotels is setting a new benchmark for guest experiences through design, fashion, art and all-inclusive service with personality,” Stephen said.