Here you can find the inspirational talks and panels that we have lined up for you at the half-day TTG LGBT Seminar on 22 August
|Welcome from Sophie Griffiths|
Welcome from seminar sponsor
Who is the LGBT consumer and what are their travel habits?
Fresh data analysing the travel habits of the LGBT community: What matters to LGBT customers when travelling? How influenced are they by the LGBT laws of a destination? How often do they travel? And do they tend to use a travel agent when they do? Find out all this and more…
Case study: Preferred Hotels & Resorts
The brand’s Preferred Pride programme now includes more than 160 LGBTQ-friendly independent hotels and resorts. Hear from Mark Beverlo about why the brand is so passionate about inclusivity and its journey to get there.
Destinations in the spotlight: Who’s getting it right when it comes to welcoming LGBT travellers?
Destinations explain how and why they are appealing to the LGBT+ market, the challenges they’ve faced along the way, and the positive results they’re now seeing
Case study: Responsible Travel
Responsible Travel launched an LGBT travel guide earlier this year, recognising that it’s not always easy for travellers to know what makes a trip LGBT-friendly. The company prides itself on asking its supplier partners not if they’re LGBT friendly – but how they are. Shannon explains all about the company’s approach alongside tips for other companies wanting to follow suit.
Avoiding the rainbow wash: Marketing lessons from inside and outside the travel industry
All too often businesses stick a rainbow flag on their website/shop window and assume that’s enough. It isn’t. These travel experts explain why, and offer tips on how to market authentically to the LGBT consumer.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, Director of Tourism, Marketing Manchester
Mark Lewis, founder and chief executive, HotelREZ™ and World Rainbow Hotels
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride
|17:50||Closing remarks from Sophie Griffiths|
|18:00||Evening networking drinks - Manchester Travel Pride!|
Tickets for the TTG LGBT Seminar are now available for £99 (+VAT)!
Hear from our incredible line-up of speakers who will share tips and advice on how to market and sell to the LGBT community as well as case studies about their own experiences in the sector. More speakers will also be added to the agenda soon, so stay tuned and watch this space!
Chief Executive Officer
Mark Fletcher is the CEO of Manchester Pride, a charity which campaigns for LGBT+ equality. Primarily from a commercial background, Mark began his journey with the LGBT+ charity in 2004 taking on the role as a freelance sponsorship manager. Over the years, his passion as an LGBT+ activist spurred him on to focus all his energy in to the charity and, in 2014 Mark was appointed as the CEO for Manchester Pride. In 2018, Mark was also named as one of the specialist panel of experts on the LGBT+ advisory panel to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, the first of its kind in the UK.
Director, Regional Sales
Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Mark Beverlo brings over 16 years of international sales experience to his role as Director of Regional Sales for Preferred Hotels & Resorts. In this position, he has a hands on approach to developing business for member hotels in the U.K., Ireland, Nordics & Netherlands. After completing his studies and earning a degree in Hospitality Management at Stenden University in the Netherlands, Mark began his career in Beijing working in the diplomatic segment as Sales Manager for Shangri-La’s Kerry Centre Hotel. In 2009, Beverlo moved to London where he focused on the local corporate market to develop business at various Red Carnations Hotels. Prior to joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beverlo held various senior sales positions for prestigious luxury hotels including The Ritz London, Shangri-La London, and Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel, where he honed his international sales expertise and broadened his network, managing a variety of key markets including Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Americas. Mark speaks Dutch, English, German, and Mandarin Chinese.
Director of Tourism, Marketing Manchester
Vice Chairman, Tourism Alliance
Nick Brooks-Sykes is Director of Tourism at Marketing Manchester and Vice Chairman of the Tourism Alliance. He was educated at the University of Stirling and the Scottish Hotel School. His early career began at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and, as a fluent French and German speaker, he has spent time working for tour operators in both Paris and Germany.
Nick has over thirty years’ experience in the tourism sector, having previously held a number of senior management roles at the North West Tourist Board and North West Regional Development Agency. Until 2014, he was Chief Executive of Bath Tourism Plus, recognised as one of the country’s leading destination management organisations.
Nick leads the tourism and convention team at Marketing Manchester, the agency charged with promoting Manchester on the national and international stage and the official tourist board for the city region.
Chief Marketing Officer
Discover Puerto Rico
As a veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Leah Chandler holds over 16 years of branding, advertising, and marketing experience. She assumed her role as Chief Marketing Officer of Discover Puerto Rico in July 2018, a newly formed non-profit that supports the promotion of tourism to foster economic growth on the Island.
She has held a variety of roles through her successful career which include Senior Account Manager at Hirons, managing the Indiana Tourism account for over 5 years and Account Director at H & L, leading efforts for Missouri Tourism’s rebranding in 2013. Before joining Discover Puerto Rico, Leah was the Chief Marketing Officer for the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Leah received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from the Indiana State University.
Travel Team Specialist
Shannon is an avid traveller and customer service expert who swapped her decade long career in fashion buying to pursue a career in responsible tourism. 'There was an urge to do something more meaningful, definitely. The chance to make a positive impact whilst indulging my curiosity about the world has been a defining move for me.'
She joined the Responsible Travel team in 2018 and now works across a number of projects designed to improve customer experience, working directly with Responsible Travel's 400 holiday company partners on their customer service and strategy. Shannon is also a passionate advocate for inclusivity in the travel industry and as a LGBT traveller herself, recognises the important work companies can do to promote diversity. ‘Our trip partners range from large global travel companies right down to small, locally owned independents so everyone's approach is different, but it's a great feeling to all be working towards the same goal.'
Head of Hotel Representatives for Berlin's "Pink Pillow" project
Philip Ibrahim has been with the European market leader, Accor for 17 years. Most recently, as hotel director, he headed the Mercure Hotel Berlin City, setting new and innovative trends - from a quiz night to a neighborhood market to new food and beverage ideas to attract residents and guests alike. The trained hotel professional previously had various operational functions and was able to gain experience in sales and distribution as part of Accor's regional team.
In 2012, Philip Ibrahim founded the pinkPillow initiative together with visitBerlin, Berlin's city marketing. This is a LGBTI-scene collection, with different hotels that are united in one idea: every guest should, be as he feels. As initiator of pinkPillow, he speaks at international events around the topic of hospitality.
Since 2018, Philip Ibrahim has been Deputy Chairman of the Hotel Industry Section of the DEHOGA Berlin Executive Committee, where he is responsible for the areas of skilled workers and innovation.
Founder and chief executive
HotelREZ™ and World Rainbow Hotels
Mark Lewis founded HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts in 2004, and over the course of a decade the company has grown to be one of the leading hotel representation companies dedicated to marketing and connecting independent hotels with bookers worldwide. Mark has a wealth of experience in the tourism and hospitality sector, having held several positions at renowned leisure and travel companies such as Thomas Cook and Pegasus Solutions.
HotelREZ provides distribution, revenue, sales consultancy, marketing services and support to more than 1,500 hotels and small hotel groups in over 100 countries, including private label GDS chain code solutions. It connects independent hotels and hotel groups with corporate and leisure bookers by offering GDS connectivity and web services, allowing worldwide agencies and individuals to book for themselves and their clients. As aglobal partner of Sabre, HotelREZ increases hotel revenues through its GDS, which is outperforming average market growth YOY.
World Rainbow Hotels is a global supplier of over 1,200 LGBT-friendly hotels, bookable on the GDS and online to both consumers and the travel trade. The company has been the official accommodation provider for some of the world’s biggest Pride events, including London, Chicago, and Sao Paulo.
Head of Income
Rachel is Head of Income at Gaydio, responsible for activity across a range of income streams to support the UK’s only national LGBT+ focused station. She looks after a range of clients across the travel sector at Gaydio. Based at the Brighton office, she works with clients to help access our half a million weekly listeners. When not at work, she enjoys travelling, fitness and activity based challenges.
Press Office Manager and Diversity Lead
In his role running the Press Office of the UK’s third biggest airport, Seb ensures the airport’s strategy and strengths are promoted in the media and it is protected at times of issue. Outside of his PR remit he sits on the board of the airport’s Chaplaincy, and is a school governor at Manchester Enterprise Academy. He also sits on the airport’s diversity and inclusion forum where he has spearheaded a wealth of the airport’s LGBT+ activity including Pride sponsorships across the UK.
Director of UK & Ireland
Malta Tourism Authority
Peter is a Maltese and UK dual national, who has lived in the UK for most of his life. His early career was spent with Mars Confectionery, Kraft Foods and Bowater Scott. He moved into the travel industry in senior marketing roles with Horizon Holidays, First Choice Holidays and Lunn Poly (TUI). In 1997 he was appointed as Business Development Director for Birmingham Airport and stayed in this role until 2009. He was also a non - executive director of Marketing Birmingham and a member of the Airports Council International (ACI) Economics and Commercial committee during this period.
In 2010 he changed industry to work for Interserve plc, operating as CEO for three construction companies, completing contracts to build schools to the value of around £500m and managing facilities management contracts valued at a further £500m. Alongside this, in 2014 he founded and was appointed as CEO of an Academy Trust, sponsoring and running an academy school in England.
He joined the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) in September 2015 as Director for the UK and Ireland, based in London.