Broadcaster, traveller and adventurer
He has rowed the Atlantic Ocean, crossed Antarctica on foot, run across the Sahara and crossed the Empty Quarter on camel. In May this year, he climbed Everest on his first attempt.
He has presented numerous hit programmes on the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 including, New Lives in the Wild, Extreme Dreams, Countrywise, Harbour Lives, Through Hell and High Water and Crufts.
He writes regularly for the Sunday Telegraph and has written six Sunday Times bestseller books. On 18th October, his book is published about his journey “Up” Everest.
He is an ambassador for British Red Cross, WWF, Medecins Sans Frontier and Tusk, Centrepoint and the Princes Trust, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and patron of The Royal Parks Foundation.
Ben is the Global Destination Ambassador for Celebrity Cruises, having worked with the brand since 2013 through their shared passion of opening up the world. Ben has curated a dedicated ‘Great Adventures’ shore excursion programme across Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean, ideal for those who are keen to indulge their inner explorer and take ‘the road less travelled’ whilst on shore, whilst realising their own holiday and travel ambitions.
Global Director of Advisory Services, Stylus
With over 15 years' experience in trend consulting, research, design, brand strategy and journalism, Antonia directs Stylus' Advisory services, applying company insight and expertise to clients' challenges, including Mattel, Volkswagen and Ferrero. Former editor of design magazines FX and New Design, and managing editor at The Design Council, Antonia has given keynotes at conferences, run seminars and workshops and chaired judging panels internationally. Antonia has an MA from the University of Liverpool and a PhD from the University of York.
Digital Strategist, Accord
A commercially and creatively-driven digital marketer that has worked with major brands across a range of industry verticals in both client-side and agency-side environments, including co-founding an award-winning digital agency.
Since joining Accord as Digital Strategist in 2016, Jon has applied his digital expertise and extensive creative knowledge to transform the agency’s digital offering, ensuring clients’ campaigns are delivering ROI and creative excellence at all times.
Jimmy Carroll is co-founder of Pelorus, a new, experiential travel specialist that offers private adventures and yacht expeditions to the far corners of the planet.
Carroll formed the company with Geordie Mackay-Lewis and both are ex-British Army with experience leading British reconnaissance units on long-range desert patrols and helicopter operations, including tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. The knowledge and skills they forged during these years lay the foundations upon which Pelorus is built, with the company focused on key areas of specialisation, Private Adventures; Yacht Expeditions; and Special Projects:
Pelorus plans exceptional journeys whilst remaining committed to protecting the planet – in particular, the places that they are fortunate to visit. The company supports special conservation and environmental projects through their official partners Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) and World Land Trust (WLT).
Carroll also worked as head of marketing and communications for the design studio Winch Design, a world-leader in superyachts, private aviation and architecture, and was previously Global Tour Manager for Manchester United.
He is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, mountain leader and advanced diver with a passion for adventure and was appointed expedition manager for Xtreme Everest 2, the largest ever medical-research expedition conducted on Mount Everest.
Senior Partnerships Manager, what3Words
Lily comes from the world of SaaS start-ups, working for a company that improved digital user experiences for brands such as Air Canada, Skyscanner, CNN and Booking.com.
As a Spanish and Dutch speaker, when travelling she loves immersing herself in the local culture and discovering hidden corners of the globe, but is very aware of her inability to ask for directions in all languages or navigate foreign addressing systems.
Now heading up travel for what3words, she's focused on the solving the issue of poor addressing for travellers and businesses who want safer and more efficient experiences.
Managing Director, Caribtours
Paul Cleary is Managing Director of Caribtours which celebrates it’s 40th anniversary next year. Paul joined the luxury operator as General Manager in 1999 and soon became the company’s youngest director aged 30. Under his leadership, Caribtours has gone from being the first to bring UK tourism to Jamaica and consolidating its position as the leading Caribbean expert, to introducing a wide portfolio of destinations from Europe to the Indian Ocean.
Founder, Verb Brands
Verb Brands is a luxury digital agency based in London and Los Angeles which specialises in creating digital strategies for brands by building websites, eCommerce platforms and conducting SEO, PPC and social campaigns for luxury brands.
Operating across fashion, hospitality and lifestyle, Chris has led large-scale digital projects for international brands such Jimmy Choo, Clive Christian, The Wolseley, Claridges, The Connaught, The Berkeley, ALEXCACHUNG, Boodles, Mih Jeans, Creed Fragrances and many more.
As an industry expert, Chris regularly writes, speaks and consults on website optimisation, digital marketing and the evolution of the luxury digital market.
He launched Verb at university when he was just 21 and has since grown the company organically into one of the most recognised luxury digital agencies in the world. While working in the strategy and creative part of the agency, Chris has helped drive growth to a team of 50+ who are serving both national and international luxury brands.
Managing Director, Elegant Resorts
Lisa started in travel 31 years ago and her career has taken her all over the world, she is passionate about specialist tour operations and has worked for a number of companies including IHG, Tailor-made Travel, Airline Ticket Network, TUI ( Austravel ), STA Travel and Diethelm Travel in Australia, Canada, Thailand and the UK.
Her experience has given her not only a global view to the travel industry but a great understanding of managing people across different cultures and experiencing all aspects of the industry from the DMC, hotel, tour operator and travel agency viewpoints.
Head of Studio, Studio Black Tomato
Nick has extensive experience working with luxury and lifestyle brands both in brand consultancy and creative content. Nick has worked with prestigious brands including Cadillac, CNN, Diageo, Bulgari, Belmond, British Airways and Raffles. Nick has previously run his own enterprise business and his experience both sides of the fence puts him in a great position to understand your needs.
Group Director of Food & Beverage, Rocco Forte Hotels
Lydia Forte is the daughter of Sir Rocco Forte and the niece of Olga Polizzi and joined Rocco Forte Hotels full time in 2014.
In her role, she is responsible for the group’s development of new restaurant and bar concepts and overseeing food and beverage performance. Under her leadership, Rocco Forte Hotels has seen a 15% year on year revenue growth.
In 2015, Lydia opened ‘Irene’, a Tuscan bistro at Hotel Savoy in Florence with Pierangelini. In 2016, she launched Sophia’s Restaurant and Bar, at The Charles Hotel, Munich and the first Argentinean restaurant in Jeddah at Assila Hotel.
Most recently, in 2018, Lydia launched Beck at Brown’s by Heinz Beck and Brasserie Prince at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh with Michel and Alain Roux.
She is currently working on concepts for three new hotel openings in spring 2019: Hotel de la Ville, Rome; Torre Maizza, Puglia and The Westbund Hotel, Shanghai.
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer and Executive Director, The Lux Collective
Julian Hagger has a rich career of 25 years in hospitality of which 18 years have been spent in senior management at corporate level in prestigious international groups such as Belmond (Orient-Express), Ritz-Carlton and Marriott. He is a holder of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Hawaii Pacific University, and holds a diploma in Swiss Hotel Management from the Hotel Institute of Management (H.I.M), Switzerland. Julian Hagger is responsible for driving top-line revenue for The Lux Collective, a global hotel operator of own brands and managed properties including LUX*, SALT, Tamassa and Café LUX*. He also directs all areas relating to marketing ensuring that the strategy of each brand is designed to yield profitable sales, increase market share, and enhance competitive advantage. The most recent addition to the operator is SALT, a progressive new hotel brand connecting modern explorers with meaningful travel experiences.
Andy helped set up Adido as an award-winning digital agency in Dorset in 2003.
He spent the first few years primarily learning SEO from scratch and has since gone on to help develop an amazing digital marketing team working with some brilliant designers & developers at Adido HQ.
As CEO of Adido, Andy has a vast knowledge of all areas of digital marketing and is a regular blogger, contributor and presenter on all areas of digital. His most specific areas of expertise and interest are search marketing, travel marketing and future innovations in the digital world.
Andy has presented at numerous leading industry events including The British Travel & Tourism Show this year where he was invited to speak about UK tourism and digital trends. He has also presented at industry events such as SES, SASCon, UK Search Awards, SMX, UK Search Awards and Digital Gaggle as well as hundreds of business groups across the UK. He has also been asked to comment on digital trends for the likes of Econsultancy, Sky News, The FT, The Guardian, Virgin and The Internet Marketing Podcast.
He is also a proud member of ITT (Institute of Travel & Tourism), Chair for the Digital South group, Business South and is also on the great Board of Silicon South.
Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent UK
Kerry Golds has been managing director of Abercrombie & Kent UK for more than five years, responsible for leading A&K’s tour operation, villas business and retail boutiques in Harrods and Monaco.
Kerry's travel career spans some 30 years. Much of her career was spent at Travel 2, where she opened the Manchester office at the age of 19, growing what started as a small office to a team of over 100. She returned to London in 1997 to become operations director for the company and took her seat on the Travel 2 main board. Kerry left Travel 2 in 2006, three years after a successful sale of the business to the Cendant Corporation.
It was at this point that Kerry began to move into the luxury sector, joining Western & Oriental as director of tour operations where she managed the merge and rebranding of some 13 businesses into one, eventually becoming the managing director until her departure in late 2012.
Since joining Abercrombie & Kent as UK managing director in early 2013, Kerry has taken a seat on the global board and has been responsible for company revenue growth of over 130%.
Chief Executive Officer, LuxuryBARED
Some people are born to wander and explore. Others are content to stay in one place and marvel at the beauty of the world from the comfort of an armchair. Well and truly from the former school of thought, Grant Holmes was born in New Zealand, and when he graduated from university, packed his bags and never sat still again. Something to do with having grown up so far away from the rest of the world may be the reason. But whatever it is, he's lived life on almost every continent, and has worked in travel, a good deal of it luxury, since he began his career with Qantas way back when. He co-founded LuxuryBARED Ltd. in 2015, in Chester in the UK, a booking website with a difference. Not only does Grant spin an entertaining yarn, but he has a lot of valuable information to share about the way forward for luxury travel.
Senior Vice President, Global Member Partnerships
In his role as senior vice president of Global Member Partnerships, David Kolner oversees Virtuoso’s relationships with more than 385 travel agency partners, spanning 700 office locations in 37 countries, and the 11,400 travel advisors they represent. David has been an integral part of the Virtuoso team since 2008, serving in leadership roles within technology and consumer marketing.
David leads a worldwide group of in-market regional directors and business development managers that work side-by-side with agency members on five continents. This team helps Virtuoso members grow their businesses through the acquisition of new clients, the retention and growth of existing clients, as well as increase preferred partner sales, by utilizing unique programs and services offered by Virtuoso.
In addition, David is responsible for the network’s strategic expansion around the world, attracting new agency members as well as travel advisors and independent contractors who wish to align with Virtuoso-affiliated agencies.
David also looks after Virtuoso’s extensive professional development offerings, which include thousands of pre-recorded courses and hundreds of live events held annually via the Virtuoso Travel Academy and at Virtuoso events worldwide.
David also developed and manages the Virtuoso Incubator, the network’s own think tank of forward-looking technology partners that are reinventing the category with the assistance of Virtuoso’s advisors.
He has driven the strategy behind some of Virtuoso’s highest-profile projects, including the development and launch of Virtuoso.com; co-branded and hosted websites for its members; lead-generation programs; the exclusive, 100%-verified consumer Reviews and Recommendations program; consumer segmentation initiatives; and the company’s industry-leading data warehouse, Virtuoso Reports. David also oversaw relationships with more than 50 governmental tourism boards.
His 25 years of industry experience includes a variety of roles in corporate and leisure travel, as well as technology, with companies such as WhitePages.com, Orbitz for Business (formerly Highwire), OAG, and United Airlines.
Based in Virtuoso’s downtown Seattle, Washington office, David directs staff located across the US, Latin America and Asia Pacific.
Creative Director, Hannah Lohan Interiors
Hannah first discovered her passion for design while producing interiors programmes for the BBC and Channel 4 television.
In 2006, she went on to establish an event-production company, rapidly building a reputation for orchestrating theatrical events with imagination and highly creative design.
After training at the Interior Design School in Queens Park, Hannah began styling and designing small hotels before setting up her studio in West London in 2012.
She and her team now create beautiful commercial interiors, including the completion of The Dunstane Houses Hotel, in Edinburgh in 2017, and Hook restaurant in the Cotswolds this year, along with a range of luxury tree houses. Current projects include a country gastropub, holiday cottages and boutique hotel in North Devon.
Hannah’s signature style is to incorporate vintage elements into contemporary schemes to create fresh new interiors with a distinctive character and narrative. This passion for seeking out one-off pieces of furniture, from antiques fairs, flea markets and auction houses, has also led to the opening of her own shop, selling unique vintage finds and homeware.
Geordie is an ex-British Army captain with experience of leading reconnaissance units on long-range desert patrols and helicopter operations. The knowledge and skills he - along with co-founder Jimmy Carroll - forged during these years lay the foundations upon which Pelorus is built.
Geordie has also previously spent a number of years as managing director of a high-end adventure travel company and has planned and led a huge number of adventures and yacht expeditions around the world. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, a winter mountain leader, advanced diver, paragliding pilot and skydiver and in his time as a Captain in a reconnaissance regiment, deployed twice to Afghanistan.
Named after a tool used to maintain the bearing of a sea vessel in the golden era of exploration, Pelorus puts the emphasis on the experience at the heart of the holiday – be it skiing, fishing, hiking, surfing, or tribal immersion – before seamlessly drawing together the logistics and the accommodation. Every journey is built from scratch, using a global network of local experts, as well as a deep-rooted and trusted black book of scientists, archaeologists, marine biologists and conservationists, who have an intricate knowledge of their respective fields.
Country Sales Manager, UK & Ireland, All Nippon Airways, Co. Ltd
Since joining All Nippon Airways in 1997, Julie has significantly aided the growth of the brand, which is today rated as one of the top five airlines in the world and Japan’s largest 5-star airline.
As the Country Sales Manager for the UK & Ireland, Julie is responsible for maintaining commercial actions through data analysis and proposing strategies to grow the business. Her global airline industry expertise has helped raise the profile of ANA in the UK and Irish markets and established the foundations for maintaining and increasing customer loyalty.
Aside from her day-to-day responsibilities, Julie is often called upon for speaker and panel session opportunities at key travel industry events and conferences, and is currently the chairperson for Star Alliance Country Steering Group UK & Ireland and a board member of the Foreign Airlines Association UK.
Vice President & Managing Director, UK and Ireland & Asia, Celebrity Cruises
Jo Rzymowska joined Celebrity Cruises’ parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL Cruises), in January 2005 as sales and marketing director, UK and Ireland.
Owing to significant growth, Rzymowska led the development of dedicated teams for each of the business’ three cruise brands. These three new organisations were established in January 2014 and Rzymowska took the helm as the first managing director for Celebrity Cruises, UK & Ireland.
With a team of over 100 people, Rzymowska oversees sales, marketing, revenue and customer service functions in the second largest global market for the cruise line.
Recently, in addition to her UK & Ireland responsibilities, Rzymowska also now oversees the Asia region for Celebrity Cruises in her promoted role of Vice President & Managing Director. She is also the executive sponsor of the LGBT Employee Resource Group.
Prior to this she has also held various senior roles at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Universal Studios and Thomas Cook.
Awards and accolades include an Honorary Professorship from the University of West London; an Honorary Award by the Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) for commitment and contribution to the Travel Industry; and in 2018 she was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Cruise International Awards for her contribution to the travel industry over three decades, as well as the Outstanding Contribution to the Cruise Industry award at the British Cruise Awards.
Rzymowska is also a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion and has been recognised for this work in 2016 with inclusion in the Top 100 list of LGBT people in business as compiled by OUTstanding and the Financial Times.
Founder, Artist Residence
Justin Salisbury took over his family guesthouse in Brighton in 2008, aged just 20 following his time at Leeds University.
The hotel was in need of some attention so Justin set about inviting local artists to decorate the rooms; and so the first Artists Residence was born. This was shortly followed by the opening of Artist Residence Cornwall in 2010, which houses 13 bedrooms and five apartments.
Artist Residence Pimlico is the third boutique hotel from Justin and his wife Charlie, which opened after a year-long renovation in September 2014. The pair have also opened their third restaurant, Cambridge Street Kitchen, and a new bar, Clarendon Cocktail Cellar, within the 10-bedroom Pimlico hotel.
This follows The Set & Set Café restaurants with the Brighton Artist Residence, and The Cornish Barn within their Penzance hotel.
The group are set to open their fourth hotel, in Bristol, this year.
The Artist Residence Hotels have been included in The Condé Nast Hot List and The Sunday Times Best Places to Stay 100 top British hotels.