We are nailing down new speakers every day for this year's Summit, and it promises to be another hugely successful event! We're in the beginning stages of compiling all the bios, but please check back as more speakers are added for HomeAway Summit 2011.
Please note: Topics and speakers are subject to change.
Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Summit Kickoff
Over the years, Brian Sharples and his family rented a variety of ski and beach homes, only to find that searching for vacation rentals was no easy task. It was out of this frustration that the idea for HomeAway was born. On June 6, 2006, Sharples' plan to create a more efficient and customer-friendly way to locate a property came to life when HomeAway.com was launched with over 60,000 listings. Today, the HomeAway, Inc. sites represent nearly 540,000 listings of vacation rental properties.
Amy Ashcroft Greener, Vacation Rental Owner
Sessions: When is a Refund in Order?, Smart Spending: Using Your Budget Wisely
Amy Ashcroft Greener of Petersburg, Michigan and her husband Richard own four cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. They purchased their first cabin in 2002 and started renting by owner one year later. She has been a member of online vacation rental communities since 2004, joining a Smoky Mountain vacation rentals group in 2005. When Amy isn't busy with her vacation rentals, she works as a voice-over artist. Trust us: she's a pleasure to listen to - she was one of the best speakers at our first annual Summit!
Alexandra Baradi, Director of World Travel Ireland
Session: Go Global: Broadening Your Audience
Alex joined Great Southern Hotels, one of Ireland’s largest hotel companies as Sales and Marketing Director of the group before setting up Dream World Travel in Ireland in 1992. Dream World Travel comprises of Dream Ireland which is now Ireland’s largest vacation rental agency representing over 5000 holiday homes and cottages in Ireland. Other brands include Dream World villas, Dream skiing, Dream Switzerland and Dream luxury Barbados. She personally owns several vacation rentals in Spain, Ireland and Switzerland (www.chaletalex.com)
Kelly Barton, Sr. Manager Global Trust & Security for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: The Science of Screening (Moderator)
Kelly has been working for HomeAway for over five years and has served as the manager of Trust & Security for the last three. In this role, Kelly is dedicated to creating a safe and trusted marketplace for HomeAway’s travelers and owners. She also loves to travel herself, particularly to beach destinations, and always prefers a pet-friendly vacation rental.
Brent Bellm, Chief Operating Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Q&A Wild Card
Brent joined HomeAway as Chief Operating Officer in July 2010. Using some of the earliest online listings sites, he has been planning vacation rental ski trips for friends and family every year since 1995. After kids arrived in 2006, even his non-ski vacations switched to rentals, including several in Europe, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean. He brings to HomeAway a lifelong passion for travel and nine years of internet marketplace experience from eBay and PayPal.
Ross Buhrdorf, Chief Technology Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: When is a Refund in Order?
Ross joined HomeAway five months after the company’s inception and oversees technology, trust and security, hosting, corporate IT, infrastructure and global customer systems. During his tenure at HomeAway he has built the development and engineering team from five to more than 200 global employees and has been instrumental in integrating multiple technology systems to contribute to the company’s rapid growth. Ross successfully led HomeAway through its first Super Bowl campaign in February 2010, ensuring HomeAway.com was equipped to handle the sizable traffic surge generated from its first national ad. Ross is also a vacation rental owner himself, so he understands what it takes.
Lisa Burch, U.S. Customer Support Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: When is a Refund in Order?
As Support Manager for HomeAway.com, Lisa offers a wealth of experience in the vacation rental business. Marking her 10th year in the business, she’s been with HomeAway Inc. from the start and has enjoyed staying in vacation rental properties since the early 1980s! Lisa is committed to providing the best customer experience to both advertisers and vacationers alike.
Tim Cafferty, Owner, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services
Session: Hybrid Management - Property Management & Rent by Owner Relationships
The proud Dad of 5 future vacation rental management employees and a 2nd generation Vacation Rental Manager on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Long recognized as an innovator in the Vacation Rental Management Industry, Tim is credited with being the first vacation rental manager to implement electronic entry systems on all of his properties which allows check in via e-mail, paperless documents for his homeowners and guests, on line payment processes, as well as simplified all-inclusive pricing for his guests on his vacation rental properties. He also is the only Outer Banks area vacation rental firm that offers a “property management only” option for homeowners that either do not rent their properties or rent direct to guests, and need support services of an established management firm.
Bob Connolly, Founder Propertywatch & Owner Direct Vacation Rentals
Session: Hybrid Management -Property Management & Rent by Owner Relationships
After a varied career (ranging from Du Pont to car dealerships to railroads) Bob embraced the vacation rental industry with the purchase of 2 properties in 1998. In 2004 he bought a third South Carolina property and he was hooked. Bob formed Propertywatch and Owner Direct Vacation Rentals with business partner, Marty Friedman, in 2007 and 2008. Both ventures provide stellar vacation rental services to absentee owners in North and South Carolina. Owner Direct and Propertywatch specialize in forming innovative partnerships and creating bespoke service packages for owners and property managers.
Alexis de Belloy, Vice President, North America for HomeAway.com, Inc.
Session: Around the World with HomeAway.com, Inc.
After three years of successfully leading HomeAway European operations, de Belloy moved to Austin in August 2009 to oversee the U.S. HomeAway brands, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com He joined the company in 2006 after serving as Managing Director for France and Benelux at Match.com, the world's largest online dating site. Previously, de Belloy founded and led European online photo site Fotango.com, which was acquired by Canon in 2001. He also contributed to the successful launch of eBay in the U.K. and spent several years working in the telecoms sector at Alcatel, manufacturing optical fiber cables in France and China.
Mark Davis, Head of SEO, Europe for HomeAway, inc.
Session: Make Your Presence Known on the Net
Since 2009 Mark has been the head of SEO for the HomeAway websites in Europe. For the 2 years prior to joining HomeAway, he was in charge of SEO for eBay UK, and prior to that, worked for after 6 years as the head of the Cisco Systems search engine program. He has worked in database development and internet marketing for the last 20 years after graduating from the University of California with a degree in toxicology & analytical chemistry.Mark has stayed in vacation rentals in 5 countries and also has a rental property of his own in Italy.
Jaime Dito, Public Relations Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons (Moderator)
Jaime joined the HomeAway PR team in June 2006, one day before HomeAway.com was launched! In the last four years, she’s worked with homeowners, travelers and members of the media to shape the public opinion of our U.S. brands, as well as create awareness for the vacation rental industry. As the point person for journalists seeking vacation home stories, Jaime helped garner HomeAway press coverage in the country’s premier media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Travel + Leisure
—just to name a few!
Kristin Dorsett, Manager of Product & Operations Marketing for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Hybrid Management (Moderator)
Having served on both the Owner Community and Property Management teams, Kristin has become well-versed in all things rent-by-owner and vacation rental management. After meeting and speaking with hundreds of homeowners and property managers and experiencing both sides of the vacation rental spectrum, Kristin can provide guidance on the benefits and challenges of the hybrid management method.
Patrick Duncan, Director, U.S. Product Marketing for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Online Payments with ReservationManager™
Every summer, Patrick and his family rented vacation homes on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Although he doesn’t get to the OBX very much anymore, he now helps family members manage vacation rental properties in Virginia and Texas. At HomeAway, Patrick is responsible for transactional business initiatives, including online payment services, protection products, and reservation management tools. Patrick is passionate about simplifying the booking process and making it easier, faster, and less expensive for owners and travelers to transact online.
Joan Fortney, Customer Support Team Lead for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: When is a Refund in Order? (Moderator)
Joan started her career in the vacation rental industry with A1Vacations in March of 2002 before moving on to a Customer Service role and eventually Team Lead for HomeAway. She is truly passionate about our customers and our industry and makes it a priority to improve the experience for the advertisers on our sites. Joan also loves staying in vacation rentals herself - her favorite spot is the Outer Banks of North Carolina for deep sea fishing.
Marty Friedman, Founder Propertywatch Owner Direct Vacation Rentals
Session: Hybrid Management
Marty Friedman spent 30 years in the automobile industry and he caught the marketing bug in 1991. He patented the Value Point System (an Automobile Sales training device) but that was not the end of his innovation. In 1993 he purchased his first vacation rental property and had his 2nd by 2000. Marty formed Propertywatch and Owner Direct Vacation Rentals with business partner, Bob Connolly, in 2007 and 2008. Both ventures provide stellar vacation rental services to absentee owners in North and South Carolina. Owner Direct and Propertywatch specialize in forming innovative partnerships and creating bespoke service packages for owners and property managers.
Matt Golis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, VacationRentPayment
Session: Simplifying the Payment Process
Matt Golis leads the many new growth opportunity segments and oversees the day-to-day operations of YapStone. Matt founded VacationRentPayment, Inc. in 1999, and merged with YapStone in early 2001. Prior to founding VacationRentPayment, Inc., Matt started an Internet consultancy called Internet Commerce Associates (ICA) with clients including Fortune 500 companies that implemented business e-commerce applications that were developed at Netscape Communications (AOL). Matt is a frequent speaker at conferences regarding credit card and electronic payments and is often quoted in trade publications on ways that electronic payments can improve property management operations. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer for HomeAway, Inc.
Sessions: Sneak Peeks, Q&A Wild Card
As Chief Product Officer (CPO), Tom Hale oversees all aspects of product development for Homeaway. As an avid traveler, father of three, and vacation rental owner himself, Tom has a great passion for helping owners get more bookings, be more efficient, and have more fun. Hale has more than 16 years experience in product development at companies such as Adobe, Macromedia, and Linden Lab, and is passionate about creating great user experiences for travelers and owners alike. Tom’s recent vacation rental stays include Destin, Florida, Sonoma, California, Matunuck, Rhode Island, and Austin, Texas.
Rosy Hanby, Professional Photographer
Session: Great Photos are Worth 1000 Bookings
A seasoned photographer of fifteen years, Rosy is currently building a practical resource website to guide and equip the everyman photographer with the answers they need to achieve their vision. She is an avid traveler, who has worked with Homeaway.com since 2007 and frequently vacations in their properties within the U.S. and abroad. With her passion of travel, photography and everything that Homeaway.com embodies, she looks forward to connecting you with resources and techniques that transform your rental property listing into your customers dream vacation home.
Greg Grant, Vice President of New Markets for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Go Global
Hailing from both South Africa and the U.K., Greg has a truly international perspective when it comes to the world of vacation rentals. Before joining Homeaway, he directed the U.K. marketing efforts for Yahoo Inc. Since then, Greg has used his experience leading HomeAway’s U.K. operations, and more recently, VRBO.com, to gain a thorough knowledge of the needs of our owners and travelers – a true asset when considering expanding HomeAway's presence around the globe.
Christine Karpinski, Owner Advocate
Sessions: Taming the Bargain Hunters, The Science of Screening
Christine is the author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner and Profit From Your Vacation Home Dream. Her books, combined with her seminars and media appearances, have helped thousands of people manage and profit from their vacation homes. Christine owns multiple properties and is often referred to as "The Most Respected Voice in the Vacation Rental Industry."
Laura Kelso, Global Community Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Make the Most of our Community Forums
Laura's no stranger to online content or communities – in addition to writing for the likes of Travel+Leisure.com, Southern Living, and the Discovery Channel, she co-founded dishola.com, a site dedicated to reviewing memorable food by the dish. Laura dove right into her new role as Global Community Manager, and has worked tirelessly for its success in the past year. However, Laura is not new to the company – she launched HomeAway’s Traveler newsletter in 2006 and went on to hone her marketing and social media skills on the real estate side of our business. Today, as Global Community Manager, Laura oversees the adoption, growth and well being of HomeAway’s new Community.
Kristen Keys, Online Community Strategist
Session: Make the Most of our Community Forums
Kristen has worked for HomeAway since early 2010 and played a large role in coordinating our first HomeAway Summit. Since then, she has poured herself into the launch of our new Community site after hearing owners’ needs for a forum and online networking capabilities at the last Summit. She is truly dedicated to improving the online experience and interactivity for our customers. Kristen also loves the vacation rental experience – she loves to travel with her two dogs and only stays in pet-friendly vacation rentals.
Debi Nelson-Maney, Vacation Rental Owner
Sessions: The Science of Screening, Economic Recovery
Debi Nelson-Maney and her husband Richard own three vacation rental homes in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Over the past three years, Debi has increased their occupancy by over 50%, especially in the off-peak season, by marketing their vacation rentals to groups and allowing each guest to pay their share individually. She has promoted their vacation rentals by creating lodging and activity packages for Family Reunions, Wedding Parties, Golf Weekends, Ski Weekends, Women’s Weekend Get-Aways and even Bachelor and Bachelorette Party Weekends! She has been a member of online vacation rental communities since 2004.
Nikelle S. Meade, Partner, Brown McCarroll, L.L.P
Session: Minimize the Threat of Rental Restrictions
Nikelle S. Meade is an attorney and Partner with the law firm of Brown McCarroll, L.L.P. in Austin, Texas, becoming associated with the firm in 1998. During prior legal appointments she served as Judicial Intern for Justice Jack Hightower of the Supreme Court of Texas, as a Legislative Intern for State Representative Dawnna M. Dukes, and as an Associate Attorney with the law firm of Minter Joseph & Thornhill, P.C. Ms. Meade received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in 1995. Her practice involves representation of clients before local and state agencies, and she provides legal advice in the areas of procurement, transportation, commercial and residential real estate, business negotiations and transactions, economic development incentives, and land use.
Jeff Mosler, Vice President of Global Customer Experience for HomeAway
Session: Embracing Reviews
Jeff joined the company in 2010 and oversees HomeAway’s largest team focused on all aspects of customer experience, including customer service, advocacy, community and trust & security. He joined HomeAway from Amazon.com where he was the general manager of customer advocacy and global outsourcing. There he managed a team of internal and external resources that provided support for all Amazon product lines and partnerships in each of its global subsidiaries, including the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, where HomeAway also currently has offices. Jeff’s favorite part of vacationing is creating lasting memories with his family, no matter the location.
David Petty, Director, Product Management for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Owner Analytics: Assessing Your Listing's Performance
David Petty is a director in the HomeAway Product Management group. David and his team have a real passion for helping owners understand the key metrics that drive their vacation rental business and are working on tools to empower owners with this information.
Douglas Quinby, Senior Director, Research for PhoCusWright
Session: The Travel Climate in 2011 (Keynote)
Mr. Quinby is a travel industry veteran who enhances PhoCusWright's research team with his keen insights, diligent analysis and industry relationships. As senior director, research, he is a key contributor to The Global Edition, Special Reports, and more. Douglas has been contributing to PhoCusWright research as leisure travel analyst for many years, including PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition, Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change, and PhoCusWright's Travel Agency Distribution Landscape. In addition to providing research and analysis, media relations and marketing services to leading travel technology companies, Douglas has served as director of marketing and communications for Atinera and as packaged travel and technology editor for Leisure Travel News. His articles have appeared in Travel Weekly, ASTA Agency Management, and Travel Counselor magazines. Douglas also conceived and oversaw Travel Technology News, a supplement to Leisure Travel News devoted to technology and the Internet in the leisure travel industry.
Pete Rung, Global Product Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Online Payments with ReservationManager™
As a product manager for HomeAway, Pete is focused on adding new features and making it easier for owners to list and manage their properties online. Pete is truly dedicated to putting his 10+ years of product management experience to good use in improving the owner experience. When he’s not hard at work, he loves to travel to ski and beach destinations with his family.
Jennifer Schilling, Vacation Rental Owner
Sessions: Social Media, Managing Multiple Properties
Jennifer has been running her family’s vacation rental property on the Oregon Coast since 2004 while maintaining a full time position as an HR Specialist and pursuing her MBA. She works with a property manager who handles the website, online bookings, guest services and cleaning to help lighten her load. However, Jennifer manages the marketing of her family’s property herself through listings on HomeAway and VRBO, along with her successful fan page on Facebook.
Angela & Michael Smith, Vacation Rental Owners
Sessions: Economic Recovery; Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons
Michael and Angela Smith happened into vacation home ownership in April 2007 when a relocation nudged them toward the idea of short-term renting. Within months of establishing Ultimate SoCal Vacation Homes, they began making plans to expand their business. Backgrounds in sales, marketing, business development and hospitality help them to profitably manage their vacation homes while keeping guest satisfaction as the top priority. Today, over 3,500 guests later Michael and Angela are acquiring a third Anaheim vacation home and hope to have it ready for guests by the weekend of the summit!
Sarah Smith, Director of Online Operations, Austin for Facebook
Session: Social Media... It's Not Just for the Kids!
Sarah joined Facebook in 2008 as a manager for online operations coordinating the opening of the Dublin, Ireland office and building operational models for future business lines. In 2009, she launched and led the North America account management team for mid-market advertisers. In 2010, Sarah moved to Austin to lead the company’s new sales and operations office, the first major U.S. expansion outside of Palo Alto. Before Facebook, Sarah was Director of New Business at Swish Marketing, a start-up specializing in online lead generation for the financial sector. She has also held positions with Sylvan Learning Centers, Boston Consulting Group, and Madison Metropolitan School District. She has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah is an avid Settlers of Catan player, collects West German pottery, and loves tacos.
Randy Sparks, National Sales Manager, HomeAway for Property Managers
Session: Managing Multiple Properties (Moderator)
Randy Sparks currently is Head of North American Sales for the Property Manager Division of HomeAway.com. For the past 3 years Randy has help guide strategic sales initiatives and policy for the property manager business across the HomeAway, Inc network of sites. With over 13 years of online advertising experience crossing hospitality, real estate and travel, Randy has a unique understanding of online search behavior on consumer sites. Randy has a degree in Marketing from the University of Texas and continues to work and live in Austin.
Jennifer Stafford, Social Media Manager for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Social Media - It's Not Just for the Kids!
Jennifer has worked at HomeAway since 2007, focusing on search engine optimization and social media. In 2008, she began working with the Public Relations team to build a social presence for the U.S. HomeAway brands. In July 2010, she transitioned over to managing global social media programs full-time and enjoys interacting with and learning from owners and travelers in the social space. Jennifer has always loved to travel herself and has been staying in vacation rentals for family trips to New Mexico and Oregon since she was a child.
Marilyn Tolchin, Founder of Hampton House Properties
Session: Go Global
In 2001, Marilyn bought her first rental property in "the Hamptons". In 2002, Hampton House Properties was founded. In the course of 11 years, she has bought 9 properties and sold 2. Marilyn is the largest provider of rental homes in the Hamptons catering to the extended family with homes boasting 7 bedrooms each or larger.
Marino Tomacelli, Vacation Rental Owner
Sessions: Economic Recovery, Differentiate Your Property with Add-Ons
Marino lived in Mexico's Rivera Maya for 26 years where his family's first hotel was built in the late 70s. In the 80s and 90s he acquired and/or developed various properties in Mexico's Riviera Maya, which he eventually began offering as vacation rentals. In 2003, Marino and his wife turned their weekend home, Taninah, into one the most unique vacation rental properties in the Riviera Maya. Now living in Southern California, Marino and his wife continue to manage and market their properties on HomeAway, VRBO, and their own web sites.
George Volsky, Instant Software and Escapia
Session: Managing Multiple Properties
George started out as a transportation industry analyst learning about travel economics. This led to many years as an attorney, setting up and working with airlines. His first job after leaving the law was as a vacation rental manager on the Outer Banks - this led to a 12-year term as a consultant. He has worked closely with many of the nation’s leading vacation rental companies designing decision support software, projecting the economic impact of vacation rentals on state and local economies, and serving as industry consultant for the 2008 PhoCusWright study that sized and valued the vacation rental industry. He currently monitors industry statistics and does monthly trend reports. He has served as Director of Research for the nation’s leading reservation software companies, Instant Software and Escapia, which, as of October 2010 were acquired by HomeAway.
Charles Wagner, Senior Engineering Manager of Data Analysis Services
Session: Sneak Peaks and Listing Analytics
Charles manages the development team responsible for inquiry delivery, global search, listing analytics, and geographic services. He also leads innovation initiatives like the HomeAway HackAway: a weekend event for HomeAway engineers to build and demo their ideas. Believe it or not, this techie has an artistic side - Charles is also a musician and performs around Austin.
Victor Wang, Public Relations Manager for HomeAway, Inc
Session: Minimize the Threat of Rental Restrictions
Victor has served as public relations manager for HomeAway since July 2008. In this role, he has worked with owners to paint stories in the media on the benefits of second home ownership as well as the value vacation rentals provide for individual destinations. In addition to media relations, Victor has also conducted extensive research on vacation rental regulations in the U.S.
Heather Weiermann, President & Founder of So. California Vacation Rentals
Sessions: Differentiate Your Property with Add-ons, Managing Multiple Properties
With over 12 years of experience as a hospitality professional in vacation rental management and marketing, Heather offers a wealth of knowledge on the property management side of the industry. Her company manages 60+ homes and condos in the coastal San Diego, CA communities of La Jolla, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach and offers full-service property management, including a reservations call center and concierge services to over 1,100 guests per year. Heather is extremely active in the vacation rental community and is currently in pursuit of her Certified Vacation Rental Manager Certification through the Vacation Rental Managers Association.
Kathy Wirt, VP of Product for HomeAway, Inc.
Session: Location Matters
Kathy joined HomeAway in June 2006 and founded the Product organization a year later. Since that time she has grown the design, product management and program management groups to over 30 strong. When not working with her team on building great traveler and owner experiences she loves to travel and stays in vacation rentals for both business trips and vacations. Her next adventure....road trip to Alaska!