Gillian Morris is the co-founder and CEO of TripCommon and Hitlist, building technology to bring online travel search and booking into the 21st century. TripCommon was born out of cofounders Gillian and Timo de Winter’s years of struggling with outdated, buggy travel search and booking tools. The company’s first product, Hitlist, helps users travel more by leveraging data in their social graph to present them with relevant destinations and deals. The app’s intelligent filters help users to find trips that suit their time, destination preferences and budget.
With over 350,000 users in 83 countries (as of 8/18/2015), Hitlist is disrupting the status quo for the travel industry. In July, Craig of Craigslist named TripCommon and Hitlist two of the 4 Women-led Startups Disrupting Travel.
Before entering the start-up world, Gillian worked as a consultant, journalist, and educator in Turkey, China, the Gulf states, and Syria. She is currently based in New York and Boston, where she leads a series of Travel Tech Talks. She earned her BA from Harvard and was the first entrepreneur in residence at TechStars Boston.
Gillian’s work in emerging markets has made her a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship and private sector investment in the developing world. She is a proud mentor with the School of Leadership Afghanistan.
Lodging Econometrics has tracked the hotel industry since 1998. Its global database includes new-hotel pipelines as well as renovations and brand conversions. Hotel franchisers once eager to launch new brands are focused on converting existing hotels because it’s a faster way to recover revenue lost to the COVID-19 pandemic than through new construction. In Episode 346, Lodging Leaders explores the increasing number of conversions in the U.S. hotel industry and what owners and operators need to consider before repositioning an asset.
In the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., financiers anticipated a swell of distressed hotel businesses. Some raised rescue funds to respond to what they thought was a pending crisis. Though there are financial rescues taking place, the level of such activity is far below what industry advisers and fund managers expected. Commercial real estate investors positioned to act in the early days of the pandemic held off and are now just beginning to unleash their cash hoards totaling billions of dollars. Episode 345 of Lodging Leaders podcast explores the state of capital investment in the hotel industry.