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 TripCommon was born out of cofounders Gillian and Timo de Winter’s years of struggling with outdated, buggy travel search and booking tools.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.
Nicolas Graf, associate dean, clinical professor and chair of New York University’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, will soon unveil the school’s new Hospitality Innovation Hub. Departure from the norms of doing business is key to the post-pandemic survival and success of the hospitality industry, says Graf. Companies that offer flexibility in thought and practice among employees will go a long way in leading the industry’s post-pandemic recovery. Episode 331 of Lodging Leaders explores what it will take for owners, operators and others invested in the industry to attract and retain bright young talent who can help build modern and sustainable hotel business models.
Bijal Patel, 31, is CEO of Coast Redwood Hospitality and the youngest chair of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. He’s made even more history at CHLA by agreeing to serve an unprecedented second term as the lodging industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Patel is a third-generation hotelier. Being so steeped in hospitality at such a young age is not new for members of the Indian American hotelier community, but Patel fears the pandemic has drained the industry of emerging talent. Lodging Leaders spotlights Patel, who represents a leadership demographic that is fighting for the life of the hospitality industry as they watch their peers veer toward other career paths.