Martin Owen joined the industry as a travel agent specializing in corporate travel, before working in reservations and sales for an international airline. He moved back into agency management eventually managing a chain of travel agencies in London.
In 1983, he joined Travelbag, a small company of 12 people selling discounted air tickets to Australia. He was part of the ownership team that grew the company to 400 people as a major long-haul tour operator. Travelbag also ran its own charter flight operation with daily flights to Australia from the UK, and owned a tourist ranch and hotel in Central Australia.
On selling his stake in Travelbag in 1996, he established a Tourism Consultancy, Owen Organization. The consultancy assisted in air and land product purchasing for a major tour operator; technology management for an international travel agency group; technology consulting for Sabre/American Airlines in Europe; establishing travel industry distribution for Serviced Apartment rentals worldwide; and developed a travel agency specializing in international travel for dogs among other projects.
Martin also owned part of a web design and software development company that created a web based reservations system for small tour operators and villa and apartment rental firms.
Martin moved to the US in 2007 immediately working for the Jay Odom Group of Companies handling marketing for Uptown Station, Hammock Bay, Destin Jet and NuFletch, before joining ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals as Regional Marketing Director for Florida and South Alabama. Martin reestablished his consultancy in 2015 and now works with companies and organizations across the Gulf Coast.
He is a past Chair of the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce; served as vice chair of the Walton County Military Affairs Committee; was on the Marketing Committee of Coastal Vision 3000 (TheBeach); sat on the board of the Okaloosa County TDC and is the Tourism representative on the Okaloosa County RESTORE Advisory Committee.
Martin is a Fellow of both the Institute of Travel & Tourism, and the U.K. Institute of Directors. He sat on the international Committee of Visit Florida and was Chair of the Marketing Committee of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He holds a diploma in Photography from Brunel University.
Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.
Nearly 48 million Americans plan to travel over the Fourth of July weekend, predicts AAA. Most of them will drive and many of them plan to stay in hotels. What makes a travel consumer choose your hotel? Price can be a factor but so can the story the property tells through its online photos and its real-life curb appeal. First impressions of a hotel set the tone for the guest’s entire stay. Its roadside image is more important than ever as the lodging industry this summer hangs its hopes on a comeback driven by domestic travelers. Lodging Leaders podcast explores the importance of a hotel’s curb appeal as hoteliers think of ways to attract travelers seeking safety and assurance as the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.