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.
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.