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.
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the lodging industry to rethink health and wellness. Designers such as Blanche Garcia of B. Garcia Designs see this as an opportunity for hotels to revise their messaging beyond clean and safe by introducing wellness products and programs they can market and attract guests who want to feel good during their stay and return home feeling better than when they left. Those who promote healthy buildings as well as safe travel are exploring how implementing elements of wellness can be a cure for hotel businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hotel industry.
She Has a Deal, a program that promotes women as hotel owners, last month minted several new investors through its inaugural pitch competition. Long Live Lodging examines what it took for the three women who comprise the team called Datcher to win the top prize of $50,000 in equity in a fund that would include their $27.4 million project proposed for downtown Detroit. Two additional projects proposed during the competition were selected to benefit from She Has a Deal’s first investment fund. Datcher’s winning formula as well as the other project proposals can be emulated as hotel developers and investors search for ways to fund upcoming projects that reduce investors’ risk while delivering a healthy return as the lodging industry navigates its way through the business downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.