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.
Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and states ease up on public-gathering restrictions designed to keep the virus at bay, the hotel industry is seeing small meetings begin a comeback. In Episode 317, Long Live Lodging covers the state of the small-meetings sector and how hotels can grab their share of the meetings business during and post-pandemic. This report is part of our ongoing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry.
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.