Tourism Conference: First Release of Speakers

We are delighted to announce our first release of speakers for our Digital Tourism Conference which follows our sell out conference in 2014. Taking place in the Titanic Belfast, our blend of industry experts and local success stories will provide inspiration and practical insight into how those operating within the tourism and hospitality sector can grow their business.

David Tutin – Senior SEO Specialist at Expedia

After 7 years in the SEO industry, primarily working for agencies such as MediaVest (now Carat), iSpy Marketing and Vervesearch; David made the leap to go client side and is now heading up the SEO for Expedia UK & Ireland. David has extensive experience across several industry sectors but his main passion is travel, hence when he got the opportunity to join Expedia he jumped at the chance to work with one of the biggest online travel agents in the world. In his spare time he can be found on one of the many beaches outside London kitesurfing or traveling the globe.

John McGrillen – Chief Executive Officer, Tourism NI

John McGrillen took up his post as CEO of Tourism NI on 1 July 2015.  A former board member of Tourism NI, John was previously Director of Development at Belfast City Council where his responsibilities included urban development, tourism, economic and international development and the management of Belfast Waterfront and the Ulster Hall. Previously he was Chief Executive of Down District Council.

During his early career John worked for Short Brothers and the Industrial Development Board, the forerunner to Invest NI, before being appointed Chief Executive of NI-CO, a Belfast based international development consultancy.

Fergus Boyd – Group Director/VP of Digital & IT at Yotel

Fergus owns, defines and executes the online strategy for Yotel, including web, mobile, social media, customer experience and digital marketing.  Fergus reports directly into the CEO and is responsible for driving Yotel’s company-wide digital transformation programme and for placing digital at the heart of YOTEL’s future hotel expansion plans.  In addition, Fergus oversees and manages the global online sales distribution & UK pricing, and IT strategy & delivery, both customer-facing (hotels and in-room) and back office.

James Hanna – Delivering Innovative Travel Solutions at Oli

Tourists are more and more looking for authentic experiences. They want to visit intriguing destinations, meet new people and get to know other cultures. James heads up Oli which helps organisations across the tourism and heritage sectors to design, create, implement and nurture outstanding visitor experiences. James has a number of accolades to his name, including: InterTradeIreland All Ireland Seedcorn Winner 2011, Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards 2011, Smartbay Innovator 2012 and GeoVation Challenge Winner.

Stephen Smyth – Agency Lead at Google

Initially finding his calling within the printing industry, Stephen joined Google in 2006 and, since then, has spent his time supporting and advising clients across a wide range of industries on how to get the most out of their online marketing efforts. During his almost 10 years at Google, he has worked with both local and global brands in the UK Travel Industry including Airlines, Car Hire and Hotels. His current role as Agency Lead has him overseeing Google’s engagement with advertising agencies across the UK.

Passionate about Digital Strategy, Consumer Behaviour, Freakonomics and Leinster Rugby, Stephen is a graduate of Dublin Institute of Technology.

Sean Collins – Head of CRM Operations at

Sean has worked for for 9 years and is responsible for all CRM operations across the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany and Italy. Currently he is working with a team of 14 agencies. Sean has developed in a huge way, most notably he enabled multi language, multi-location email retargeting and basket/search abandonment emails for the first time and Enabled push notifications to app/sms with a complete customer journey for the first time which is crucial to the Tourism industry. Sean moved from being Head of Marketing at where he was responsible for constructing and implementing a completely new Customer journey for, Travelocity and Holiday autos. Particular focus is being placed on customer retention, customer trust, churn and attrition.

Ricky Martin – Owner, Senior Surfing Instructor of Alive Surf School & Co-founder of Skunkworks

Ricky runs Alive Surf School in Portrush, it was his frustration in soft surfboards that led to this adventure. Having spent five years in Sydney he is now settled with his family in Northern Ireland and focusing all his energy on making great surf boards. Coleraine’s Ricky was selected from a shortlist of 253 businesses as semi-finalist for the Virgin Media Business Pitch to Rich competition and pitched in front of multi millionare Richard Branson. Ricky will be speaking in a workshop on clustering.

Eleanor McGillie – Director of Live it, Experience it

Eleanor McGillie is the director of ‘Live It Experience It’ – a cluster of tourism businesses working together to promote Northern Ireland through water and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. Eleanor has worked for over 20 years in the media – print, broadcast and digital. She spent nine years working in England under the Northcliffe arm of the Daily Mail Group Trust as a journalist, news editor and editor – print and online. In her roles, she worked alongside big brands such as Visit Cornwall, Visit Devon, Tourism South West, Classic Cottages, Taste of the West, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Michael Caines Abode, Visit Bristol, Visit Bath and more.

Early Bird tickets to the Digital Tourism Conference are currently on offer.  Snap up your ticket now.

We cant wait to share many more exciting announcements and speakers with you in the coming weeks. Keep up to date by following our Twitter @DigitalDNAHQ

About the Author

Calum Lennon – Digital Marketing and Communications Exec @ Digital DNA

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