Informal live think-tanks for the MICE industry

Convention and Groups Sales - Where's the innovation at?

Join us for the next session, discuss with us, hear from leading industry experts, and connect.
Let's take stock of where we as an industry are, where we need to go and how we will get there.

The Collective #MICEBEAT sessions are open online-think tanks for hospitality & MICE professionals, event managers, and convention sales teams to discuss industry trends and developments. The audience is invited to actively join by adding their views, comments, and questions, which will be included in the session.


Rita Machado, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Great Hotels of the World

Lea Jordan, Co-Founder at


#MICEBEAT Guests - Leading industry partners sharing their insights and know-how

Iulia Popescu, Director Of Event Management at JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel

Iulia pursues excellence in everything she does. Development is her routine, putting people first at all times. Meeting planners love working with Iulia, often describing her as the memorable experiences creator. She specialized within the Academy of Economic Studies University and under Marriott International culture, where she started to work, at 20 years old. She has received numerous awards in the luxury hospitality industry, including the prestigious Marriott International President’s Circle Award in 2018. Her strong background is in Sales & Event Management leadership, events, and group design and execution.

Connect with Iulia on LinkedIn.

About JW Marriott

JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio of brands and consists of beautiful properties and distinctive resort locations around the world. Inspired by the principles of mindfulness, JW Marriott is a haven designed to allow guests to focus on feeling whole – present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalized in spirit – through programs and offerings that encourage them to come together and experience every moment to the fullest. Today there are more than 100 JW Marriott hotels in more than 30 countries and territories worldwide that cater to sophisticated, mindful travelers who come seeking experiences that help them be fully present, foster meaningful connections, and feed the soul.

Feray Özcan, Senior Business Development Manager at Allseated Europe

With a comprehensive background in Hospitality Management, Feray has worked with the likes of Marriott International, Accor, IHG, and 25hours Hotels. As the Hospitality Professional at Allseated, Feray works closely with Venues and Brands across Europe to make planning, selling, and executing events easy, and to grow their businesses through Allseated’s 3D visualization platform, including floorplan design tools and virtual tour technology.

Connect with Feray on Linkedin.

About AllSeated

Allseated is dedicated to continuing the revolutionizing of the collaboration between the venue, planner, service provider, and organizer through cloud-based event planning. Allseated is committed to developing the most productive, simple, and effective solutions in this arena. Virtual site inspections will be the essential step, and collaboration on one platform is proven to save time, and resources and create synergies in event planning. Online meetings can be held directly in the venue and the event rooms can be walked through in 3D, individually equipped with seating options, and sold virtually.  

As the emergence of the metaverse opens revolutionary opportunities for all corporations, Allseated remains at the forefront of this innovation with the recent launch of Meetaverse™, providing fully immersive virtual environments for corporations to host meetings, facilitate interactive experiences, and create entire digital offices -all in one seamless platform. Enabling corporations to embrace the possibilities and thrive in the new immersive virtual world.

Marion Gösweiner, Global Sales Manager Meeting Industry at Vienna House

Joost Doevendans, Head of Sales at Proposales

Joost is an experienced, driven executive with 10+ years in the hospitality industry. The past five were spent managing teams and leading sales strategies in the hospitality-tech industry primarily. In his current role at Proposales, he oversees all sales activities globally and is responsible for the ever-growing sales team based in Amsterdam.

Connect with Joost on Linkedin.

About Proposales

Proposales allows hotels to create, send, edit, and receive sign-off on proposals the modern way. The simple tool helps hotels boost revenue at every step of the MICE & Group sales process. By using the easy drag and drop proposal creator, sales teams can put together beautiful, engaging, and editable proposals in minutes. The option to include possible add-ons opens the door to effective, hassle-free event upselling and boosted revenue. Finally, the e-signature and integrations with hotel management software ensure a seamless sales process.

Proposales is a Contributing Member at

Katja Reisch, Director Mice & Leisure Distribution Northern EuropeKatja Reisch at Accor

Katja Reisch, Accor Hotels

Katja Reisch has worked for Accor since 2008 in B2B distribution and agile project management for digital solutions. As Director MICE & Leisure Distribution Northern Europe, she is responsible for strategic planning, collaborating with international stakeholders, and amplifying the company’s digital B2B value chain services. Katja laid the foundation of her career by training as a hospitality manager, receiving European qualifications in hotel management. Katja completed a traineeship program in the UK before moving to operations and sales at Starwood Hotels Germany. She is passionate about developing young talent and start-up mentoring.

Connect with Katja on Linkedin.

About Accor

Accor is a world-leading hospitality group with more than 5,200 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries. The Group has one of the industry’s most diverse and fully-integrated hospitality ecosystems encompassing more than 40 luxury, premium, midscale, and economy hotel brands, entertainment and nightlife venues, restaurants and bars, branded private residences, shared accommodation properties, concierge services, co-working spaces and more. Accor’s unmatched position in lifestyle hospitality – one of the fastest-growing categories in the industry – is led by Ennismore, a creative hospitality company with a global portfolio of entrepreneurial and founder-built brands with purpose at their heart. Accor boasts an unrivaled portfolio of distinctive brands and approximately 260,000 team members worldwide. 68 million members benefit from the company’s comprehensive loyalty program – ALL - Accor Live Limitless – a daily lifestyle companion that provides access to a wide variety of rewards, services, and experiences. Through its Planet 21 – Acting Here, Accor Solidarity, RiiSE, and ALL Heartist Fund initiatives, the Group is focused on driving positive action through business ethics, responsible tourism, environmental sustainability, community engagement, diversity, and inclusivity. Founded in 1967, Accor SA is headquartered in France and publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and the OTC Market (Ticker: ACCYY) in the United States. For more information, visit, or follow Accor on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn, and Instagram.

Simon Dowell, Commercial Director at UpMail

Simon Dowell, Upmail Solutions

Simon is a former sales and marketing leader for Marriott International with 20 years of experience in hotel meetings and event sales. He's managed property and cluster sales teams in London and Shanghai, where MICE has been pivotal to market share growth and owner return.

Simon is passionate about enabling sales teams to be authentic yet powerful in their sales communications, mindful of the changing customer expectations and the need for speed and efficiency in how hotel sales teams operate. Connect with Simon on Linkedin.

About UpMail

UpMail is a cloud-based sales enablement platform for content-driven sales teams to digitalise and structure sales communications for an optimal customer buying experience.

Kristi White, Chief Product Officer at Knowland

Kristi White, Knowland

As a hospitality veteran by trade with three decades of experience in the hotel and revenue management side of the industry, Kristi has a pulse on the needs of hospitality meetings business. She has advised hundreds of hotels worldwide on improving their group strategy, hotel performance, and overall profitability. She is a recognized expert in hospitality revenue management, business intelligence and industry analytics. A frequent speaker at industry conferences and universities, Kristi is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the HSMAI Revenue Management Special Interest Group.

Connect with Kristi White on Linkedin.

About Knowland

Knowland is the leader in AI-powered group business data for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), conference centres and other meeting venues and the driver behind adopting a Proactive Group Sales Strategy. With the industry’s largest historical database of actualized events, thousands of customers trust Knowland to sell groups smarter and maximize their revenue. Knowland operates globally and is headquartered in Rosslyn, VA.

Dan Humby, Vice President Sales at Groups360

Dan Humbey Groups360 Expert Panelist MICEBEAT live session

Dan joined Groups360 in the Summer of 2020 and is leading the brand’s entry and expansion into the European market, delivering on their vision to make group travel simple. Raising brand awareness, developing a new business strategy, and maximizing commercial opportunities with their investor brands are just a few of the immediate priorities for Dan.

His career in hospitality spans over 20 years, the majority of which was with Marriott International. He spent his early years working through the ranks on property within Sales & Event Management disciplines before joining the Global Sales Organisation in 2009. Dan initially led the UK Corporate Sales team and was recognized as Enterprise Sales Team Leader of the Year in 2012. Moving into intermediary sales in 2012, Dan assumed global segment leadership for Travel Management Companies, taking ownership of commercial strategy and negotiations, driving global sales efforts, and cultivating distribution strategy.

Connect with Dan on Linkedin.

About Groups360

Groups360 is an online marketplace for meetings. Groups360 was founded in 2014 by David Kloeppel and Kemp Gallineau, former senior executives from Gaylord Entertainment Company with decades of experience in the hospitality industry. In the first five years, Groups360 has booked hundreds of millions in revenue for hotels, with an average meeting size of 400 and an event cost of $100,000. GroupSync has reduced the time to book a space to an average of 19 days compared to the industry average of 77 days. In 2019, Groups360 secured a $50 million investment from four global hotel brands — Accor, Hilton, IHG, and Marriott — to accelerate the development of GroupSync. Groups360 is now the first distribution channel to offer real-time group availability for both rooms and space. This breakthrough allows planners to instantly book small, less complicated meetings and send highly qualified RFPs for their more complex meetings - all through GroupSync.

Isabel Steinhauer, Director of Food & Beverage at Hotel Okura Amsterdam (a member of Great Hotels of the World)

Isabel Steinhauer F&B Director Okura Hotel Amsterdam Expert Panelist MICEBEAT live session

Isabel has managed F&B since 2008. Before taking the helm at Okura Amsterdam, she worked at the prestigious Ritz Carlton in Berlin and the Jumeirah Group in Mallorca and Dubai.

Connect with Isabel on Linkedin.

Angelo Vassallo, Food & Beverage Director at Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I

Angelo Vassallo

Angelo, is a Hospitality industry professional with vast experience in operations, especially food and beverage. Proven expertise in delivering improvements in team engagement, organizational processes, customer experience, and financial results. Highly committed to increasing and sharing his professional knowledge, to face new challenges, and to inspire people.

Connect with Angelo on Linkedin.

Michael Madison, Founder & CEO at menumodo

Michael Madison CEO Menumodo Expert Panelist MICEBEAT live session

Building on his long-standing and multi-disciplinary hospitality, Internet, and distribution experience, Michael Madison started Olyp Solutions LLC In 2006 to explore new opportunities in online distribution and decided to focus on tools to help improve the management, presentation, and distribution of restaurants online. This resulted in the launch of menumodo in March 2011.

Connect with Michael on Linkedin.

Lidia Sakarapani, Head of Sales and Marketing at Principal Global Events

Lida Sakarapani

Lidia Sakarapani is the Head of Sales and Marketing at Principal. Global events and London DMC.  She has been leading the London office Sales and Marketing team at Principal for over 6 years but has lived in London for 9 years. During her time here, and before joining the Principal team, Lidia worked on projects such as the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, The World’s 50 Best Restaurant List and subsequently helped to launch Asia’s and Latin American’s 50 Best Restaurant Lists. Prior to London, Lidia lived and worked in events in China for just under 8 years and her background is in sport marketing, event logistics, sponsorship, marketing and sales. She is fluent in English, Chinese Mandarin and Spanish. As well as working hard in her current role Lidia, is a mother, an entrepreneur and self-confessed shoeaholic!

Connect with Lidia on Linkedin.

Tracy Scott, Chief Executive OfficerHotel Division at CWW

Tracy Scott CWW

With sales, management & leadership experience of over 20+ years within the hospitality industry. Having worked in commercial roles alongside independent hoteliers in consortiums, to strategic business development positions within larger hotel brands, nationally & globally. Now as VP Hotel Client Development for CWW, a global network of entrepreneurs, we work together on the implementation of common goals for the clients. With the key focus & ability to find strategic & bespoke sales solutions for our partners, we think global & act local.

Connect with Tracy on Linkedin.

About CWW

Over the past 20 years, CWW has become the preferred sales and marketing team that caters to hospitality and travel organizations looking to expand their global reach. They are a diverse team of people with a deep passion for travel and a strong sense of responsibility to the Earth, environment, and communities they serve. Their most important assets are their colleagues worldwide, who have the expertise and passion for delivering local solutions with a global view. At CWW they “Think Global Act Local”

Luke Stevenson, Regional Sales Manager at Encore Global (formerly PSAV)


With close to 20 years of experience within the live event industry, Luke comes from a diverse background in technical, commercial and venue operations. He has held various roles during his time at Encore Global including Technician, Account Manager and Technical Producer where he developed long-standing relationships with numerous high profile clients while delivering large scale corporate events throughout the UK and Europe. In his current role as Regional Sales Manager, Luke provides sales leadership for Encore teams within the UK Hotel & Venue Partnerships network that include some of the world’s most iconic hotels.

Connect with Luke Stevenson on Linkedin.

About Encore Global

Encore Global creates memorable experiences that engage and transform organizations. As the global leader for event technology and production services, Encore’s team of creators, innovators, and experts deliver real results through strategy and creative, advanced technology, digital, environmental, staging, and digital solutions for hybrid, virtual and in-person events. Encore operates in more than 20 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and Asia Pacific. Encore is the trusted partner of choice for leading hotels and venues worldwide and was named to the Forbes 2018 and 2019 America’s Best Employer list.


#MICEBEAT l 25 October 2022 with Iulia Popescu and Feray Özcan

Iulia Popescu from JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, and Feray Özcan from Allseated joined Co-Hosts Rita Machado (Great Hotels of the World) and Lea Jordan ( to discuss Metaverse-Environment & MICE - Remote Selling Opportunities in 3D Digital Hotel Twins. How can these help hotels and venues with regards to Marketing and Sales? What are other use cases of metaverse in the Hospitality Industry? What are the commercial opportunities? Is the metaverse replacing the MICE hotels and venues?

To Video l To Podcast

#MICEBEAT l 26 April 2022 with Marion Gösweiner and Joost Doevendans

Marion Gösweiner from Vienna House, and Joost Doevendans from Proposales joined for this session to discuss innovation in MICE and Group Sales. What's to come? What's long overdue to change in convention hotels and venues' sales process and strategies? What are the main pain points? Who will drive innovation in that sector? What are best practices and use cases?

To Video l To Podcast

#MICEBEAT l 07 December 2021 with Katja Reisch and Simon Dowell

Katja Reisch from Accor and Simon Dowell from Upmail Solutions joined for this session to discuss and share insights on what has fundamentally changed in MICE & Groups Sales, what that means for Marketing and Sales strategies of convention hotels and venues, and how to leverage technology best.

To Video l To Podcast

#MICEBEAT l 05 October 2021 with Kristi White and Dan Humby

Kristi White, Chief Product Officer at Knowland, and Dan Humby, Vice President Sales at groups360 joined for this session to discuss with us, and share their views and perspectives. The Return of the MICE business - What is US market data telling us about the return of MICE business, and how can technology support hotels to win more groups business - faster?

To Video l To Podcast l Kristi White's Handout 'By the Numbers'

#MICEBEAT l 08 September 2021 with Isabel Steinhauer, Angelo Vassallo and Michael Madison

Isabel Steinhauer, Director of Food & Beverage at the Hotel Okura Amsterdam (a member of Great Hotels of the World); Angelo Vassallo, Food & Beverage Director, at the Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos in Barcelona; and Michael Madison, CEO & Founder at menumodo joined for this session. We discussed the challenges and opportunities around technology in food & beverage operations, restaurants, and the overall events and meetings business.

To Video l To Podcast

#MICEBEAT l 25 May 2021 with Tracy Scott and Lidia Sakarapani

Tracy Scott, Chief Executive OfficerHotel Division at CWW; and Lidia Sakarapani, Head of Sales & Marketing at Principal Global Events joined to share their insights and views. Watch this session to hear what our expert panelists are seeing and what the buyers (event agencies, etc.) are currently learning from their clients and hotel partners. Aspects discussed are, amongst many others:

  • The Group Request of Today and Tomorrow - Does the RFP process have to change?
  • How can hotels best position themselves to attract groups business? What learnings are there from the UK market?
  • What are planners and clients looking for at the moment, and what are key aspects to consider?

To Video l To Podcast

#MICEBEAT l 27 April 2021 with Kristi White and Luke Stevenson

Kristi White, Chief Product Officer at Knowland, and Luke Stevenson, Regional Sales Manager at Encore Global (formerly PSAV), joined this Collective #MICEBEAT lead-off discussion and shared their insights and know-how.

Kristi White shared data insights and discussed its implications for the meetings and events industry with the audience. Luke Stevenson gave an overview of what to consider when organising, and selling hybrid events, as well as highlighted a few key drivers that guarantee successful delivery.

To Video l To Podcast


The COLLECTIVE #MICEBEAT - a series of informal, data-driven live think tanks focusing on the Meetings & Events industry's future featuring leading international industry partners, is curated and presented by Great Hotels of the World and Let's take stock of where we as an industry are, where we need to go and how we will get there.

The sessions will be streamed live on Linkedin and Youtube.

Great Hotels of the World is a leading representation company for independent upscale and luxury hotels and a Founding Member of