Tripp Higgins and Andy Hakes of AireXpert – Solving Communication Gaps in Aviation Maintenance


AireXpertCollaborative technology to the global airline industry that enables its customers to improve the pace and quality of aircraft maintenance, leading to significant productivity gains, lowered costs and improved safety…

Tripp Higgins, VP of Business Development, and Andy Hakes, Founder/CEO, of AireXpert (tech ops event control), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in theMouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

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Anthony Derico – Where Will Travel Go Next?


If you had an hour to sit with someone who helped build the fastest growing travel media company in the industry – what could you learn? From user-generated content, to the shift of the mobile-first environment and how trends have drastically shifted in travel, along with travel management companies, the joys of  traveling with family, and why not to take your eye off the ball in the travel industry…

AnthonyAnthony Derico, Business Mentor / Advisor for Quake Capital Partners and Business Consultant / Advisor to Voyager HQ,  and former VP/Head of Sales for Skift and Skift table, joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • The move to mobile as the biggest travel shift
  • The next biggest shift?
  • The cellphone as a tool of travel
  • Skiplagged for finding cheap flights
  • Influencer content and maintaining an authentic voice, and how everyone is an influencer when they travel and share on social media
  • Making travel more accessible is a market share
  • Does travel have a homogeny problem to get that instagrammable moment?Anthony
  • The effect on business travel
  • Why people travel for business, the many layers of that decision making, and a possible game changer to focus on
  • Working for your snack
  • Creating amazing experiences as a brand, and really executing events that can leave an impression
  • The impact of the rise of startup culture on travel
  • Why travel as a benefit should be core to a business
  • How trade publications can get real stories in travel, and then thoughts on content that stands out
  • Inspiring children with meaningful travel destinations and experiences that make an impact

069 – James Nannos of Stay Wanderful – Surprise, Delight, Return

Stay Wanderful

Acquiring and retaining hospitality customers with surprise-and-delight rewards…

Stay WanderfulJames Nannos, Director of Hotel Sales & Partnerships for Stay Wanderful (a direct booking tool to increase guest conversion and provide surprise- and-delight rewards) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • How independent hospitality brands should think about retaining customers
  • Independent hospitality chains don’t have a powerful distribution network
  • Tangible guest rewards, differentiated experiences to guests, and then continuing conversation after the fact
  • How can independents get in there and make a difference
  • Most prefer experiences and benefits to points, most won’t get value out of points
  • Personalizing small but highly perceived value rewardsStay Wanderful
  • Most want to choose rewards
  • If Stay Wanderful is in many properties, how that helps still customers choose a specific property
  • Raising the bar of service won’t dilute the opportunity
  • Stay Wanderful makes it look like a hotel is giving you the rewards, like a white label solution for that hotel
  • The only business where customers are sleeping in palace of business—you must capture them while they are there
  • Independent properties fighting uphill battle
  • A fee-for-success model
  • The importance of fining out the real decision-maker of a hospitality property or brand
  • Why hotels are operating off of antiquating systems, integrating into an old tech stack
  • The helpfulness of the Cornell network
  • The impact of military methodology and experience on entrepreneurialism and how it connects with hotel business

068 – Kristen Vasan of Foursquare – Where People Go


Why the original travel app is partnered with so many brands and integrated into so much technology…

FoursquareKristen Vasan, Director of Strategic Platform Partnerships for Foursquare (a technology company that enriches consumer experiences and informs business decisions through a deep understanding of location intelligence), joins John Matson in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • The state of personalization in the travel industry, gained some momentum
  • Foursquare was previously thought as a social networking app, but is a contextually aware location platform that sits on top of some of the biggest brands’ tech
  • Can build a contextually aware map of where people go
  • People comparing brands to one another are looking at how technological experiences compare to one another 
  • The risk of becoming the best tech company instead of best service
  • Going from the check in app for locations,  and how Foursquare  pivoted to become a huge player in the enterprise location space
  • How their API plays into geo-locations for images and social media
  • The goal to give marketers the ability to “bake” location tech, to know where you’ve stopped, see the venue where you are, and “tap you on the shoulder”
  • Giving people the ability to be present and enjoy life, and only use phone when it matters mostFoursquare
  • How Foursquare reached 1 billion consumers
  • Brands building loyalty, having an understanding of offline behavior, a lot is still left to be done in that space
  • How business travel is different than personal travel
  • Seeing location trails of consumers and telling stories about where they go
  • People look to Foursquare as the original travel app
  • Are travel startups able to use Foursquare’s SDK and try to iterate on it
  • Foursquare’s database of over 105M places globally you can ingest and share with world
  • And  — a volcano

067 – Filip Maksymilian Bloch and Daniel Flynn of Hotailors – Humanizing Travel with Technology


Organizing business trips 90% faster, 30% cheaper via AI with a human touch…

HotailorsFilip Maksymilian Bloch (CEO) and Daniel Flynn (Business Development Manager) of Hotailors (a next-gen AI-powered travel platform  allowing organization of corporate travel faster, at a lower cost) join John Matson in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • What does Hotailors see changing in corporate travel bookings?
  • Hotailors wants to treat your employees right
  • Who’s driving the change in corporate travel?
  • Identifying and relating to the pain of being a traveler
  • Trimming down the “waste time” spent booking a trip
  • SMD vs Enterprise
  • Winning the market and becoming a unicorn
  • Sizing up the market
  • How Filip and Dan met
  • Narrow Domain Intelligence vs General Form Intelligence
  • Applying AI to the travel space
  • Where Filip sees AI succeeding and thriving 
  • How Artificial Intelligence will help travel be better, smarter, cheaper, faster, and more comfortable
  • The competition in the travel AI space
  • Hotailor’s hybrid approach to travel – Merging A.I. efficiency with human touch by employing a network of 3,000 travel agents across the globe
  • Building a product so good, customers won’t want to leave – the key is to be faster and more robust
  • Hotailor’s approach to product research and development
  • How Hotailor built a network of 3,000 travel agents across the globe
  • The early struggles and mistakes made while growing Hotailors
  • Where Filip believes AI will be used and where he wants to see it utilized
  • Filip’s upbringing running hotels with his parents

066 – Andrea Bonaiuto of Eurowings Group and Brussels Airlines – Exploration and Experiences

Andrea Bonaiuto

The growth of Brussels Airlines in the Americas..

Andrea BonaiutoAndrea Bonaiuto, Marketing Manager for The Americas with Eurowings Group, joins John Matson and Bess Chapman  in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • The most effective B-to-B and B-to-C channels for Brussels Airlines and Eurowings, depending on gaol and purpose
  • Having a smaller budget, acting in startup style in the Americas
  • Working two brands
  • Brussels has three points of departure in North America, but Eurowings has seven gateways in North America
  • Local targeted events, getting people who haven’t travelled to a destination before, acquiring new customers, strategic partnerships
  • Tomorrowland as the largest music festival in Belgium, seeking to create  a seamless customer journey experience and  related experiences, with live DJs at 30,000 ftAndrea Bonaiuto
  • A fun activation, working with United Airlines
  • Gate parties
  • Keeping customer loyalty when the customer may not be interacting directly with brand, consistency, quality service and experiences, and staying in front of customer
  • The deal with airline food, and how at 30,000 feet your taste buds change, t more he need to add more sodium
  • Business class menus created at a high culinary level
  • The “bleisure” markets
  • How promoting airlines is constantly changing with digital opportunities and new platforms
  • Virtual reality at a lot of events, experiencing what the inside of cabin and business class is like

065 – Dean Locke of Riskified – Enabling Ecommerce and Reducing Fraud in Travel


An eCommerce fraud protection solution that protects travel companies…

RiskifiedDean Locke, Head of Business Development at Riskified (the world’s leading eCommerce fraud-prevention company, trusted by hundreds of global brands – from luxury fashion houses and retail chains, to gift card and ticket marketplaces), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman  in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Travel as a high-ticket item, attractive to fraudsters because they can sell per transaction
  • Smaller margins mean magnification of chargebacks
  • How fraud happens
  • Gift cards are highly targeted
  • When revenue streams must shut down due to fraud


  • A Cakeboss treat
  • Being received in the travel space
  • The shift to digital payment, and preparing for cryptocurrencies
  • Indicators of risky transactions
  • The tech scene in NYC

064 -Jared Alster of Cox & Kings – Forward Thinking in a Legacy Travel Brand

Cox & Kings

How does one of the world’s oldest and largest international tourism companies think about innovation?

Cox & KingsJared Alster, Vice President of Marketing for Cox & Kings (offering customized private and group travel tours to India, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Antarctica, Australia, and the Middle East), joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Marketing to Americans outbound
  • Domestic vs. international
  • UK and Australia, different mindset than US, people brought up to be travelers.
  • Brand loyalty largely non existent in the US
  • Challenges of multi-day tour packages
  • When operators makes sense in US – i.e. national parks
  • US is largely a road trip approach
    Cox & Kings
  • B to C focus
  • Being like a travel advisor
  • Designing a site for clarity and purpose instead of for design’s sake
  • More opportunity with people in later years than the past
  • Reaching down as well into small luxury groups
  • Government incentives, bodies rely on operators and agents for CTA to book a trip, may impact what regions are strategically focused on at a time
  • Centralized content the last shoe to fall in industry

063 – Marty St. George of JetBlue – Making Connections

Marty St. George

Marty St. GeorgeA visionary executive and experienced senior revenue and strategy leader in the commercial airline business offers insight into what has turned the aviation industry on its head again  and again over the last 30 years…

Marty St. George, EVP of Commercial and Planning for JetBlue Airways, joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Note that Bess Chapman is interviewing Marty St. George only in the capacity as a podcast host – she also works for JetBlue Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of JetBlue.

In the episode:

  • Marty’s history with JetBlue and the Airline industry
  • JetBlue focus cities and outlook on growth
  • The fascination with bankruptcy and what he’s learned from it
  • Changing with the times and evolving to meet demand; From down turn to profits, low cost to premium
  • How customers will always dictate and pick what business model suites them
  • JetBlue training; everyone from baggage handlers to vice presidents share the experience
  • The future of the Airline industry
  • Maintaining the upstart attitude at a larger scaleMarty St. George
  • An anecdote about Mint, and a “missed” business opportunity
  • The 5 core values of JetBlue and the secret sixth
  • White Leather 90s
  • What JetBlue is doing to future proof for recessions
  • The business vs leisure argument; which is more important
  • A love for building networks and the competitive nature it brings out
  • Data, from the new ways aircraft manufacturers are collecting it inflight to the need for protection
  • The mass amounts of data that are available to due regulations
  • The need for airlines to be more customer focused, and restructuring CRMs
  • Viewing JetBlue as a service business and not an operator
  • Overseeing JetBlue ventures; outside the box solutions from outside heads
  • Wouldn’t it be great to have a solution for Air-Traffic Control and the weather?
  • Identifying a business problem, and finding the means to properly address it
  • The future of JetBlue, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years down the road, and what Marty thought JetBlue would be doing now, 10 years ago
  • Hush Puppies and PBRs, a guide to outlasting “hipness”
  • Doubling down on successes
  • Improved Airline safety and JetBlue’s brand new 220 aircraft
  • Marty’s love for all things Boston, Necco, The Patriots, The Sox, and the small city charm

062 – Darley Newman – Equitrekking the Globe


Discovering  locations around the world by horseback riding and other adventure activities with local people…

Darley Darley Newman (travel expert, published author and the host, writer and producer of Equitrekking, the Emmy-Award winning PBS TV series, and Travels with Darley on PBS, Create TV and on AOL, MSN Travel, Huffington Post, Amazon and over 2000 partner sites) joins John Matson and Bess Chapman in the MouthMedia Network studio powered by Sennheiser.

In this episode:

  • Botswana
  • Salt pans and stargazing
  • Discovering experts, keeping track of them for use indifferent locationsDarley
  • Complicated logistics involved
  • Horses and their personalities
  • Getting charged by an elephant
  • Being a safari guide
  • Finding the right guides
  • Less remote areas are still unique on horseback
  • Something connects people because of horses
  • Why horses are therapeutic for both mind and body
  • Starting the show, how Darley manifested it, a background in journalism and behind the scenes
  • How she started with a website and some videosDarley
  • Horses are a vehicle to get to know people and places
  • Creating a second show, “Travels with Darley”, started short form, and the many places to distribute content
  • Curating content for the right platform
  • How a trip-planning business came organically out of the show
  • The aspect of ecotourism aspect
  • What’s next, and the one place Darley would like to travel to next (because of the food…)