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WiT Singapore 2018

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Last year, WiT Singapore built the road to "Better Travel" and encouraged you to embrace five values – Creativity, Diversity, Openness, Respect, and Love. This year, we invite you to join us on the next stage of our journey to Better Travel by stepping "Through the Looking Glass".

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About WiT Singapore
WiT Singapore 2018 will take a step "Through the Looking Glass". Other than uncovering inspirational and new ideas in travel from across the world and in APAC, it will also look beyond the borders of travel, to take lessons and to see things in a different light.

About WiT
WiT is Asia's leading digital travel media and events platform with content focused around how technology is changing travel and behaviour in the world's fastest growing market. Its signature conference in Singapore, launched in 2005, attracts more than 500 travel industry professionals from around the world. Held every October in partnership with ITB Asia, WiT Singapore will be held at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre on October 15-17. It also holds WiT Hospitality, Hong Kong; WiT Seoul; WiT Indie, Penang; WiT Europe, Amsterdam; and WiT Japan & North Asia.

WiT is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Group, the leading B2B information and marketing solutions company serving all segments of the travel industry including leisure/retail, corporate/business travel, business and sports, meetings, incentives and travel technology.

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Why attend

Change is coming at us from so many different directions. Emerging markets, new customers, new behaviours. New tech – AI, machine learning, blockchain – are promising to transform every industry. Fintech is targeting consumers at the point where it matters most – their pockets. On-demand services are changing our expectations in how we consume, live, work and play.

Marketplaces do retail better – compare buying on Amazon versus an airline website. Facebook and Google are streaks ahead in AI and machine learning. Spotify has taken personalisation to a new level, it even discovers new music for you. Netflix knows what you should be watching before you do.

It is clear no industry can afford to operate in silos anymore. Lines have blurred, walls have come down. It is vital we look past our industry to explore and discover other verticals – whether in tech, media, retail, banking – and take lessons from their experiences.

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When Alice stepped "Through the Looking Glass", she did it boldly. She asked questions of everyone she met, she had a playful spirit, she accepted everyone as they were, with all their quirks and eccentricities. Yet, she never lost sight of her identity and who she was.

Curiosity, Courage, Experimentation, Acceptance and Character. These are the values we should hold on to when we set off on any journey to a new destination.

This year at WiT 2018, we encourage you to embrace these five values as we take the journey "Through the Looking Glass" together. Let's explore what is out there that we can learn from, see things in a different light, so that together we can uncover a world of possibilities on the other side.

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Monday, 15 October 2018
8:00 am - 9:00 amChecking In [More Info]
9:00 am - 9:10 amKick-off [More Info]
9:10 am - 9:20 amWhat's Up In The World of Startups? [More Info]
9:20 am - 9:50 amThrough The Lens of Investors [More Info]
9:50 am - 10:20 amFounders' Fireside Round: There's Life After Exit [More Info]
10:20 am - 10:45 amThrough The Looking Glass: China [More Info]
10:45 am - 11:15 amCoffee Break
11:15 am - 11:45 amThrough The Looking Glass: Philippines [More Info]
11:45 am - 12:15 pmThrough The Looking Glass: Taiwan [More Info]
12:15 pm - 12:35 pmCreating Inspirational Content To Link The World: The Story of Culture Trip [More Info]
12:35 pm - 12:55 pmRocking It In The World of Fashion & Retail [More Info]
12:55 pm - 2:00 pmLunch
2:00 pm - 2:25 pmThrough The Looking Glass: Israel [More Info]
2:25 pm - 2:45 pmThrough The Looking Glass: Nepal [More Info]
2:45 pm - 3:45 pmWiT Singapore Startup Pitch 2018, Part 1 [More Info]
3:45 pm - 4:15 pmBreak
4:15 pm - 4:35 pmCreating Aspirational and Luxury Travel In China: The Story Of Zanadu [More Info]
4:35 pm - 5:25 pmWiT Singapore Startup Pitch 2018, Part 2 [More Info]
5:25 pm - 5:50 pmWiT Startup Alumni Club [More Info]
5:50 pm - 6:20 pmPain Points In Travel: Advice For Startups [More Info]
6:20 pmIt's A Wrap [More Info]
6:30 pm - 8:00 pmWiT Opening Cocktails (Hosted by Ingenico ePayments) [More Info]
Tuesday, 16 October 2018
8:00 am - 9:00 amChecking In
9:00 am - 9:10 amOpening
9:10 am - 9:20 amSetting The Stage: Walk On Through To The Other Side [More Info]
9:20 am - 9:40 amOpening Conversation: A Bridge Closer To The Other Side [More Info]
9:40 am - 10:00 amGlobal Might, Asia Fight [More Info]
10:00 am - 10:20 amThe Next Big Pot Of Gold [More Info]
10:20 am - 10:30 amThe Power Paradox [More Info]
10:30 am - 10:50 amThrough The Google Glass [More Info]
10:50 am - 11:00 amThrough The Looking Glass: Going Beyond Hospitality [More Info]
11:00 am - 11:30 amBreak
11:30 am - 11:35 amOpen Space
11:35 am - 11:45 amFuture Of Travel Technology: 2030 [More Info]
11:45 am - 12:05 pmThe Now Big Thing In Search: Data Science, Context & Personalisation [More Info]
12:05 pm - 12:40 pmI Spy With My Little Eye ... [More Info]
12:40 pm - 1:00 pmMessaging Might, Travel Power [More Info]
1:00 pm - 2:00 pmLunch
2:00 pm - 2:05 pmOpen Space
2:05 pm - 2:45 pmMining The Golden Nugget: Stuff You Ought To Know About Airline Distribution Including NDC [More Info]
2:45 pm - 3:05 pmThrough The Looking Glass with Singapore Airlines [More Info]
3:05 pm - 3:20 pmCatching The Wave: Uncovering The Cruise Opportunity [More Info]
3:20 pm - 3:40 pmString Art, Surf With A Local & Walking With Wolves: Airbnb Experiences, A Year On [More Info]
3:40 pm - 3:45 pmOpen Space
3:45 pm - 4:15 pmCoffee Break
4:15 pm - 4:30 pmImagine New Possibilities [More Info]
4:30 pm - 5:00 pmThe Next Wave in Destination Marketing: New Tech, New Ideas, New Travellers [More Info]
5:00 pm - 5:30 pmIt's Getting Hot In The Experiences Kitchen [More Info]
5:30 pm - 5:45 pmThrough The Looking Glass: The Journey Of Travel [More Info]
5:45 pmIt's A Wrap - Till Tomorrow
7:00 pm - 9:00 pmWiT Hall of Fame Salon 2018 [More Info]
Wednesday, 17 October 2018
8:30 am - 9:20 amChecking In
9:20 am - 9:30 amKicking Off
9:30 am - 9:50 amOpening Conversation: MakeMyTrip - Looking Towards Amazon [More Info]
9:50 am - 10:00 amThrough The Looking Glass: Behold The New World of Convergence [More Info]
10:00 am - 10:20 amCoffee Chat: Eric Gnock Fah, COO & Co-founder, Klook [More Info]
10:20 am - 10:50 amThe Ever-Changing Prism Of Hospitality [More Info]
10:50 am - 11:10 amCoffee Chat: Nikhilesh Ponde, Head of Global Travel Strategy, Facebook [More Info]
11:10 am - 11:40 amCoffee Break
11:40 am - 11:55 amThrough The Looking Glass: How Online Travel is taking off in South-east Asia [More Info]
11:55 am - 12:00 pmOpen Space
12:00 pm - 12:30 pmOTAs & Different Shades Of Grey [More Info]
12:30 pm - 1:00 pmPayments Make the World Of Travel Go Around [More Info]
1:00 pm - 2:00 pmLunch
2:00 pm - 2:05 pmOpen Space
2:05 pm - 2:15 pmThrough The Looking Glass: The Sound Of Travel [More Info]
2:15 pm - 2:45 pmBlockchain In Travel: Boom, Bust, Or Mere Blip? [More Info]
2:45 pm - 3:05 pmBest of WiT Europe [More Info]
3:05 pm - 3:25 pmCoffee Chat: Cherry Huang, General Manager, Cross-Border Business, South-east Asia, Alipay [More Info]
3:25 pm - 3:55 pmCoffee Break
3:55 pm - 4:25 pmChina Power, Local Stories, Global Ambitions [More Info]
4:25 pm - 4:45 pmContent Creation & Consumption In China [More Info]
4:45 pm - 5:00 pmWiT Startup Pitch 2018 Grand Finals [More Info]
5:00 pm - 5:20 pmWhat's Cooking, Booking? [More Info]
5:20 pm - 5:40 pmThe WiT Great Debate [More Info]
5:40 pm - 5:45 pmIt's A Wrap, See You Oct 14 – 16 Next Year
7:00 pm - 9:00 pmClosing Cocktails Hosted By Adara [More Info]
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Registration is now CLOSED. Please contact registration@webintravel.com for assistance. 
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The WiT Startup Pitch is one of the most dynamic travel startup pitch competitions in Asia Pacific. We're looking for groundbreaking new ideas and clever, entrepreneurial minds that are pushing the boundaries in travel technology.


Catch these startups as they take the stage at the WiT Startup Pitch semi-finals round at the WiT Bootcamp on October 15. Each startup will get 5 minutes to present their business idea before facing a 3-minute Q&A with our panel of judges. The top three will move on to pitch at the Grand Finals during the day two of Main Conference on October 17.

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Checkmate Technologies
Portier Technologies
Travel Ads Network

*The WiT Startup Pitch is open to all travel-related startups, up to 5 years old.

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“Next Gen leaders were inducted alongside veterans in the industry in WiT’s Hall of Fame that was introduced last year to recognise and honour individuals and companies who have had the greatest influence on the progress and professionalism of the digital travel industry in Asia Pacific.

This year, we are honouring a couple of Next Gen leaders to recognise the new wave of pioneers changing digital travel in our region. As part of our vision and mission to widen and deepen our community, we want to single out these two whom we feel will lead us into making travel better,” said Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder and managing director of WiT.

The following are the 2018 WiT Hall of Fame inductees and their citations.

Next Gen: Ferry Unardi, CEO & Co-founder, Traveloka

All smiles (L-R): Traveloka’s Henry Hendrawan, WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon. Traveloka’s Albert Zhang, Robert Rosenstein of Agoda.

Urban legend has it that when Ferry Unardi first shared the idea of Traveloka, Indonesia’s first OTA, with investors, he was told he should start with a meta-search model. But the computer science & engineering graduate stuck to his guns, dropped out of Harvard and launched Traveloka in 2012 at the age of 23.

In six years he and his co-founders have built up South-east Asia’s first travel unicorn – raising the hopes and igniting the excitement of a new generation of young entrepreneurs in Indonesia and South-east Asia. His aggressive expansion, relentless execution and boldness to take on competitors and defy critics have earned him both bouquets and brickbats. Today, Traveloka is the first Indonesian travel brand to have scaled across South-east Asia with major presence in six cities across the region.

Next Gen: Eric Gnock Fah & Ethan Lin, co-founders, Klook

Klook’s COO & co-founder Eric Gnock Fah (centre) flanked by WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon and Agoda’s Robert Rosenstein (right)

When Eric Gnock Fah and Ethan Lin stood on the WiT Japan stage to pitch their idea of Klook in 2015, and won, few people imagined that in less than three years they would become the fastest-growing startup in the tours & activities sector as well as the most-funded – US$300 million in under three years.

The two partners, former bankers with no travel experience, have executed fearlessly to build a travel business for a new generation of travellers, social, mobile and experience-seeking. Learning as they went along, they have proven critics wrong and today they stand ready to take Klook global, the first Asia-grown independent travel brand to spread its wings beyond Asia.

Loh Lik Peng, Founder, Unlisted Collection

Loh Lik Peng of Unlisted Collection (right) with Northstar Travel Group’s Bob Sullivan (left) and WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon

Loh Lik Ping is a pioneer in the hospitality sector, combining design, food and local experiences (before it became a fashionable word) for a new generation of travellers. He started the “boutique hotel” trend in Singapore by converting an old shophouse in the red light district of Chinatown. He’s demonstrated a knack for identifying up-and-coming neighbourhoods in non-tourist zones and converting heritage buildings into hospitality and lifestyle spaces with a difference – for example, the Town Hall in London’s East End and Old Clare Hotel in Sydney, Australia as well as in Shanghai and Dublin.

His Unlisted Collection also includes 20 top-class restaurants in major culinary capitals. He’s taken a Singapore idea and brand abroad, proving that, when it comes to travel, lifestyle and local experiences, there are no boundaries. His Collection’s use of digital and social media has also differentiated the group and his constant evolution as an entrepreneur now sees him reimagining a new kind of space in hospitality and community with the conversion of the New Majestic Hotel into the Straits Clan.

Singapore Tourism Board

Lynette Pang from Singapore Tourism Board (right) picks up the award

The Singapore Tourism Board, through its own digital transformation and progressive marketing strategy, has played an active role in the championing of online travel. Its grants to encourage the use of technology, its training programmes to empower the trade with the right tools and skills set, its set up of the Tourism & Services Hub to organise and streamline the use of data to better deliver on customer experiences are some of the initiatives it’s introduced to transform Singapore into a destination for the digital age.

Above all, its branding campaign, “Passion Made Possible” launched August 2017 is a breakthrough. It is the first unified branding for Singapore Inc. and combines digital and real-life to create a powerful new narrative, one told through its people, stories and experiences. It’s a bold attempt to break away from destination stereotypes and bringing a place to life in a way that connects travellers with local communities.

Ross Veitch, Co-founder & CEO, Wego

Ross Veitch is a pioneer in travel search in Asia and blazed new trails for others to follow. It started off as Bezurk in 2005, and then became Wego along the way when the founders realized Bezurk did not trip off the tongue as easily in Asia as Wego. Through ups and downs, he persevered to build Wego into a solid brand in South-east Asia and a few years ago, took the decision to enter the Middle East market.

Today, Wego is a household brand in the Middle East, the first Singapore-based travel brand to penetrate the fast-growing region. The story of Wego, started in 2005, the same time as WiT, parallels the story of WiT. Veitch remains an active angel investor in travel and continues to play a key role in the nurturing of the travel startup ecosystem in the region.

Rod Cuthbert, founder, Viator

Viator’s Rod Cuthbert (centre) poses with WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon and Northstar Travel Group’s Bob Sullivan (right)

At a time when no one was thinking tours & activities, Rod Cuthbert started Viator in 1995. He diligently and patiently built it up, and its sale to TripAdvisor in 2014 was the spark that lit the fire under the tours & activities sector.

Today it is the hottest sector in online travel, attracting investments and acquisitions, and Cuthbert is the pioneer who blazed the trail for others to follow. He then took on the chairman’s role at Rome2rio, the first multi-modal search, mentoring and guiding the Melbourne-based startup to global expansion. Through his active involvement and mentoring of young startups at WiT conferences, he’s played a key role in the development of online travel in APAC.

Jenny Wu, Managing Partner, Baidu Capital

Baidu Capital’s Jenny Wu (centre) receiving the award from WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon and Northstar Travel Group’s Bob Sullivan (right)

In her previous role as chief financial officer and chief strategy officer of Ctrip, from 2011 to 2016, Jenny Wu played a critical role in the group’s expansion within and beyond China, elevating the profile of online travel within China as well as China’s status in the global market. She spearheaded more than 30 acquisitions and investment deals and managed post-investment affairs, including Tujia, China’s largest homestay network, India’s largest online travel company MakeMyTrip, and a portfolio covering both platforms or technology companies in the online and offline sectors.

In November 2016, she joined Baidu Capital as managing partner and armed with a $3 billion fund, which includes a dedicated travel fund in partnership with Ctrip, remains an influential figure in China’s Internet economy as well as China’s investment profile in global markets. Despite her hectic schedule, Wu always finds time to mentor young entrepreneurs.

Adrian Currie, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Booking Holdings

Adrian Currie of Booking Holdings (centre) with WiT’s Yeoh Siew Hoon and Northstar Travel Group’s Bob Sullivan (right)

With a background in corporate finance and audit, Adrian Currie came into the Priceline Group fold through the acquisition of Active Hotels and became CFO of the group, later taking on a strategic and leading role chairing its acquired companies – Agoda, Rocket Miles, rentalcars.com– as well as spearheading corporate development.

In his 14 years at Booking Holdings, he’s played a key and influential role in the development of the online travel space in APAC, using his position to make a difference to the industry. He’s played an active part in WiT’s Startup Pitch programme since the beginning, judging, mentoring and coaching young entrepreneurs and professionals in our region. From his base in New Zealand, he remains an influential figure in the evolution of APAC’s travel industry

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