Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution

The lack of women at the top of travel and technology is well known. So we want to highlight these C-level women in tours and activities tech and distribution

Reading Time: 6 minutes 10 seconds

Equality in the workplace has long been a pressing issue. Historically, the travel and technology sectors have underperformed in bringing women into leadership roles. Even before the pandemic, travel had begun to backslide in hiring women into senior leadership roles.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021 is a global examination of how employment practices affect gender equality. It shows that between 2019 and 2020, the number of women in leadership in consumer, recreation and travel decreased by 1%. Only 33.9% of senior roles were held by women, while they make up 43% of those employed in the sector.

We are highlighting nearly 40 C-level women in tours and activities tech and distribution. Whom have we missed? Contact [email protected] to add to the list.

Women Leaders in Experiences Technology

Katrina Affleck, co-founder, CEO and product manager — atravo.

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Affleck co-founded atravo., a booking and reservations platform, in November 2020. She also lectures at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya on the importance of technology in art & culture

Alaa Alkhatib, Vice President, Destination Management, dnata

While not formally a C-level title, we’re making an exception here. Alkhatib directly oversees PrioHub (among other units) inside Emirates’ dnata Travel Group. PrioHub is a booking system, distribution and channel management platform for tours and attractions across the United Arab Emirates.

Maria Aivalioti, COO — Travelotopos

Aivalioti is also the VP of Brand Partnerships and co-founder of CarMates. Travelotopos is a booking engine and channel manager for experiences, vehicle rentals and transfers

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Megan Allen, President and CEO – CityPASS

Megan Allen leads one of the major multi-attraction pass providers serving 15 markets in North America.

Alice Aubrey, content director and co-founder — LoveToVisit

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Alice Aubrey co-founded U.K. experiences OTA LoveToVisit with her sister Georgia (below) and Fed Pereira in December 2020

Georgia Aubrey, partnerships director and co-founder  — LoveToVisit

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Georgia Aubrey leads partnerships at LoveToVisit, which she founded with her sister, Alice (above)

Jackie Babbage, co-founder & CEO — Gifting Owl

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Australia-based Gifting Owl distributes experiences as gifts. Babbage co-founded the business in 2019 with John Sharpe of tour company Riverlife

Ruzwana Bashir, co-founder and CEO — Peek

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Bashir co-founded Peek in 2012. It has grown into one of the larger reservation systems and has raised more than $100 million

Shay Bellas, founder and CEO — NaviTour

NaviTour connects travelers with local guides in Maine. It was founded by Bellas in 2021. She is also the president and co-founder of 19 Oaks Strategic Sales & Marketing

Susan DeBottis, chief growth officer — Rezdy

DeBottis has been chief growth officer at Rezdy since June 2021. Previously, she was vice president, tours & activities and online retail with Marriott International

Chitra Gurnani Daga, co-founder and CEO — Thrillophilia.com

Thrillophilia.com is an experiences OTA focused on the Asian market. It was founded by Gurnani Daga in 2011

Sarah Dines, Chief Commercial Officer – Viator

After leading partnerships and business development since 2018, Dines was promoted to chief commercial officer in July.

Kristen Dorsett, Chief Product Officer – Viator

This eight-year veteran of Viator spent years growing supply side services of the Viator marketplace.

Sabine Anna Engel, CEO & founder, Miomente

Engel founded German culinary experiences marketplace Miomente in 2010

Melissa Halliburton, Founder & CEO – Bring Fido

Halliburton founded this online travel agency for pet-friendly travel and experiences in 2004.

Diana Isaac, CEO & Founder – Winerist

This one-time portfolio manager at Blackrock launched this U.K.-based OTA for wine-related tours and experiences in 2016. 

Megan Langer, Co-founder & COO, The Flybook

Langer is co-founder with Craig Langer of tour and activity booking system The Flybook, which was acquired by Fullsteam in 2020.

Robin Harnish, COO — Holibob

A veteran of Viator and Tripadvisor, Harnish joined Holibob during the B2B distributor’s acquisition of TourismSolved

Carrie Keplinger, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development — Go City

Previously COO, Kepplinger has worked with Go City since 2017. She is also on the board of the Open Connectivity for Tours, Activities and Attractions API specification

Dana Lattouf, CEO — Tickitto

Lattouf is CEO at U.K.-based Tickitto, which provides APIs and white-label solutions for ticketing, since 2018

Stephanie Lawrence, co-founder and co-CEO — Traveling Spoon

Lawrence runs product development and marketing, partnerships, fundraising at Traveling Spoon, co-founded with Aashi Vel (below)

Jasmine Lin, CEO – Rezio

Jasmine Lin leads the booking system platform serving operators and attractions in Asia from the Taiwan-based online travel agency KKday.

Arival 360 | SAN DIEGO 2024

30 September – 3 October 2024

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Monica Marics, COO — RocketRez

COO at booking engine RocketRez since Jan 2021, Marics has plenty of experience leading operations, customer success, and product management teams

Melanie Meador, CEO and president — Redeam

Meador has led channel manager Redeam for more than four years. She is also CEO of the Meador’s Masters Foundation, which has provided relief and support following hurricanes and in Nicaragua 

Blanca Menchaca, co-founder and CEO — BeMyGuest

Menchaca co-founded B2B distributor and booking system provider BeMyGuest in 2012 and worked in the role of COO until 2018 when she became CEO

Murielle Montecalvo, founder and CEO — Vacayou

Also a Global Wellness Institute ambassador, Montecalvo runs Vacayou, which focuses on providing bookings and content for wellness and active travel

June Ohashi, co-founder and CEO — Rezgo

Ohashi co-founded Rezgo, a reservation system, almost 18 years ago

Quynh Pham, co-founder and CEO — TourMega

Serial founder Pham launched TourMega in 2017. It is a search engine, aggregator, and price comparison tool for tours and activities

Jennie Putt, general manager – Bokun

This Tripadvisor veteran of nearly 15 years has held senior operations positions across vacation rentals and experiences. Early this year, Jennie was promoted to General Manager of booking software provider Bokun.

Karen Piscitelli founder and CEO — Explorabout

Piscitelli founded Explorabout in 2021 to help connect experiences and holiday rentals in the U.S.

Raquella Raiz, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer — Cray

Co-founded by Raiz in 2020, Cray is a marketplace for tours and activities driven by video. Raiz is also CEO of content agency Qreative Edge

Tanja Ruesch, chief people officer — GetYourGuide

Having spent almost 10 years at Amazon, Ruesch became Chief People Officer at GetYourGuide in 2021

Camille Rumani, co-founder and COO — Eatwith

Rumani founded EatWith as VizEat in 2013. It connects travelers to local culinary experiences. She was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2018

Kiran Samra, founder — Lokafy

Lokafy connects travelers with local walking guides. It was founded by Samra in 2013

Arival 360 | SAN DIEGO 2024

30 September – 3 October 2024

Insider Pro Access Members Save 20%

THE event of the year for solutions-focused In-Destination Experience
creators and sellers

Save up to $660 with the Spring Savings ticket available through 18 June

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Christine Scheil, managing director and group CFO — Jochen Schweizer Mydays Group

Scheil covers the experiences division at ProSieben, the Germany media company, which acquired the two online activities sites serving the German market Jochen Schweizer and Mydays, as well as booking system Regiondo 

Nicole Smith, founder and CEO — Flytographer

Since Smith launched in 2013, her Flytographer — a vacation photographer marketplace — has sold over $25 million in photo shoots and captured over 4 million memories for travellers around the world. Smith also serves on the board of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs in Canada, and was featured in Mashable’s “Eight Women Shattering the Travel Industry’s Glass Ceiling.”

Janice Sousa, co-founder — Indie Travel

Founded in 2021 by Sousa and Serkan Yuksel, Indie Travel provides reservation software for experiences and hotels. Sousa also lectures at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies

Daphne Tsevreni, co-founder and chief revenue officer — Clio Muse

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Audio guide platform Clio Muse was founded in 2012 by Tsevreni, Andreas Fatouros and Yiannis Nikolopoulos

Aashi Vel, co-founder and co-CEO — Traveling Spoon

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Vel co-founded online marketplace for culinary experiences Traveling Spoon with Stephanie Lawrence (above). She is also head of partnerships at Rebel Girls and a director at the World Food Travel Association

Catherine Warrilow, managing director — Daysout.com

26 Women Leaders in Experiences Tech & Distribution Arival Ben Finch

Soon-to-launch Daysout.com will be a ticketing site for attractions. Warrilow has a wealth of experience in travel and entertainment brands

Melanie White, executive vice-president — Virgin Gift Experiences

Having been with Virgin Gift Experiences since 2015, White became EVP in 2019

Whom did we miss? Let us know: [email protected]

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