Conference Program

The HRDS Conference Program, in partnership with NEWH, is certified with CEU-accredited sessions. Take a look at the full program and speaker line-up below.

Wednesday 7 June

11.00 – 11.45

Keynote: HRDS Leaders Debate - Travel horizons and design trends for southern states and CALA

  • Consumer trends in travel and hospitality and changing guest expectations in southern states & CALA
  • Bleisure: where are the opportunities, and what's the impact on design?
  • What's the outlook for travel to 2025, and what are any sub-regional differences? 
  • Connecting guests to the CALA region
  • How is luxury changing across hotels and resorts, and across midscale, upscale and luxury sectors? 
  • How can hospitality deliver luxury and sustainable interiors using local resources in southern states & CALA?
  • Using brand design standards to ensure quality, and to align an enhanced guest experience with the business case
  • Impact of AI on the design world, and how to ensure designs are unique


Patti Seay
Director of Design, Hilton
Francisco Jove
Principal Owner, Modus Operandi
Emilio Perez
Senior Continent Leader Global Design, CALA , Marriott International
Kavitha Iyer
Head of Design, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
1.45 – 2.15

A tale of design – creating an emotional connection

Storytelling allows designers to create an emotional connection with their audience – whether we are watching animations, taking a cruise or on vacation land side.

  • Elevating the guest experience through design, service and storytelling
  • The importance of authenticity for designing interiors which evoke emotional connections
  • Designing for the senses


Audra Tuskes
Vice President of Design, Marriott International
Kristin Cullen
Interior Design Director, Dash Design
Trisha Poole
President, Design Poole Inc.
Christopher Stubbs
AVP Sailor (Customer) and Crew (Employee) Experience , Virgin Voyages
2.30 – 3.15

Shaping hospitality design through regional influences

  • Regionality - tapping into inspirations at local and regional level to develop authentic, unique and nuanced designs with a strong contextual foundation
  • Re-thinking the all-inclusive package – how are brands elevating and diversifying the offer?
  • What is luxury becoming?
  • Delivering on evolving travellers’ expectations in alignment with brand development (design & operations)
  • Eco-tourism – connecting guests with the natural world around them
  • Defining responsible design for projects, people and procurement of resources
  • Regionality and local expertise – collaborating with local talent and local suppliers


Mila Strauss
Founder, MM18
Victor Garcia
Senior Manager Global Design , Marriott International
Sebastian Velez
Principal & Architect, Urban Robot Associates
Malcolm Berg
Founder, President & Design Director, EoA Group
3.30 – 4.15

What's new in fast design, guest loyalty and micro experiences?

  • Building flexibility into design: nano experiences, small activation and micro restaurants
  • Renovating, re-purposing and rebranding hotels in southern states and CALA
  • Understanding how ‘fast design’ can deliver different experiences for returning guests
  • ‘Fast design’ – what is it and what’s possible in hotel interiors?
  • Regenerative design - creating a positive effect on the site throughout the design and development
  • Sustainable design choices – lifespan extension, life cycle assessment, sourcing strategies


Maria Magalhães
Interior Designer, Founder, M Magalhães Estúdio
Kobi Karp
Founder & Principal , Kobi Karp Architecture & Interior Design
Kimberly Jackson
Managing Director, AvroKO
Douglas Grieco
Senior Director of Design for LATAM, Hilton