October 28-31, 2019     Orlando, Florida

Orlando 2019 Theater Sessions

Preliminary Program: More Speakers and Sessions to Be Announced.

Arival’s Theater program assembles the in-destination industry’s brightest minds and most provocative voices to explore and debate the essential themes shaping tours, activities, attractions, events and experiences.

Our promise: No sales pitches. No sponsored sessions. Just the essential trends and perspectives that matter most to your business.



The Big Picture

The key themes and crucial issues shaping our industry as we kick off the third Arival.

The Best Part of Travel (and the Biggest Opportunity)

Douglas Quinby, Co-founder & CEO, Arival

Our industry – tours, activities, attractions, events and experiences – is undergoing unprecedented change. It is your industry that drives travel and inspires travelers, yet there are big challenges and even bigger opportunity. Join Arival CEO Douglas Quinby as he sets the stage for three days of content devoted to answering your questions and growing your business.

A Very Visible Impact

Zakia Moulaoui, Founder & CEO, Invisible Cities CIC

Every tour operator wants their tours and experiences to have an impact. But Invisible Cities of Edinburgh, Scotland, seeks to be transformational for its guides as well as its guests. Founded in 2016, this company trains individuals affected by homelessness to become guides and lead alternative tours – now across four cities. Invisible Cities’ founder shares her vision for making the invisible visible, and how tour and activity operators can have a social and local impact.

Disruption is Universal

Frank Belzer, Senior Vice President, Universal Parks & Resorts

No matter how large or how small, no company is immune to the disruption that technology innovation and changing traveler demands can bring. In this session, you’ll learn how Universal, one of the leading global theme park brands, approaches some of the most disruptive forces in our industry. Plus, you’ll get their take on key trends in tech, distribution and what’s next for the guest experience.

Going for Growth

It’s why we’re all here. Accelerate sales. Create new products. Reach new markets. Find new partners. Grow, grow, grow.

Ask Me Anything: Airbnb

Riccardo Ulivi, Head of North America Operations, Airbnb Experiences

Experiences, the once-fledgling tours and activities initiative of the online accommodation giant, is growing up fast. Airbnb now boasts more than 30,000 experiences around the world, a new multi-day tour division and more. This candid interview will delve into how Airbnb is working operators, and we’ll ask their head North America the questions you need answered to see if you should be working with them.

Let’s Get Direct (about Growth and Distribution)

Kelly McHugh, Marketing & Development Director| Pacific Whale Foundation
Gus Moore, Founder, Miami Tour Company
More speakers to be announced

This operator roundtable delves into challenges and best practices around working with OTAs, managing distribution channels and building a direct and diversified sales strategy.

The Joy of Growing Pains

James Blick, COO & Co-founder, Devour Tours

Growth in most companies is hardly a straight line up, but more like an adventure course with plenty of downs as well as ups. In this operator story, James Blick shares the lessons learned from Devour’s tours and detours since its founding in 2012 to its expansion to seven cities across Europe.

Hotels Want You

Susan DeBottis, Vice President, Tours & Activities, Marriott International

Hotels are starting to get it. Travelers may stay in rooms, but they seek experiences, and the old days of brochure racks and the occasional concierge are no longer enough. In this talk, we’ll hear how the world’s biggest hotel chain is approaching the Best Part of Travel, and how you can grow your sales through hotel and accommodation partners.

Ask Me Anything: TripAdvisor

Dermot Halpin, President, TripAdvisor Experiences
Interviewer: Douglas Quinby, Arival

It’s one of our industry’s biggest online brands, the largest platform for traveler reviews and—for many operators—an important source of bookings. In this one-on-one interview, we (and you) ask the questions that matter most to your business.


Tech, Tools, Tomorrow

Reservation tech. Online booking. Connectivity. Mobile. And more. These sessions dive in to what’s happening, what’s changing, what’s next and what you can use.

The Great Tech Debate: A Roundtable with Reservations

Chris Atkin, CEO, Rezdy
Ruzwana Bashir, Co-founder & CEO, Peek
Jason Morehouse, Co-founder & CEO, Checkfront
Max Valverde, CEO, FareHarbor

The rapid growth and adoption of reservation systems have made mission-critical tech accessible to even the smallest operators and brought much of our industry online. But just how different are all of these systems (Arival has identified more than 100), how do operators begin to choose, and what does it mean now that alignments are emerging between some tech systems and major online travel agencies? We’ll dive in and pull no punches as we talk tech and what it means to you with the CEOs of four reservation system companies.

Tools for Tomorrow’s Operator

How travelers can experience a tour, an attraction or activity and the ways in which operators can deliver those experiences are changing rapidly. In this first-time session at Arival, we feature presentations from a handful of innovative new technology tools that could change the way you do business. Then, four veteran operators and investors evaluate each presentation live on stage and ask key questions to help determine if these tools could be a part of your tomorrow.

Presenting Companies:
Alex Govoreanu, CEO & Co-founder, Questo
Michael Weiss, Co-founder, Bitemojo
Christian Watts, Founder & CEO, Magpie

Feedback Panel:
Erik Blachford, Venture Partner, TCV
Georgette Blau, Founder & CEO, On Location Tours
Chris Hemmeter, Managing Partner, Thayer Ventures
Nichole Williamson, Managing Director, M56 Group

The Science of Designing an Amazing Guest Experience

Jason Horkin, Executive Director, Hudson Yards Experiences/Related Companies

How do you begin to design a major new attraction in a destination that already has it all? In this talk, attractions industry veteran Jason Horkin walks us through the design-led approach they took to develop the Vessel and the Edge, and how New York City’s Hudson Yards tackled design and development challenges in the very busy Big Apple.

Global Trends

From the rise of regional markets to big shifts in traveler expectations, major forces are changing our marketplace. These talks are designed to keep you two steps ahead.

The Future of Tour & Activity Branding

Tony Carne, General Manager, Urban Adventures
Jack Louis, President, Fat Tire Tours

Amid the rapid growth of tours and activities, where are global brands? Why hasn’t this taken hold? More and more companies are building multi-destination tour brands, seeking to extend their names and establish brand standards across multiple destinations and experiences. Will it work? And what does it mean for operators? When should an operator extend their brand, or consider licensing a global brand? This panel of aspiring global brands will tackle these questions and more.

How to Win the Spanish-Speaking Traveler

Alberto Gutiérrez, Founder & CEO, Civitatis

Across 20 countries and some 500 million people (as well as more than 50 million in the U.S.), Spanish is the mother tongue. As incomes and the demand for travel rise, so does our industry’s need to understand and serve this diverse group of travelers. This talk walks through the opportunities—and do’s and don’ts—to reach and win this diverse and growing market.

Next from Asia: The Rise of Southeast Asia

Christian Suwarna, CEO, Traveloka Experience

While all eyes have focused on China, travel demand from Southeast Asia—from Indonesia to the Philippines and beyond—has been surging. This talk introduces us to the next big wave of travelers from Asia, and how you can capture the market.

The World’s Fastest Growing Supermarket: China

Lee McCabe, Vice President, North America, Alibaba Group

China is the world’s largest outbound travel market and will soon be the world’s largest economy. Here to walk us through the extraordinary super economy and what it means for your business is the U.S. lead for China’s e-commerce giant and the world’s fifth-largest Internet company Alibaba.



The Data-Driven Operator

The days of product design, marketing and pricing by gut, instinct and experience alone are coming to a close. We have more data at our fingertips than ever, and our industry’s winners will be data-driven decision-makers.

Arival In-Destination Traveler Trends: What Your Customers Want

Douglas Quinby, Co-Founder & CEO, Arival

Arival returns with its in-depth look at U.S. travelers and what they want from tour, activity and attraction operators for 2020. Arival’s new research looks at everything from how travelers choose and book and what drives tour and activity selection to the role of food, traveler reviews and what makes a great guest experience. These are exclusive research insights available only at Arival.

Ideas You Can Steal

Presenters and ideas to be Announced

Hear from a handful of hand-picked operators who’ve got something interesting to share: They tried an idea—big or small, intentional or even a little accidental —but it ended up making a big impact on their business. Now they’re sharing their ideas with you. How does the saying go? Imitation is the best form of flattery.

Using Customer Insights to Create Perfect Experiences

Stephanie Lawrence, Co-Founder, Traveling Spoon

What makes the ideal customer experience? How do you design your tours, activities or experiences to great the best possible outcome? The co-founder of one of the largest online culinary experience marketplaces shows how they use their customer learnings to help their hosts perfect their offerings, and how you can do the same.

Growth Opportunity: Tap the Corporate Experiences Market

Arielle Fuller, Head of Experience Curation, BlueBoard

Our industry is mostly focused on the leisure traveler, but have you thought about selling into businesses? More companies are offering experiences as employee benefits and incentives. This keynote walks us through the big shift underway in the corporate benefits and retention marketplace, and how tour, activity and attraction operators can find new growth opportunities by creating unique experiences that serve local and global businesses.

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