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Welcome to the Travel Hero Podcast by ITB!

The Travel Hero Podcast features intimate talks with inspiring minds of the tourism industry.

Why travel heroes? Well, the tourism industry is full of big achievers and thrilling personalities. We want to reveal the souls behind big names and successful brands, want to bring the global minds, the travel heroes, of our industry to your ears. In the episodes we unfold how our travel heroes became who they are today. What are their lessons learned. What makes them passionate about the tourism industry. What tips do they have in store for all the travel heroes out there.

They do not know who they will meet, they know about a common theme, but they do not know the questions. Two personalities from the tourism industry meet in the brand new episode of our Travel Hero Podcast in a blind date conversation. And we? We get to eavesdrop!

Next to the new Blind Date episodes there are two other types of formats: While the “Soul Talks” are face-to-face interviews with inspiring personalities sharing anecdotes, stories of success and failures and practical tips, the “Deep Dive” episodes discuss trend topics like future mobility, climate change, disaster management, travel technology, marketing and sustainability in tourism.

Why ITB you might ask? It‘s as simple as that: Since more than 50 years ITB brings people from all over the world together and thereby unites an entire industry on a show floor. It’s a people’s business. And that’s exactly what the Travel Hero Podcast is all about: connecting thinking minds like you and our guests in sharing real-life stories by real people

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Blind Date: Communities | Ian Cumming, Travel Massive meets Philip Ibrahim, The Student Hotel

Ian and Philip didn't know they'd meet each other for this podcast episode but we knew exactly one topic that unites them: Communities! Out came a very open first meeting and some very useful insights on how to build and engage communities.

Deep Dive: Rethink Travel! | visitBerlin, atmosfair, forum anders reisen, ITB Berlin

We gathered a bunch of experts to answer the question on how to travel responsibly in times of flight shame, overtourism and the like. While 'atmosfair' sheds light upon offsetting flights, we get useful tips on how to chose a sustainable tour operator by 'forum anders reisen' and receive insights from 'visit Berlin' on their strategies undertaken to make new neighbourhoods and activities sexy for tourists. There's many lessons learned and one crucial shout out to all travellers: it's time to RETHINK TRAVEL!

Deep Dive: The use of AR and VR for immersive tourism experiences I Manchester Metropolitan University

Mandy Tom Dieck and Timothy Young dive into some AR/ VR use cases in terms of tourism experiences and discuss its opportunities and challenges as well as its outcomes and lessons learned. Future scenarios and possible developments will be highlighted as part of this talk.

Deep Dive: The New Luxury Tourism | Accor, Taj, Metropolo & Steigenberger

This is a dive deep into the world of NEW luxury tourism. CEO's of well-known hotel brands share their perspectives on how to enhance the experiences of their luxury guests. You'll take away crucial insights on how to build a luxury brand considering the challenge of keeping brand promises and differentiated souls without simply duplicating. The discussion get heated up once the terms "digital detox" and "digitalization" come up...

Soul Talk: Timothy O'Neil-Dunne | 777 Partners

Timothy O'Neil-Dunne gained foothold in the travel industry at an early stage, was on the start up team of Expedia and considers himself as an "agent of change". He is very clear about the bright and dark sides that the travel industry brings and shares his thoughts on the importance of listening and transformations in life.

Deep Dive: Responsible Tourism | Gopinath Parayil | The Blue Yonder

Why Gopinath Parayil (short: Gopi) is a true travel hero? He pioneered when founding one of the first travel companies from India with focus on responsible tourism: The Blue Yonder. They like to call themselves a "Development Intervention Organisation" aiming to create better places for people and communities to live as THE basic foundation for tourism to be sustainable. Listening to Gopi's story he might transform your way of travelling, too.

Deep Dive: The New TripAdvisor | Stephen Kaufer | TripAdvisor

Get ready for the new TripAdvisor! Face to face with Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor, this interview during ITB Berlin Convention reveals insights into the world's largest travel platform. You'll get to know the importance of trust and sharing experiences in this business and gain first hand knowledge about TripAdvisor's plans on becoming the starting point of every journey.

Soul Talk: Andy Owen Jones I bd4travel

Andy Owen Jones, CEO and visionary Co-Founder of bd4travel, is talking about the importance of using Big data and AI to understand customer's current and future behavior in terms of online booking. How he "fell" into travel technology and finally brought bd4travel to life? He'll tell you!

Soul Talk: Greg W. Greeley | Airbnb

"Anyone can belong anywhere" - That's what Airbnb is about. The President of Homes of Airbnb, Greg W. Greeley talks about his work at Amazon prime and how he started at Airbnb. The mission of Airbnb: Meaningful and memorable travel as well as a personal connection with the people you're visiting. Get inspired by Greg's story!

Deep Dive: The World of Blacklane | Jens Wohltorf | Blacklane

Invent, improve and understand your customers' needs – of today and tomorrow. In this talk Jens Wohltorf, CEO of Blacklane, emphasizes the value of Concierge Service and the transformation of future mobility. How to be ready for the future, Jens?

Deep Dive: China´s Power and Global Ambitions I Alibaba, & Fosun

Put your headphones on and listen to Angel Zhao giving latest business insights about the Alibaba ecosystem and its newbie Fliggy which has been recently launched as the new Chinese shopping platform. and Fosun round off the panel to bring you up to date. Enjoy!

Soul Talk: Monika Wiederhold | Amadeus

Travel and tech - these are the two passions of our travel hero Monika Wiederhold, Managing Director at Amadeus Germany. During the interview she reveals how 9/11 changed her personal and professional life and why Mahatma Gandhi is her personal super hero. Monika's advise to future travel heroes? Stay curios and travel!

Deep Dive: Future Mobility | Christoph Weigler | Uber

Learn from the "Uber story" in this episode with Christoph Weigler, General Manager, Uber Germany. Christoph claims that we should start to move away from owning a car to using mobility as a service in the future, about "Doomsday" in future mobility, opportunities in rural areas and about his personal super hero: his daughter. Why he doesn't own a car himself? He'll tell you!

Deep Dive: Inside Expedia | Mark Okerstrom | Expedia Group

"What’s the most dreaded question in an earnings call, Mark Okerstrom?" – this is how Philip Wolf starts the conversation at this years ITB Berlin Convention and it only gets even more honest from here. Canadian Mark Okerstrom, CEO of the Expedia Group, shares insights into one of the world's leading travel companies. The CEO reveals their efforts in putting the "A" back in "OTA", what the next 20 years of travel are all about and what he truly thinks about industry competitors like

Soul Talk: Verena Keimer | Travelzoo

Verena Keimer calls herself a travel enthusiast. She's always been fascinated by the travel industry. Stepping into various jobs in her life always adapting to new environments she knew that the key is exchanging with people and learning from these chapters. That's what brought her to where she is now - an inspiring woman for young talents of the industry.

Soul Talk: Andrew Nelson | National Geographic Traveler

Andrew Nelson talks about his life at National Geografic Traveler and strength of storytelling, According to Andrew the most important thing in travel is to take time and enjoy yourself and to meet and understand from other countries. Be curious to listen to some of his inspiring and instructive anecdotes.

Soul Talk: Kash Bhattacharya | BudgetTraveller

This is Kash Bhattacharya on his life as a travel blogger, author and travelholic. He talks about his mission on the transformation of hostels and why being in a hotel is a real experience today! He has the travelled the world and his answer on the most amazing country he's ever been to comes quick like a shot.

Deep Dive: Women in Travel Tech | Charlotte Lamp Davies | A Bright Approach

Inspiring Charlotte Lamp Davies talks about women in the travel tech industry, equal opportunities of man and woman alike and about the importance of mentoring and role models. According to Charlotte the two things you need if you want to be successful: Integrity and communication skills, because in the end your reputation will be everything!


The voice behind the Travel Hero Podcast belongs to Nico Gutjahr, talk show host and moderator, who we like to describe as a cheerful, eloquent, charming guy, entertaining and nosy, in a very positive way. Nico sure knows how to tease out the unknown. He hosts his own web talk show ( actors, actresses, politicians, musicians and many more.