Africa Travel Week
Frank Reeves

Behind the Mic with Frank Reeves

Frank Reeves is the founder of and more than a tad obsessed with delivering innovative technologies and new distribution networks to grow direct bookings for hotels.

Q&A with Frank 

What are you hoping could ignite enthusiasm on what you’re going to speak about? (without giving away too much) 

Travellers today no longer respond to a one-size-fits-all way of selling. Their expectations are much higher thanks to the personalisation they regularly enjoy on Spotify, Netflix and Amazon. OTA’s beat the hotel’s direct channel at curating the online experiences of their guests – they see the value of guided personalisation in the buying process, and they use it to their advantage. But this is where stands apart in the market by enabling you to deliver the same personalised guest journey and shift business from expensive OTA’s to your direct platform. 

 As we migrate into a post Covid era – it’s more crucial than ever that your direct channel speaks to your guest louder than the OTA’s, who are only ever working harder to increase their share of your online bookings.  

 What have you missed with regards to face-to-face contact in the events speaking space? 

When we meet virtually, we have a tendency to tick off agenda points and we can miss out on real connection. We’ve become so good at being productive that we miss out on core connectivity.  Hospitality is a people’s business and it’s great to see the white in a person’s eye’s when you speak face to face.  

How did you come to do what you do, tell us a bit about your career advancement? 

Prior to founding Avvio I had a 5-year software career with New York Life Inc. (NYC) and Sun Microsystems (Dublin). My technical background gave me the insight that travel booking was destined to be “shaken-up” by the internet and the early signs of OTA dominance were already there in 2000. Given Ireland’s reputation for world class hospitality, I thought who better to discuss this with than some of Ireland’s top hoteliers, who shared openly with me about their industry. We found easy common ground on the critical role of the hotel direct website in the future of travel and I immediately set-out to program Ireland’s first hotel booking engine. 

Based on your five senses, what are you looking forward to most at the show this year? 

  • See: People!!!  
  • Taste: Authentic South African cuisine. I’m a big foodie and have heard so much about the fine food and wine that South Africa has to offer
  • Feel: The warmth of South Africa culture – and the sunshine of course (I’m from Ireland!)  
  • Hear: I’m really looking forward to hearing more about the challenges South African hotels are facing in the competitive e-commerce space 
  • Smell: The excitement of new meetings and lively conversations  

What makes Africa Unique?  

South Africa is a very attractive market to international traveller’s – it offers authentic world class hospitality in natural beauty for an accessible cost. 

What is the first thing you will do once you set foot in Cape Town?   

Walk along the promenade in Camps Bay and put my feet in the ocean!!  

Looking back as past events that you have been to, what business connection/relationship stands out that made it truly worthwhile. ? 

I was once fortunate enough to be introduced to Richard H. Thaler who shared with me his profound insights on how consumers make decisions. Studying Richard’s work on the psychology of persuasion has underpinned Avvio’s commitment to personalised hotel e-commerce, so I rank that meeting as one of the most worthwhile I’ve had. 

Tell us a story about a past event where something truly memorable happened (funny or serious). 

I vividly remember the first hotel booking that transacted on our software us back in 2001. The hotel in question was the spectacular Dromoland Castle ( and I remember the shared sense of pride (and relief) discussing the impact of that first booking with the GM, Mark Nolan. I have endless gratitude to Mark and his team for their leap of fate in Avvio back then and for their ongoing confidence in Avvio to this day. 

Find me at WTM Africa: 

Topic: The Role of AI & personalization in growing direct guests 

Date: 12 April 2022, 11:30 – 12:15 

Stage: Travel Forward Theatre 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.