Duane Hepditch ran two successful internet startups before co-founding Guestfolio in 2008. His passions include travelling with his family, reading, running and the fine art of the cappuccino. Duane is on the Board of Tourism Whistler and Whistler.com and enjoys his time away with the family every summer on Hernando Island on the coast of British Columbia, Canada.
One of my favourite travel moments was July 2013 when my family was touring the islands of Croatia. On a whim we decided to take a boat ride to Biševo and enjoy the local beach. With only two unassuming ‘shacks’ on the beach to eat, we thought we’d be eating sand. It turned out to be the best tuna I’ve had in my life. The guy on my right is the owner/chef, he has about 4 teeth remaining in his smile but was full of personality.
Andrew has been creating with computers since the time before the Internet, gaining an appreciation of fine programming languages paired with good design. He lives in nearby Squamish, where his passions are balanced between keeping up with the fast-paced world of open-source web development and adventuring outdoors with the family.
We don’t let Andrew get out. Someone has to feed the hamsters that power our computer systems.
Melissa has been a visual artist/photographer since the early days. She built her portfolio by working with other emerging figures in film, music and sports. In addition to photography, her background includes PR and digital marketing for a wide range of travel and tourism clients – she’s a multi-task master! When she’s not glued to her computer, you’ll most likely find her shredding the mountain on her snowboard or hiking with her bff, #AviTheDog.
One of my most memorable travel adventures was in Thailand. On the last stretch of a month-long backpacking trip, we signed up for a semi-private sunset-sail and tour. Our destination: “The Beach”. You know? The beach where they filmed the popular movie “The Beach”?! Only, our captain docked on the opposite side of Maya Bay and informed us that in order to get to the Bay, we needed to jump into the water, climb a sketchy ladder up a jagged cliff, and walk down the “secret” path to reach the Bay. At the end of the path, we noticed dozens of tour boats and a mass of people (Not quite the “secret” serene “Beach” we expected), but after only 10 minutes, each and every boat departed, leaving only four of us on a stretch of paradise. Amazing.
John brings over two decades of resort sales management and sales training experience to Guestfolio and offers a vast array of customer service expertise in multiple hospitality segments. John is married with two children and Rosie the yellow lab who loves to join in everything they do from soccer to skiing.
The most amazing day was my wedding day on Treasure Island in Fiji. Spent the morning snorkeling the circumference of the entire island with my bride to be in the company of turtles, lobsters, tropical fish and more than 20 friends and family topped only by the sunset on the beach during the ceremony and a Blue Lagoon Cruise honeymoon through the Yasawa Islands. Can’t wait to go back with the kids!
Scott started his career at around 10 years of age, mashing spectrum keys to make a square worm game; Strangely, this sparked a varied career in IT, ranging from consulting, technician to development. Scott now enjoys working with Ruby on Rails with Guestfolio. When not looking confused at code, Scott is mountain biking, snowboarding or dog walking. Hailing from the UK, Scott has a passion for travel, and an appreciation for great hospitality.
“The best is yet to come”, but the most recent travel memory was that of driving the southern Californian coast along Route 101, on a whirlwind tour of SoCal. Great memories from walking the hills of San Francisco, to Monterey, SLO, Santa Barbara, and the nightlife of San Diego. We had such spectacular views, food, wine, and loved seeing the culture difference between cities in our short visits.
Born in the Philippines and raised in Toronto, Vic now calls Whistler his home. Prior to joining Guestfolio, he was a Producer in the advertising industry for 8 years. When not helping clients, he can be found somewhere on the mountains either snowboarding or riding his bike. An avid traveler, his lifelong dream is to set foot on every continent. And he’s got 3 more to go.
The one that stands out the most is my trip to Peru. I went on a hike on the Inka Trail and saw ancient ruins of cities and temples along the trail, with the magnificent Andes Mountain Range as our backdrop. At the end of our four-day hike, we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of Machu Picchu at sunrise. That night, we went out for dinner with our guide and he ordered for us a Peruvian delicacy called “cuy”. Which in English translates to guinea pig. Surprisingly, it tasted more like tuna rather than chicken.
With over 10 years experience in PR and marketing, Nicki brings a wealth of global marketing experience to Guestfolio, the hotel marketing platform. Since joining Guestfolio she has lead the marketing efforts through exponential global growth, re-brand and acquisition. Working closely with independent hoteliers, Nicola is continuing to position Guestfolio as a thought leader for hotel marketing professionals across the globe. Some of Nicki’s greatest passions outside the office are for the outdoors, exploring new places around the world and seeing as much wildlife as she possibly can in their natural habitat.
Has to be snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We took a catamaran out to a beautiful coral cay – Lady Musgrave Island – and swam all around the reef there. Saw turtles, parrot fish and a tonne of others as well as about 20 reef sharks whilst walking on the shore!! Truly an amazing experience.
Originally from Australia, Huw’s passion for travel and the outdoors has taken him to Asia, Europe, and North America. Most recently, after completing his Doctor of Business, Huw left the surf in Australia for the mountains, snow, and bike trails in Whistler. When not skiing, ski coaching, biking, hiking or camping, Huw can be found utilizing his research background.
Jack grew up and carried out his studies in the UK. During this time he worked for a number of digital marketing agencies as an account manager and also set up his own sound equipment hire company that he successfully spread through social media marketing. Following University Jack undertook some broad travel and working holiday experiences. He now lives full time in Whistler and loves spending time in the amazing scenery that BC has to offer, particularly through carrying out his passion of skiing. Jack also spends his spare time reading and producing content for various ski and music blogs.
Travelling on a three month solo trip around South America last summer had too many highlights to mention. However, the stand out memories include hiking through the Ecuadorian Amazon, relaxing on the amazing Caribbean beaches of Northern Colombia and meeting great friendly locals in the Colombian capital city of Bogota.
David has a background in Robotics and Information Engineering and has an eye for how computers see the world around around them, along with how they can help humans with understanding data. He enjoys travelling under his own steam, whether that be skiing when there is snow on the mountains, climbing when there isn’t, and cycling when tarmac is the only option available.
Taking a cycle tour north to south accross Europe using a novelty compass keyring as the primary method of navigation, we failed to realise the full implications of riding a bike fully loaded with camping gear over the Alps until it was much too late to back out. However, the speedy descent down to the warm Adriatic sea more than made up for the days of climbing through the rain.
Kevin is originally from Wales. He attended university in Tampa, Florida and has been building web services for over ten years. He lived in London, UK before he headed out to travel the world and ended up in Whistler BC. He is a keen snowboarder in winter and kayaker in summer.
Spending the summer of 2015 traveling through South East Asia visiting the temples of Borobudur at sunrise, attending the Singapore 50th anniversary celebrations and exploring northern Thailand.
Originally from Spain where she pursued her Business Degree studies, Laura lived in France for a International Student Exchange Program, before coming to Canada to experience a different culture. In her spare time she likes spending time with friends, staying active outside, and enjoying all the beautiful nature British Columbia has to offer.
Travelling the world was a dream that has started to become a reality. In the last few years I have being lucky enough to visit many different countries, experience new cultures, foods and meet many amazing people. On my most recent trip I visited Guatemala. Speaking Spanish I was able to get fully involved with how they live, learning from a local all about their fascinating Mayan history and how they continue some of their traditions today, such as with their colourful clothing, which represents who they are and which region they come from.
Sarah boasts over a decade of knowledge in the tourism and events industry, with a flair for customer service and building long lasting client relationships. Joining the Guestfolio team is herself and her two boisterous puppies who try to keep up with her on the bike trails of Whistler and running behind a snowmobile – or a set of skis’s.
Poking Magma with a big stick just outside of Antigua, Guatemala. Shoes melted, but it was well worth the sacrifice.
Paula is 100% Irish and has been working in the software industry since Y2K. Her career has allowed her to live in Dublin, Boston, London, Hong Kong and now BC. She enjoys seeing less discovered parts of the world through adventure racing and moved to Whistler for the legendery skiing and mountain biking. When her legs need a rest she loves how programming gives her brain a good workout!
We were exhausted after kayaking through the night on an expedition race in South Africa, fighting off the sleep monsters and desperate to get that stage over with when we paddled round a bend and were stunned to see the sun hovering directly over the horizon, filling our range of vision. It seemed close enough to reach out and touch and took everyone’s breath away, reminding us how lucky we were to be there. I was sorry I didn’t have my camera but the memory still hasn’t faded.
Jasmin is one of the few Canadians from Vancouver to join the Guestfolio team. Jasmin brings a multitude of experience focused on customer-facing roles within the IT industry. When not glued to the computer, this foodie enjoys the culinary scene paired with regional wines, travelling, interior design, and being in the outdoors.
One of my most memorable travel moments to this day was seeing fireflies and glow worms for the first time ever at Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. We were heading through the path and the rainforest that surrounds the base was illuminated by this glow all around. It was an amazing sight to see with the volcano rising above the glowing rainforest.
Kim hails from the sunny Okanagan area of British Columbia. After more than a decade working in the telecommunications card market, Kim made a shift into the hotel software industry 3 years ago and has brought her background in customer service and implementation to Guestfolio. In the off hours she can most often be found at the movies or planning her next trip.
It’s hard to pin down one moment from my travels, but checking Iceland off of my bucket list ranks pretty high. While visiting in October certainly made for a damp trip, it was worth it. Hiking down into the massive crack in the earth in Þingvellir National Park is guaranteed to make you feel small.
Originally from Vancouver Island, Sam now calls Whistler home. Joining Guestfolio with a decade of experience in IT infrastructure, consulting, web and software development, Sam manages our software delivery processes end to end from planning and scoping through to release and maintenance. Outside the office Sam can be found exploring the backcountry on his split-board, mountain biking or chilling at lakes with friends.
The first time I went to Mexico I discovered that there are places in the world where you can rent a jet ski for cash only without signing a waiver or getting any training or asking if I was sober or doing any paperwork of any kind. It was a ton of fun, but I couldn’t help but think that if something went wrong the tour operators could just deny any knowledge of me and claim it was stolen!
Born in Chile, Cristian travelled to Whistler for a work and travel vacation in late 2008 and never left. With experience in the hospitality industry and a background in advertising and marketing, Cristian, a geek at heart, joined Guestfolio as a Ruby on Rails developer to help build our vision of guest experience into reality. In the winter you can find him carving the mountains on his snowboard with a huge smile on his face, and in the summer you might spot him swimming across a lake.
In the heat of the moment, I booked a one month trip to Japan because it was too good of a deal to pass, ignoring the fact that my bank account was almost empty. With determination to make it work, ingenuity and the amazing hospitality of the locals made this travellers dream a reality. Hitchhiking and couch surfing from destination to the next and occasionally sleeping in “manga cafes”, I saw more sights and ate more local delicacies than I have in my own country!
With a background in sales and customer service, Felix has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for over eight years. Originally from Melbourne, Australia Felix moved to Whistler for the mountains and never left. When not assisting customers Felix enjoy’s mountain biking, snowboarding, split-boarding and planning his next travel adventure.
A travel memory that always sticks out in my mind was a surf trip to Nicaragua. Surfing in crystal clear warm waters with no one around except for a few sea turtles was pretty special!
Originally from North East France, Tanguy heralds his French roots with experience in the marketing, communications, graphic design and telecommunications background from around the globe. Before joining Guestfolio, Tanguy worked in France, Australia and South America and brings a wealth of experience from every region. He’s also very excited to be back in the mountains as he can pursue his passion for hiking, skiing and everything adventure-related!
It has to be going on a week long trip in a pirogue following the river to the heart of the Amazonian Rainforest with Amerindian people.
For nearly a decade, Brian has been working as a Silviculturist Grunt planting trees throughout British Columbia and Alberta. Desiring a change, he studied English, Forestry Resource Technologies, and creative writing, before finally entering the Computer Systems Technology program at Camosun College in Victoria where he learned how to bash keyboards in a semi-productive facade.
One day while drinking Yerba Mate, I decided I was quite fond of it so I looked up a flight to Argentina and left the following week. I arrived thoroughly unprepared with nowhere to stay and little to no knowledge of the language, so I did what any panicked fish out of water would do and walked up to the first English speaking person in the airport and shared a taxi with them to the nearest hostel. Fast forward two months and I’m hitchhiking down a “scenic” road, only to find that it was in fact not scenic, nor was it the road in question. With little water and high temperatures, myself and a friend from New Zealand hiked through a seemingly endless desert with only a small light on the horizon to show that there was a destination. Long story short, we found a bunch of construction workers having a party and they took us back to their home village and made sure we had a nice place to camp.
Originally from the UK, Richard’s passion for the mountains brought him to Whistler shortly after finishing his university studies in business economics. He has since spent the last 5 years working in the tourism and hospitality industry while enjoying a great work/life balance in beautiful BC. When out of the office, Richard can be found biking, skiing, climbing or more commonly, falling off waterfalls in his kayak.
The Grand Canyon of the Stikine is a world class test piece in the world of whitewater kayaking. For years, it had been a dream of mine to kayak this river and in the fall of 2016, myself along with 6 friends made the 24-hour drive north to the Sacred Headwaters. It took us 2 days to navigate the 72km section of whitewater, we had to carry our tents and food in our kayaks as we were surrounded by canyon walls as high as 1000ft the whole way. Truly an amazing experience with the best kayaking, scenery and wildlife (mountain goats are incredible!) I have ever seen.
Having a passion for traveling and airplanes, it was natural for Katarina to become an airline pilot. However, after starting her flight training, she quickly realized she would prefer flying recreationally. She stopped once she got her private license and went on to study code. It was quite the change in career path, but she was hooked after writing her first line. She moved to Whistler in 2015, searching for bigger mountains to ride, after having grown up on a small ski hill in Quebec that her grandfather built. Now you can find her jamming keys with the Guestfolio team, or racing down the mountain on anything that goes fast.
Having my mother living in Poland makes trips to Europe incredibly easy for me. Every time I visit, we will often drive down to one, or many, of the surrounding countries. My most memorable European road trip was when we drove down to Croatia. We decided to book the cheapest room we could find, not expecting much from it. We booked it very last minute, and with no pictures. It was a risky move, but when we showed up we couldn’t believe our eyes. Turned out the room was actually a villa, and it was directly on the beach, steps away from the clearest water I’ve ever seen. Someone definitely must have made a mistaken in booking our “room”, but we didn’t complain.