07:00 - 09:00
08:30 - 09:30
09:30 - 10:30
Looking at getting the most from your asset and your operator. This is an invitation only session
10:45 - 11:00
Jonathan Worsley Chairman – Bench Events
Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) now in its 15 year; the 10th annual Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) and the 3rd annual Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC). Bench Events entered the Latin America market in 2016 partnering with SAHIC on their South American and Latin Amerian events. Jonathan also branched out into aviation and F&B, through AviaDev inaugurated in 2016, and the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) now in its sixth year.
In 1997, Jonathan co-founded the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, he worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.
Until recently, Jonathan was a board director and founder of STR Global, a global benchmarking company with over 60,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap unused hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.
Jonathan sits on the Advisory Board for Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority and is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.
11:00 - 11:40
To be presented by Mark Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Accor Hotels Middle East & Africa
H.E. Helal S. K. Almarri, Director General at DTCM, in a one-on-one conversation with Richard Dean, Presenter at Dubai Eye Radio and Director of Roar Interior Design
Presentation of AHIC 2020 Lifetime Achievement award to Rudi Jagersbacher
Rudi Jagersbacher, Non-Executive Chairman, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Hilton
11:40 - 12:00
A review of key performance indicators and a look at the regional pipeline.
Robin Rossmann Managing Director – STR
Robin Rossmann is Managing Director of STR, leading its operations across the Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Central and South America regions. Robin is focused on continuing to improve the way STR provides the hotel industry with robust and insightful performance benchmarking that enables stakeholders to make better decisions. Prior to STR, Robin was a Senior Director in Deloitte’s Global Hospitality Advisory Team in London. During his 13 years with Deloitte, he advised leading hotel brands, operators, investors and lenders in most major global markets. His wide range of experience includes advising on hotel strategy, business planning, investment appraisal, market reviews, financial and commercial due diligence, IPOs, debt advisory, valuation, financial assurance, controls improvement and risk management.
12:00 - 12:30
How are owners coping with the current reality, preparing for the future and planning to navigate the new levels of ADR and RevPAR? How do they see their relationship with operators evolving? How are owners structuring their businesses to cope with the current environment?
Turab Saleem Head of Hospitality – Al Rajhi Investments
Head of Hospitality
Al Rajhi Investments
An accomplished and meticulous professional with 25 years of proven success record in various aspects of the Hospitality and Tourism industries including Hotel management, Asset Management, development and operations. A strategic thinker with a strong work ethic, clear direction and resourcefulness. His consulting experience includes over 78 major projects with a value of approximately USD 18.2 Billion. His consultancy role includes advisory to new developments, hotel groups, hotel owners, airlines and Tourism Authorities.
Turab holds a master’s degree in hospitality management with a major in Hotel development & 2nd Major in Asset Management from the New York University and bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management from Swiss University. He has also attended Cornell University school of Hotel Administration in Hospitality development, Financial management and Hospitality & Marketing related programs.
He has been working in various continents including Europe, North America, USA and the Middle East holding senior Hospitality advisory and management positions and worked for a number of years with well established hospitality development groups and hotel groups where he has been exposed to some of finest hospitality projects including flagship hotels i.e Miami, Dubai, Paris, Doha, Riyadh, London, Washington and New York city.
In conversation with
Khalifa Bin Braik Managing Director of Hotels – Majid Al Futtaim Properties
Khalifa Bin Braik
Managing Director of Hotels
Majid Al Futtaim Properties
Khalifa Bin Braik is the Managing Director of Hotels at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, leading the business unit’s growth strategy across the entire portfolio of existing assets and new developments. Mr. Bin Braik is responsible for portfolio performance and expansion in alignment with Majid Al Futtaim’s vision of developing integrated lifestyle destinations.
Mr. Bin Braik has over 15 years of Real Estate and Hospitality leadership experience in various organisations. Starting his career with Dubai Holding, he joined Majid Al Futtaim - Properties in 2014 from Sharjah Holding as a Director in the Shopping Malls Business Unit and soon after was appointed as Head of Asset Management for the Hotels Business Unit. In his last role, Khalifa was responsible for optimising the operating and financial performance of the entire portfolio of Majid Al Futtaim Hotels, as well as building robust relationships with our international hotel partners.
Mr. Bin Braik Holds a Masters in financial economics from Boston University and a B.Sc. in Economics from Northeastern University.
Kevork Deldelian Chief Executive Officer – Millennium Hotels & Resorts
Chief Executive Officer
Millennium Hotels & Resorts
A seasoned hospitality professional, with over three decades of Operational and Senior Leadership experience, Kevork was appointed as Chief Operating Officer for Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa in March 2017. He was promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa in August 2019 to continue his vision towards evolving the Millennium brand and lead it to reach new heights of success.
Under his strategic leadership, the company witnessed rapid growth with closer to doubling its portfolio since he took over, that resulted in leading the company to become one of the fastest-growing hotel management companies in the region.
He oversees the company’s divisions and its operations across the Middle East and Africa where Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa operates over 40 hotels with over 14000 keys and 35 hotels in the pipeline.
Kevork has a focused vision on ‘people development’ and has successfully launched a comprehensive four-tier national development programme centring the career advancement of fresh graduates, executives and leaders. Before joining Millennium Hotels & Resorts in the Middle East and Africa, Kevork held the position of Vice President Asset Management at Tetra Hospitality Investment LLC, the holding company for the Lakhraim Business Group’s hospitality sector where he overlooked the performance of the Tetra-owned hotels along with all future developments and acquisitions. He is also a member of the Bethlehem University Tourism Institute (BUTI), Board of Directors.
Alison Grinnell CEO – RAK Hospitality Holding LLC
RAK Hospitality Holding LLC
Alison has over 20 years of experience working with the hospitality industry; extensively travelled, she has worked in over 30 countries covering Europe, United States and Middle East/Africa.
Alison comes from a strong financial background, with a BSc in Economics and an ACA Chartered Accountancy Qualification. She started her career with Andersen in the UK and US, moving to PwC in 2001.
Alison moved to the Middle East from PwC in London to help establish and develop PwC’s Middle East Hospitality and Leisure practice into a leader in its field. Her roles were initially as Middle East Hotels Lead, and ultimately as the Middle East Real Estate, Hospitality and Leisure Leader.
Alison joined RAK Hospitality Holding as CFO overseeing the Finance and Treasury functions of the group as well the Finance & Business Support cluster whilst also supporting the advisory arm of the group, RAK Hospitality Asset Management LLC.
Alison was promoted to CEO effective 1st of August 2019.
Omar Issa Director of Strategy – Dur Hospitality
Director of Strategy
Omar Issa is the Director of Strategy at Dur Hospitality, a leading Saudi grown hospitality company. At present, he oversees the continuous articulation and execution of Dur’s expansion strategy within KSA, and directly manages key strategic initiatives.
Omar comes from a management consulting background, where prior to joining Dur he worked as a strategy consultant with a boutique consulting firm based in Jordan, and had served clients through various strategic engagements across the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on hospitality and real estate sectors.
Complimenting his multi-faceted skills of hotel operations management, Omar holds a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Jordan, and is a certified project manager by the Project Management Institute.
12:30 - 12:45
Nick van Marken Managing Director – van Marken Limited
Nick van Marken
van Marken Limited
Following a career in professional services spanning nearly 30 years, Nick is currently acting as senior adviser to several hospitality investors. Until recently he was Global Head of Hospitality Advisory Services with Deloitte, where he served as a partner for 20 years and was based in London and the Gulf. In this role, he served a wide spectrum of clients, including private family/HNWI’s; PE, SWF, institutional, RE; and corporates, and encompassing owners, investors, lenders and operators. The range of services provided included commercial strategy and development advice; M&A/transaction services; operational/profit improvement reviews; capital-raising/IPOs; assurance; tax advice and restructuring.
Nick spent the early part of his career in hotel operations in Africa and Europe, working with Holiday Inn, Sun International, Gleneagles and Meridien. He has subsequently consulted in over 80 countries and 250 markets. He is a sought-after speaker and was the organiser and chairman of the highly-regarded European Hotel Investment Conference (EHIC), in London. Nick served on the board of global industry data provider STR from 2011 to 2017, and is a member of the advisory board of Bench Events.
In a one-on-one with
Fettah Tamince Founder and Chairman – Rixos Hotels
Founder and Chairman
Mr. Fettah Tamince is a successful international businessman and one of the leading entrepreneurs in Turkey. His activities and investments extend to a wide range of industries including tourism, hotel management and investments, construction, real estate development and higher education. He is a risk taker and a problem solver with a mind toward bettering his surroundings.
Mr. Tamince focuses his business activities already in more than 10 countries, amongst them, primarily in Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, GCC and Middle East countries. He has founded numerous successful companies and joint ventures in these countries and built strategic relationships with presidents, prime ministers, and other important players.
In 2016, a new generation of life and entertainment destinations, which have a big pre-requisite for Turkish tourism, has brought a new breath to Turkish tourism by passing the project of The Land of Legends.
In March 2017 Rixos Hotels has decided for further expansion and growth globally to co-operate with a strong partner in the hospitality industry and announced its strategic partnership with AccorHotels.
12:45 - 13:00
Sumathi Ramanathan, Director – Market Strategy & Sales at Expo 2020, in conversation with Richard Dean, Presenter at Dubai Eye Radio and Director of Roar Interior Design.
13:00 - 13:30
Mark Willis Chief Executive Officer – Accor Hotels Middle East & Africa
Chief Executive Officer
Accor Hotels Middle East & Africa
Mark Willis holds an MBA in International Business from Oxford University in the United Kingdom and has completed a number of senior management programs at Cornell University, New York.
Previous to his appointment, he was the President for the Asia region with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, a very dynamic area with a robust expansion strategy to open 30 properties by 2020.
With a career spanning over 30 years with leading hospitality companies, including IHG and Sun International, a large portion of his professional life was spent with the Radisson Hotel Group (formerly Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group), where he held a number of senior leadership positions, including Senior Vice President Middle East, Africa & Turkey. It was in this role that Mark oversaw all brands within a portfolio of 85 hotels with over 80 hotels in the development pipeline.
Marks brings with him a wealth of operational experience alongside an intuitive knowledge of the Middle East and Africa, a region that he has worked in for over 14 years.
He joined the Group Executive Committee in September 2018, when the Group finalized the acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, and he is responsible for a portfolio of more than 430 hotels in operation and development.
In conversation with
H.E. Eng. Essa Al Hajj Al Maidoor Director General – Dubai Developments
H.E. Eng. Essa Al Hajj Al Maidoor
His Excellency Eng. Essa Al Hajj Al Maidoor is the Director General of Dubai Developments (formerly known as Dubai International Real Estate), the leading high-end and integrated real estate projects in the United Arab Emirates. Through his position, he plays a strategic role providing creative solutions, innovative products that fundamentally change the real estate landscape. His vision and creativity is an essential element for the growth of the real estate development sector in the country.
His Excellency obtained a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from Utah State University in the United States of America, and held a position of President of the Society of Engineers in United Arab Emirates until 2016. His Excellency Eng. Essa Hajj Al-Maidoor is also a member of Maktoum Charity.
Through his journey as Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, he has established a huge revolutionary development in the healthcare sector within the emirate. His diligent, dedicated work and ambitious vision played a major and prominent role in the opening of 3 hospitals and 40 healthcare centers in Dubai, strengthening and increase the collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Prior to his engagement with Dubai Health Authority, His Excellency held the position of Deputy Director General of Dubai Municipality, and the position of Assistant Director General for the Engineering and Planning Sector in Dubai Municipality.
His digital transformation strategy is set to enhance the customer journey and experience, accelerate a productive movement, change the concepts of traditional culture by introducing active leadership by empowering people and the community.
In recognition of his exceptional leadership, dedication and commitment to innovation and the development of the economic ecosystem of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, His Excellency Eng. Essa Al-Haj Al-Maidoor received an honorary doctorate award from Middlesex University in Dubai.
on what they see in the future for the hotel market.
13:30 - 14:00
Hala Matar Choufany President-Middle East, Africa and South Asia – HVS
Hala Matar Choufany
President-Middle East, Africa and South Asia
Hala Matar Choufany is the President for HVS Middle East, Africa & South Asia and Managing Partner of HVS Dubai.
Hala is an experienced Managing Partner and Hospitality Advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. Skilled in Contract Negotiation, Feasibility Studies, Development Recommendation, Valuation, Asset Management, and Strategic Advisory; she has advised on more than 2,500 hospitality and mixed-use projects in the last 15 years across Europe, MEA and Asia. Hala has in-depth expertise in regional hotel markets and a broad exposure to international markets and maintains excellent contacts with developers, owners, operators, investment institutions and government entities. Hala speaks frequently at investment coneferences on a range of topics including asset valuation, management issues and women leadership.
Hala completed Executive Education at Harvard Business School. She also holds an MBA in Finance and Strategy from IMHI (Essec- Cornell) University, Paris, France and a BA in Hospitality Management from Notre Dame University, Lebanon. Hala is fluent in English, French and Arabic.
Hala is a board member of Harvard Business School club of the GCC and is a mum of three. Born in Beirut, Hala lived and worked in a number of cities across Europe, Asia and Middle East.
In conversation with
Khalid Anib Chief Executive Officer – Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC
Chief Executive Officer
Abu Dhabi National Hotels PJSC
With more than 25 years in the hospitality industry, Khalid had the opportunity to manage various hotels under well-reputed international hotel chains in different countries.
Khalid has had exposure to different business models, resorts, city hotels and mix used development.
Before joining Abu Dhabi National Hotels, Khalid spent 5 years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was the Managing Director of Al Hokair Group, where he played a key role in the group’s successful IPO.
Prior to that, Khalid worked as General Manager for Accor & Banyan Tree.
Khalid a 54 yr old Finnish citizen of Moroccan origin, holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Strathclyde University, United Kingdom.
Bani Haddad Founder & Managing Director – Aleph Hospitality
Founder & Managing Director
Following a successful 25-year career in the hospitality business, Bani Haddad founded Aleph Hospitality in 2015 to provide hotel owners in the Middle East and Africa with a customised, results-driven alternative to traditional hotel management models.
A visionary leader, acclaimed speaker and widely respected hotelier, Bani successfully developed, launched and managed several major international hotel brands prior to making the bold move to set up Aleph Hospitality.
From site selection, fundraising and construction at Hospitality Management Services and pre- and post-opening operations at Starwood and Disneyland Resort Paris, to strategic growth and development as Regional Vice President Middle East & Africa for Wyndham Hotel Group, Bani has first-hand experience in virtually every aspect of hotel management.
Under Bani’s leadership, Aleph Hospitality has developed a portfolio of nine hotels in less than four years. Following successful growth in Africa, and the demand for alternative hotel management models rapidly gaining momentum, the company has now turned its focus to the Middle East.
Bani holds an MBA from IMHI, a joint programme established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and ESSEC. Originally from Lebanon, Bani has lived in the United Arab Emirates since 2005.
Christophe Landais Chief Executive Officer – Action Hotels Company
Chief Executive Officer
Action Hotels Company
Christophe Landais, MBA, born in 1955 in France, joined the Accor group in 2000 as Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer heading Accor in the Middle East.
Under his leadership, Accor Middle East embarked on a regional strategy to develop its hotel brands throughout the region. For over 16 years, Christophe spearheaded the development and overall operations of an extensive portfolio of Accor brands ranging from economy lodging to luxury properties in the Gulf region.
With over 35 years of experience in International hospitality management together with recognised business acumen, organisational skills and hotel specific asset management, operational and development expertise, Christophe has established Accor Middle East as one of the most respected and successful leading hospitality groups in the region.
Christophe is now Chief Executive Officer for Action Hotels Company (AHC) founded in 2005 by H.E. Sheikh Mubarak A. M. Al-Sabah with the vision to become a leading owner, developer, and manager of branded economy and midscale hotels in the Middle East and Australia. The success of each of AHC’s hotels is the result of the careful execution of a focused plan to develop high quality assets in locations which have the potential for capital growth, coupled with extensive local market knowledge and management expertise.
Christophe also serves as Non-Executive Director at Swiss Integrated Energy Technology AG; a start-up focussed on developing smart cooling products centred on energy efficient adiabatic based technology. Additionally, he supports as Non-Executive Director the Women’s Cardiovascular Healthcare Foundation which innovative project lead by Prof Claire MOUNIER-VEHIER encompasses 3 complementary and distinctive intertwined objectives covering medical researches, information & education, and prevention & treatment.
14:00 - 14:20
Embracing disruptive technologies
Cyrus Mewawalla, MA, FCA Head of Thematic Research – GlobalData Plc
Cyrus Mewawalla, MA, FCA
Head of Thematic Research
Cyrus Mewawalla is a highly respected equity analyst from the investment banking sector. He has studied the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector for the last 25 years. Cyrus leads the development of GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem, a single integrated platform for looking at all themes impacting all companies across all sectors. Cyrus is a regular commentator on tech themes on CNBC, Bloomberg and the BBC.
14:15 - 14:40
What (if anything!) is keeping development teams busy? What options are owners looking at?
Neil George – Independent advisor
With more than 25 years’ experience in hospitality management, Neil George is an independent advisor, strategic advisor to the Rosewood Hotel Group and a partner at Aleph Hospitality.
A distinguished hospitality professional, Neil is the ex head of development, MEA at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, overseeing the growth of all 10 Starwood brands across the Middle East and Africa. During his 10-year tenure with Starwood, he was also a member of the Global Development Leadership team and the Starwood EAME Portfolio Management Committee, responsible for more than 250 hotels. Prior to this, Neil was an advisor to major investors, financial institutions and other global hospitality players during his time with Deloitte and Arthur Andersen in London. He also has five years of hands-on hotel and restaurant operations experience.
Neil holds a Masters’ degree in hospitality from Cornell University, New York and has lived and worked on four continents and with well over 130 hotel markets worldwide.
In conversation with
Louis Abi Abboud Vice President, Development Middle-East & Lifestyle Lead Middle East & Africa – Accor
Louis Abi Abboud
Vice President, Development Middle-East & Lifestyle Lead Middle East & Africa
Louis is in charge of the growth of Accor’s portfolio in the Middle East covering UAE, KSA and Lebanon. Louis is also in charge of all lifestyle projects in the Middle East & Africa introducing newly acquired brands to the region.
Louis has diverse experience within the hospitality industry having served on the property owner side as well as the hotel operator side. He began his career in operations with Starwood Hotel and Resorts in California before moving back to the region to work in asset management for both Saudi Bin Ladin Group in Jeddah and Majid Al Futtaim in Dubai. Louis was also engaged with consultancy firm HVS as part of their Consulting and Valuations practice in Dubai.
Since November 2014, Louis joined the development team of Accor Middle East, where he contributed along with the team to record signing years.
Louis graduated from Sagesse University’s Faculty of Hospitality Management with an academic certification of École hôtelière de Lausanne with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. He also holds a certification in Real Estate Investment and Asset Management from Cornell University.
Matthew Tripolone Vice President Development – Middle East & Africa – InterContinental Hotels Group
Vice President Development – Middle East & Africa
InterContinental Hotels Group
Matthew has successfully led IHG's strategic growth and development across the Middle East & Africa region over the past three years, resulting in a period of unparalleled growth for the Group and the largest development pipeline in a decade, including the signings of the largest Crowne Plaza and voco hotels in world.
Prior to moving to the Middle East Matthew headed development for IHG in Australasia & Japan, which again saw a sharp upturn in IHG signings and openings and the renewal of several strategic portfolio’s for the group including the Mulpha portfolio, a collection of 3 iconic InterContinental hotels. Prior to his time with IHG Matthew held the role of General Manager, Development Pacific for Accor Hotels. Prior to this Matthew has worked for several leading companies specializing in development, planning, and acquisition.
Matthew holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Urban Planning and Development from the University of Sydney.
14:20 - 14:45
What can be done to prepare your business?
Richard Thompson Editorial Director – MEED
Richard Thompson is the Editorial Director of MEED. He is responsible for the content of MEED Magazine, MEED.com, MEED Projects & MEED Insights. A keen student of Middle East political and economic affairs, Richard regularly writes and contributes articles to the wider media, including Financial Times and the BBC. He is also a regular speaker on Middle East economy. Richard joined MEED as Managing Editor in February 2003. During his time at MEED, he has covered many areas of the Middle East economy including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. He was named MEED editor in April 2007 and become Editorial Director in February 2010. He has a Masters degree in International Relations, and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with Management Law. Prior to becoming a journalist he worked in the UK construction industry for Atkins and for Laing O’Rourke
In conversation with
Donald Bremner Managing Director – Stirling Hospitality Advisors
Stirling Hospitality Advisors
Donald is the Managing Director of Stirling Hospitality Advisors with 20 years of experience in asset management, development and hospitality advisory services, primarily within the Middle East.
Donald has held multiple roles across the industry including Hotel Manager, Asset Manager, Director of Development and Director of Rooms for Jumeirah Group and Operations Analyst, Revenue Manager, Director of Rooms and Director of Food and Beverage for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts.
Donald is the Industry Chair for the Hotel Asset Management Association and has a BSc from Aberdeen University.
Olivier Harnisch Head of Hospitality – Public Investment Fund
Head of Hospitality
Public Investment Fund
Olivier Harnisch is Head of Hospitality for the Public Investment Fund, based in Riyadh and responsible for the development of the Fund’s Hospitality investments. Prior to that Olivier held the position of CEO at Emaar Hospitality in Dubai from 2016 until 2019. He began in the hospitality industry in 1986 in Nice, France. His career to date includes 14 years at Hilton where he was Vice President for Northern and Central Europe and 4 years as COO of the Radisson Hotel Group in Brussels. Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages, he is also a passionate airplane pilot.
Jalil Mekouar Founder and CEO – inHovate Solutions
Founder and CEO
Jalil Mekouar is the Founder & CEO of inHovate (www.inHovate.com) – the hospitality industry’s first and only Intelligent Business Transformation System that empowers operators, owners/investors and their advisors/asset managers to realize transformative results & maximize asset value.
A visionary global leader and entrepreneur, Jalil Mekouar has 30 years of international investment, finance, operations and asset management leadership experience in hospitality, real estate, wellness, and technology. His career spans over 35 countries in 6 continents with the world’s largest hotel operators, investors, developers, advisors and asset managers, in senior roles such as CEO, President, COO, MD, etc.
In addition to excellence in hospitality and technology, Jalil Mekouar is also passionate about wellness and sustainability. He sits on various Advisory Boards including Delos - a New York based global wellness, real estate and technology pioneer - alongside Deepak Chopra, Leonardo DiCaprio and other inspiring celebrities and illustrious thought leaders who have a major influence on the sustainability and well-being of our planet and its inhabitants (https://delos.com/company/people).
As a respected thought leader and a trusted hospitality, real estate and wellness advisor to a variety of investors, developers and operators, he has developed a vast global network of relationships, successfully established partnerships, businesses and JVs internationally, and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences around the world.
In addition to his MBA from Cornell University and his various certifications in Artificial Intelligence for Business from MIT, Fund & Asset Management, Real Estate Finance, Board Director Certification for Public Listed Companies, etc., Jalil Mekouar is also a member of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and other reputed international professional associations.
14:40 - 15:10
How can this transformation serve to assist in diversification & risk management? What are the keys to successfully building it into new and existing projects? Who are the ideal collaborators who can ensure the future-proof security of your investment? Communities, online and in real life, transforming real estate to meet new community demands, while diversifying & managing risk.
Marloes Knippenberg Chief Executive Officer – Kerten Hospitality
Chief Executive Officer
The award-winning CEO of Kerten Hospitality, Marloes Knippenberg, has established the organization as a disruptive, dynamic international hospitality group dedicated to the management of mixed-use developments in key global destinations.
Her journey in the hospitality field started with Hilton where Marloes held senior operational and commercial management positions for over a decade. At the helm of Kerten Hospitality, which she developed and launched with the backing of Kerten, Ireland-based investment vehicle, Marloes has grown the organization’s operational and pipeline portfolio from one brand in one country to 12 aspirational lifestyle-driven concepts in 35+ development projects across 3 continents.
Known for her mentorship empowering the next generation of hoteliers, the topic of sustainability within the larger context of ecosystem’s build and the creation of “authentic” experiences in “’Cities of the Future” developments, Marloes continuously pioneers the role of innovation across the whole value chain of investors, owners, academia and the hospitality leadership. Empowerment of female hospitality leaders within WiH Group has been her latest commitment.
She sits on the Vice Chair role of GRI’s Hospitality Club connecting C-Suite real estate and Infrastructure leaders from around the world. In addition, Marloes serves on the Advisory Boards of flagship events like IHIDC – Vienna, AHIC - UAE, HITEC - Dubai, IHIF - Berlin and is frequently invited to contribute Though Leadership to industry forums: ITHIC - Italy, SHIC - Saudi Arabia, HOST – London and The Retail Summit, Dubai. She has been a mentor for students in hospitality schools and was recently on the jury panel of the GENIO Innovation Summit by Hotelschool The Hague.
Marloes has been listed in the Hotelier Middle East Power List 2019 ranking the region’s most influential industry professionals. Most recently, she was listed in Hotelier Middle East 25 'women in hospitality power list' is a result of those women who are making waves in the industry. She is the Winner of CEO Today’s 2020 Business Women of the Year recognition in hospitality.
In conversation with
Abdulsalam Alkuwaity CEO – SEA Ventures
Abdulsalam is a leading global entrepreneurship expert named as “Unstoppable Force of Nature” by Leaders Magazine. His mission in life focuses on unlocking human potential and investing in human potential.
He has been advising several educational institutions, private and governmental organizations in creating impactful initiatives that support entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs.
Additionally he works closely with community builders to create active and vibrant communities that improve quality of life.
In his work he applies Design Thinking, Innovation, and innovative ways to create change, seed the growth mindset, develop the right skillset, and equip the entrepreneurs with the right toolset to achieve their goals and succeed.
Lynn Chouman News Editor – LinkedIn
Lynn Chouman is an experienced journalist and media professional. She is currently a News Editor at LinkedIn, providing members with news and views that help them build future-proof careers and navigate a dynamic professional landscape. Lynn moderates panels with key decision makers and experts, discussing different business topics that include Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Development. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Lynn was a business news anchor at Al Arabiya News Channel. Lynn brings experience in economic policy and development, having previously worked at the World Bank office in Beirut. She obtained a degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut.
Amro Nahas Partner & Managing Director – Ritz Banc Group
Partner & Managing Director
Ritz Banc Group
Since January 2020 Mr. Nahas holds the position of Partner and Managing Director of RBG Holding. He is also an advisor and Investment Committee Member of the State Properties General Authority of Saudi Arabia as well as a board member of MASIC Logistics and Al Romaih Industrial Commercial Group.
From July 2012 until December 2019, Mr. Nahas headed the real estate investment division of Mohammed Al Subeaei Investment Company (MASIC) and manages the local and international real estate business of the MASIC. Mr. Nahas was also a member of the investment committee of MASIC and held Board positions in MASIC Logistics and Al Fhadli Company (a JV with Aramco), both subsidiaries of MASIC that he helped incubate.
Before joining MASIC, Mr. Nahas headed Shuaa Capital Saudi Arabia’s real estate division where he managed the real estate funds and the day to day operations of the real estate division. Mr. Nahas also acted as CEO for Al Oula International. In 2010 Mr. Nahas worked as the advisor of the BOD of Amer Group in Egypt and managed its IPO process and the eventual listing on the Cairo Stock Exchange. Mr. Nahas also worked as an expert advisor with Booz & Co (current Strategy &).
Mr. Nahas joined Al Oula International after holding the position of Investment Banking Director in charge of the Real Estate sector in the MENA region at HSBC Bank Middle East. During his tenure with HSBC, Mr. Nahas led the IPO of Drake & Scull and worked on many private placements and cross border transactions. Prior to HSBC, Mr. Nahas worked at the National Investor in Abu Dhabi, Bank Audi in Lebanon, and other leading institutions. His diverse experience extends to more than 25 years of consulting, corporate investment, and investment banking across Canada and the MENA region in the real estate, finance, industrial and manufacturing sectors. His portfolio of achievements includes leading many IPOs, most notably Tamweel and Kingdom Hotel and Investments, setting up real estate development and equity funds, structuring many debt transactions in conventional and Islamic finance, and successfully accomplishing many private placements and mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Nahas executed more than USD 2.5 Billions of transaction and Managed assets worth more then USD 1.5Billion.
A Lebanese/Canadian national, Mr. Nahas holds a Bachelor and a Master’s degree in engineering with a specialty in industrial management from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He also completed an executive education program at Stanford University in negotiation strategies and in finance at Harvard University.
14:45 - 15:15
How are they leveraging technology to create a COVID compliant offering? How are they boosting traveller confidence? How has it been utilised to increase efficiencies?
Floor Bleeker Chief Information Officer Middle East & Africa and Global Strategic Programs – Accor
Chief Information Officer Middle East & Africa and Global Strategic Programs
Floor was appointed Chief Information Officer MEA and Global Accor Strategic Programs in November 2018 when, after a prolonged period of substantial growth, Accor established a consolidated IT function in the region. Floor and his senior team are responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day delivery of IT services and solutions for all Accor brands in Africa and the Middle East, and for the technical integration of brands headquartered in the region. Floor is also responsible for global strategic IT programs for the Accor Group.
Prior to joining Accor, Floor was CIO for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts for five years. In this role, he was responsible for IT strategy, program development and implementation across the wider Mövenpick Group. Taking on the position during a period of substantial challenge, he successfully led the IT function through the changes required to update legacy systems to meet the demands of a rapidly developing hospitality market. This included steering the organization through the adoption of Cloud services, and establishing Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts as global pioneers in hospitality Cloud technology.
With nearly two decades of multinational experience in the luxury hospitality industry, Floor has a substantial background in IT strategy development and execution, business analysis and application development. He prioritizes team leadership and performance management as fundamental to delivering on the ambitious demands of the industry. He started his IT career in Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts in Belgium before moving to Dubai as Director of IT for The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. He then took up the position of VP Business Solutions for Jumeirah Group, a post he held for nine years.
Floor holds a Bachelors degree in Hotel Administration from Hotelschool, The Hague, the Netherlands and an MBA degree from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA.
Accor IT MEA is responsible for the day- to-day delivery of IT services and solutions for all Accor brands in Africa and the Middle East as well as for the integration of newly acquired brands. Its role is to create a consistent and positive impact on the business success of all Accor brands through the delivery of effective and innovative technology solutions. Accor IT MEA has six business priorities that support the global strategic direction during this period of transformation, with five areas of expertise – Customer Service Management, Digital Transformation, Brand Integration, New Developments and Shared Services.
In conversation with
Willem Both EVP Information Technology – Kerzner International
EVP Information Technology
Willem Both is Executive Vice President of IT for Kerzner International, based in their Global headquarters in Dubai. Willem is responsible for all IT aspects for the company.
Willem Both is a life-long hospitality professional who started off washing dishes in a Dutch pancake restaurant at the age of 13 to get a feel for the industry, and then never left it. After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Hotel Administration from Hotelschool, The Hague, the Netherlands, Willem settled living in the USA in 1995 moving from Marriott to Dusit to Hilton and then Sheraton ITT/Starwood. He slowly switched from running Front Office operations to Information Technology, then evolving from hotel IT to corporate IT project management, moving to Singapore in 2008 where he was promoted several times to eventually take on the position as Vice President of IT for Starwood Asia Pacific, covering hotels from China to Australia, India to Samoa. Following the Marriott merger in 2016, Willem left Starwood after 19 years and he and his family moved to Dubai to take on his current position as EVP and Global head of IT for Kerzner International.
When not absorbed by work, Willem stays somewhat in shape by running but much prefers playing quarter-field football with his friends, building treehouses and pizza ovens or cooking messy but tasty breakfasts with his two young kids for his Argentinean wife.
Waleid Ibrahim Vice President, Global Information Technology - Middle East & Africa – Marriott International
Vice President, Global Information Technology - Middle East & Africa
A leader in Information Technology with extensive hospitality industry experience that spans across Europe, Middle East and Africa and ranging from luxury to the select service segments. Able to leverage 25+ years of hospitality technology and infrastructure expertise to drive business objectives and internal & external customer satisfaction results. Strong experience in management at the global and enterprise levels with the ability to provide strategic and tactical direction and support to executive and IT senior leadership. Expertise in IT strategy development, identification and adoption of new technology solutions for evolving business needs, and strong IT organization design skills. Strong experience in hotel group acquisitions and IT integrations, overseeing new build hotel infrastructure design & deployment, preparation and management of corporate administrative budgets, IT security & risk management, and technology life cycle management. Excellent interpersonal skills; able to communicate and collaborate effectively with individuals at all levels of the organization.
Responsible for formulating the strategic direction, implementation, and management of all technology solutions and support for 300 operating and pipeline hotels across MEA; represented by 45,000 rooms and 280 above and on-property IT associates. Oversight of the continent’s information technology infrastructure including on-property operations, security & compliance, shared service centers, customer facing technologies, new opening development, and above property office support. Member of Marriott International’s Information Technology Senior Leadership team that guides the company’s global IT strategy, initiatives, brand standards, and regulatory and compliance efforts.
Waleid holds over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He started his career with Marriott International in 1997 as Director of Hotel Technology for The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, before taking on the role of Area Systems Manager for The Ritz-Carlton portfolio across the Middle East.
Sanjay Sharma Head of Information Technology – Jumeirah Group
Head of Information Technology
Sanjay is the Head of IT for Jumeirah Group with experience and passion for driving business transformation, change and outcomes with innovation and technology. He brings over 20 years of experience gained within Emirates Airline where he held a variety of positions across the Information Technology environment. He has a very extensive experience in leading broader Digital Transformative initiatives encompassing a wealth of innovation to both the customer journey as well as the organizational infrastructure.
15:30 - 16:30
Now more than ever, innovation and tech startup solutions are a business imperative for hotels. Join us to listen in to some of the latest tech trends and hear from exceptional startup founders and disruptors that are bringing real value and innovation to hotels locally and internationally.
Lio Chen Managing Director Travel & Hospitality (Silicon Valley) – Plug and Play
Managing Director Travel & Hospitality (Silicon Valley)
Plug and Play
Lio Chen is Managing Director of the Travel and Hospitality Center of Innovation at Plug and Play. Based in Silicon Valley, Chen is responsible for managing and growing the overall travel ecosystem for Plug and Play, connecting emerging tech startups with established travel and hospitality corporations.
In the past 10+ years, Chen devoted his career to B2B SaaS companies in the hospitality industry. He joined Nor1 as one of the founding members and later co-founded LodgIQ. Chen’s extensive experience entails leading customer success and growth, delivering sales support & professional services as well as overseeing business operations with a special focus on strategic initiatives and product engineering. Chen holds a M.S. in Hospitality Management from Purdue University.
Startup Innovation Showcase:
Roy Azzi CEO – HYBRID Installations/HYPERVSN
A certified event producer at TISOH Las Vegas with accomplished trainings at MGM Grand and Caesars Palace
Has been attending CES for the past 5 years seeking and adopting new innovations and modern tools to increasing consumer's attention and transforming the guest experience in retails, physical and virtual events
Antonio Bustamente CEO and Founder – Chekin
CEO and Founder
David Phillips Co-founder and President – Jurny
Co-founder and President
David Phillips is the co-founder and President of Jurny, a hospitality tech company offering SaaS-based management solutions designed to accommodate the evolving needs and expectations of the modern traveler. David has over 10 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. In his early 20s, he was responsible for building global brands that amassed tens of millions in sales and entered negotiations for major entertainment production deals. David has been responsible for over $75 million in licensed consumer product sales over the course of his career.David co-founded GuestWiser, now Jurny, with Luca Zambello in 2017. The duo bootstrapped the company prior to raising more than $4.9M in funding to build technology and develop a complex infrastructure designed to remotely operate thousands of professionally run short-term units with minimal staff. The company now operates in five markets managing the highest reviewed and revenue-generating units in the industry year-over-year.
Scott Long Director – Go Moment
Mohamed Nassar COO & Co-Founder – FunDok
COO & Co-Founder
Mohamed is a serial entrepreneur who has previously founded an award-winning company recognized consistently as a top 100SME and top innovator by Dubai government. His passion for entrepreneurship and hospitality has seen him jump at the chance to join the founding team at Fundok.
Mohamed has worked on some of the region’s highest profile infrastructure, real estate and construction projects. He led his business to numerous industry awards and became involved with the region’s highest reputed entrepreneurship and SME development initiatives and programs. As a business advisor and mentor, he has worked with companies operating across a wide industry spectrum, from online retail and F&B to construction products and building technologies.
With an MBA from the London Business School and an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from the American University in Cairo alongside several professional certifications such the sustainability centric LEED AP and quality management, Mohamed’s foundations in technical knowledge coupled with a strong industry background and a far-reaching network are unparalleled.