18 - 20 September 2017
Dubai World Trade Centre
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The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum

18 - 20 September 2017 - Dubai World Trade Centre

Free to everyone who attends The Hotel Show Dubai.


Why Attend?


A central new feature of this year’s Hotel Show, The Hospitality Leadership Forum is a series of spontaneous and forthright panel discussions on the key strategic opportunities and challenges shaping the regional sector at this time of accelerated expansion and change.

Each day will consist of a series of panel discussions addressing a specific issue of concern and featuring at least 3 senior industry experts on each panel.

Each panellist will have 5 minutes at the start of each discussion to introduce themselves and their basic position on the parent topic. The discussion will then open out amongst the whole panel, guided by an informed and independent moderator and conclude with questions from the audience.

The talks will take place within a purpose-built conference theatre in one of the main exhibition halls, and will be free to attend for all visitors to the event and are expected to be standing room-only, so we advise you to plan your visit and arrive early.




Ramzy Abdul-Majeed
Co-Founder & Managing Director
Whissle Hospitality Group (OKKU)


David Allan
Cluster General Manager
Radisson Blu Hotels Dubai Waterfront and Dubai Canal Views


Amit Arora
General Manager
Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah

Puneet Baijal
General Manager
Roda Al Bustan

Moses Barnabas
General Manager
XVA Art Hotel & Café


Ignace Bauwens
Regional VP - MEA
Wyndham Hotel Group


Karim Bizid
General Manager
The Oberoi Dubai


Richard Collins
General Manager
The Ritz-Carlton JBR

Andy Cuthbert
General Manager
Jumeirah Mina'a Salam


Paula de Keijzer
Senior Director of Marketing MEA Expedia


Pierre Delfau
General Manager
Southern Sun Abu Dhabi Hotel

Francis Desjardins
General Manager
Fairmont Ajman


Fabrice Ducry
General Manager
Sofitel Downtown

Sanne Emborg
General Manager
Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Autograph Collection

Graeme Erens
Genius Loci

Joey Ghazal
Owner & Founder
The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill

Pawel Guminski
General Manager
Premier Inn Dubai International Airport

Ammar Hilal
General Manager
Fairmont Dubai


Nicola Hochgruber
General Manager


Philip Jones
General Manager
Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach


Khamis Kazzaz
Owner's Representative
Al Hamad Group of Companies


Mark Lee
General Manager
Media One Hotel  


Deepak Manocha
General Manager
Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf


Vishal Mehra
General Manager
Hyatt Place Dubai/Al Rigga


Stephen Meredith
General Manager
Steigenberger Business Bay Dubai


Philippe Montaubin
General Manager
Ibis Al Barsha

Maliha Nishat
Director Of Interior Design
Marriott International

Andreas Plum
General Manager
Aloft Al Ain


Alexander Schneider
General Manager
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai


Russel Sharpe
COO - Hospitality Division
Landmark Group

Carlo Stragiotto
General Manager
Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre


Rohin Thampi
Regional Director, MEA

Maria Tullberg
General Manager
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek


Joost Vermeulen
Regional Manager Hotels

Laurent A Voivenel
SVP, Operations & Development for MEA & India
Swiss-Belhotel International


David Wilson
General Manager
The Waldorf Astoria Spa Dubai



Day 1: Monday 18th

12:20 - 12:30 Opening remarks from the Moderator.

12:30 - 13:10 Market Analysis

The Road to 2020 Forecasting the volume and structure of new rooms leading into 2020 and their impact on our current market structure, occupancy rates, pricing and profits


13:10 - 13:50 Building Genuine Brand Identity.

How the most distinctive operators identify, anticipate, embody and communicate the key values and programmes that attract and build loyalty amongst their target clientele.

13:50 - 14:30 F&B Strategy

Can a hotelier ever create as compelling an F&B proposition as a restauranteur? Calculating the most effective route to attract the right type of guests into your property.

14:30 - 15:10 Recruitment & Training

Engaged talent with initiative and personality is becoming increasingly vital, but much harder to source.

What routes are the smartest hospitality operators taking to find, train and retain great staff?

15:10 - 15:50 Sustainability

Announcing the latest developments in the government’s sustainability agenda and the practical, cost efficient steps that you should be taking to inform your preparations.

15:50 - 16:30 Leadership Career Paths

F&B, Rooms or Sales & Marketing? What are the theoretical strengths and weaknesses of different paths to becoming a modern GM, and how do they reflect changes in the modern industry?

16:30  Closing remarks from the Chair

Day 2: Tuesday 19th

12:20 - 12:30 Opening remarks from the Moderator.

12:30 - 13:10 Market Positioning

How relevant are traditional star ratings as a guide of attractive service and product offerings in today’s marketplace, and can existing properties realistically adapt their business models to address other sections of the market?

13:10 - 13:50 Senior Relationship Management

Successfully negotiating the delicate art of owner / management company / GM relationships: Lessons from the front line

13:50 - 14:30 The Mid-Market

Market disruption, market distortion or sustainable market correction? Re-examining the business case for the booming mid-market in Dubai and its ongoing effect on 4* & 5* operators.

14:30 - 15:10 Technology

Surveying the novel technologies and systems that are being successfully exploited to capture bookings, provide layered and sophisticated guest experiences, encourage social media approval and embed customer loyalty and referrals.

15:10 - 15:50 Women in Leadership

Bringing a feminine touch to the bottom line: How achieving better gender balance in hospitality leadership roles improves business outcomes.

15:50 - 16:30  Design & Layout

Understanding the psychological and behavioural influences of effective hotel design and layout on your guests, and the process, techniques and tricks that designers use to achieve them.

16:30  Closing remarks from the Chair

Day 3: Wednesday 20th September

12:20 - 12:30 Opening remarks from the Moderator.

12:30 - 13:10 Online Influencers

Embracing the age of the OTA: Understanding their forward strategy, business models and how savvy operators interpret and manage their influence on performance and profits.


13:10 - 13:50 Marketing to New Demographics

Is the perceived shift towards younger, tech-oriented millennials supported by evidence, and what can we learn from international operators who are already capturing this demographic?

13:50 - 14:30 The Changing Case for Outsourcing

Reassessing the case for outsourcing key hospitality services / functions in a tightening market: Can you really trim overheads whilst maintaining sufficient quality control?

14:30 - 15:10 VAT Scenario Planning

Clarifying key details of the imminent VAT laws: Timescales, structure and implementation.


15:10 - 15:50 Market Analysis: The Road Beyond 2020

A vision of the UAE hospitality landscape in 2021-2025

15:50  Closing remarks from the Moderator



*topic timings and order are subject to change


Emirates Culinary Guild
Sealed Air
Tagit RFID
Pastificio di Martino