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Revealed: GM Conference 2020 panelists

Hotel & Catering News Middle East’s GM Leaders Conference 2020 is set to take place on April 6, 2020 at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. To register, please click here. To view the full agenda, please click here.

The GM Leaders Conference 2020 is expected to attract more than 200 general managers and hospitality professionals from across the region to discuss the challenges, trends and opportunities.

Our panels of experts will discuss some of the most pressing topics, including changing industry dynamics amid the rise of mid-scale properties, women in leadership, redefining luxury and contemporary offerings, promoting hotels in light of new social media rules and more.

PANEL 1: Sustainable Hospitality: Is the industry keeping up with its CSR promises?
The provision of incredibly luxurious, lavish experiences can often be an indicator of little regard for the environment – however, the hospitality industry in the Middle East has proven otherwise.

With consistent ‘green’ global certifications and one initiative after the other, the region’s top chains have shown that prioritising sustainability is no longer an option – it’s a necessity in order to survive a highly competitive market, and maintain CSR promises.

  • Hind Al Hammadi, Head Of Hospitality at Manazil Group (Pullman Sharjah and Marjan Island Resort and Spa)
  • Werner Anzinger, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
  • Colin Baker, Regional Director, Park Regis Kris Kin
  • Sophie Blondel, General Manager, The H Dubai
  • Monther Darwish, Chairman and Co-founder, Palazzo Hospitality, Managing Director, Palazzo Versace Dubai
  • Jan Hanak, General Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
  • Omar Souab, General Manager, Sofitel Dubai Wafi

    Panelists will discuss: 
  • How hospitality’s sustainable initiatives have changed over time
  • The region’s top CSR initiatives of the decade
  • The battle against single-use plastic and harmful waste management practices
  • The long-term impact of environmental issues on tourism and travel

PANEL 2: Spoilt for Choice: Hotels, holiday homes, serviced apartments and the market

The Middle East and Africa regions continue to actively broaden their tourism and hospitality accommodation offerings to address increasingly diverse and more sophisticated traveller requirements, ranging from hotels and serviced apartments, to short-term rental accommodation options.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) has announced an administrative order outlining regulations for operators, homeowners and authorised tenants who wish to obtain a holiday home license.

  • Frank Bechemilh, Cluster General Manager, ibis Styles and Grand Mercure
  • David Debeule, Director Market Management, Middle East & Turkey, Expedia Group
  • William Harley-Fleming, Cluster General Manager, JA The Resort (JA Beach Hotel, JA Lake View Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court & The Residence at JA Palm Tree Court)
  • Vipin Khattar, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights Hotel & Residences
  • Kosta Kourotsidis, General Manager, Fairmont Ajman
  • Glenn Nobbs, General Manager, Millennium Place Barsha Heights
  • Fredrik Reinisch, Complex General Manager, Al Habtoor City

    Panellists will discuss:
  • Market dynamics with a look towards Expo 2020 and the rise of mid-market hotels
  • Supply and demand trends for different types of stays
  • The impact of holiday homes on the hospitality industry
  • Catering to millennials and their travel preferences across all property types

PANEL 3: Happier Guests: Improving guest experience in a competitive market

A hotel’s profitability directly correlates to guest experience and customer service, which starts long before a guest even arrives and doesn’t end when they leave. Excellent customer reviews are the pinnacle of success for any hotel, but what’s the one industry secret that guarantees optimal guest experiences every time?

Is the secret maintaining the flow of communication between team members? What about implementing different technology applications?

  • David Allan, Cluster General Manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Canal View, Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah
  • Victor Chalfoun, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria DIFC
  • Georges Farhat, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina
  • Luke James, General Manager, Zabeel House by Jumeirah The Greens
  • Lorenzo Maraviglia, Hotel Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre
  • Sabine Renner, Hotel Manager, Park Hyatt Dubai
  • Hany Samuel, General Manager, First Central Hotel Suites

    Panellists will discuss:
  • Making marketing mobile-first for a better guest experience
  • Easy booking and smooth check-ins
  • Personalising guest experiences to the fullest, in the room and outside
  • Diversifying F&B offerings to suit different guests and cater to their needs

*More panelists to be added

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