28 - 29 March, 2016
Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Conference Day One: Monday, 28 March 2016 (Hotel Business Day)

08:30 - 08:50 Registration, Refreshments And Networking

08:50 - 09:00 Opening Remarks by Chairman:

09:00 - 09:30 Keynote: Successful leadership qualities for the hospitality sector

  • Discussing ideal leaders in hospitality, especially in a multi cultural society so we get the best results
  • What does it mean to be a responsible business – how should we be mindful of the environment, of the community we operate in?
  • Are we conscious of the principles of UN Global Compact?
Roxana Jaffer, Chief Executive Officer at Splendid Hotel Group

Roxana Jaffer

Chief Executive Officer
Splendid Hotel Group

09:30 - 10:15 PANEL DISCUSSION: UAE growth comparison of the last 3 year and next 5 year, what is the impact and analysis and plan of action for Expo 2020?

  • Discussing megatrends that are transforming today’s businesses include shifts in global economic power, innovation in technology and demographic change
  • Where is the market today versus pre-recession?
  • Identifying the global economic landscape and its rapid changes; why hotels have to constantly adapt to these changes to remain successful in the market?
Bill Keffer, General Manager at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Bill Keffer

General Manager
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Andy Cuthbert, General Manager at Madinat Jumeirah

Andy Cuthbert

General Manager
Madinat Jumeirah

Vincent Mercurio, General Manager at The Address Dubai Mall

Vincent Mercurio

General Manager
The Address Dubai Mall

10:15 - 10:45 Sustainability - A burden or shared responsibility?

  • Exploring advanced trends, needs, role of regulatory and industry competitiveness
  • Discussing practical examples of it’s application in hotel / restaurant industry
  • Identifying how to be more sustainable without putting guest experience and confront on cost
Muhammad Ihsanullah, Director of EHS at Rotana Hotels

Muhammad Ihsanullah

Director of EHS
Rotana Hotels

  • Are you promoting wellness through your retail programs?
  • Wellness for your staff, for your guests and for your bottom line? Does your retail extend your brand, enhance your guest experience and boost incremental profit?
  • Understanding the concept of “Return on Wellness,” and examine opportunities for user engagement and the strength of promoting and marketing wellness to hotel guests and residential owners and tenants
Gopal Kumar, Director of Spa at Burj Al Arab

Gopal Kumar

Director of Spa
Burj Al Arab

Afrah Hamdy, Director of Spa at Anantara Dubai - the Palm Resort & Spa

Afrah Hamdy

Director of Spa
Anantara Dubai - the Palm Resort & Spa

Roberta Lindow, Spa Director at Mandara Spa, The H Hotel

Roberta Lindow

Spa Director
Mandara Spa, The H Hotel

Sharon Barcock, Director - Spa & Fitness Operations & Development at Hilton World Wide

Sharon Barcock

Director - Spa & Fitness Operations & Development
Hilton World Wide

11:30 - 12:00 Mid-Morning Networking Break

  • Discussing how to secure your valuable internal data and outward facing systems
  • What are the security implications of the shift to IP-based networks and the cloud?
  • Reviewing if you should outsource your IT security and what are the risks?
Hirone Amarasena, Director of IT & AV at Palazzo Versace Dubai

Hirone Amarasena

Director of IT & AV
Palazzo Versace Dubai

Fraidy Pinto

Area IT Director - Middle East & Sub Saharan Africa
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

12:45 - 13:15 Social Media & ROI - Making your Investment pay

  • Discussing social media marketing & ROI: Where are we in 2016?
  • Evaluating traditional vs digital & social marketing strategies - How to maximise your ROI
  • Highlighting innovative ways to get better returns from your social media marketing activities
Martin Kubler, CEO at Consultant, Writer, Speaker, Lecturer

Martin Kubler

Consultant, Writer, Speaker, Lecturer

13:15 - 14:00 PANEL DISCUSSION: Reviewing the latest self- service technologies for hotels to improve operational efficiency

  • Discussing benefits and pitfalls of guest room access controls
  • Highlighting evolution of guest room access control – self check in, using your phone as a kiosk, what next?
  • Improving productivity of staff and reducing cost through new self- service technologies
John P. Rees, Senior Director of Operations MENA at Marriott International

John P. Rees

Senior Director of Operations MENA
Marriott International

Steven Benson, Cluster Director of Operations at Jeddah Hilton

Steven Benson

Cluster Director of Operations
Jeddah Hilton


The following session will feature a series of interactive group discussions set in a roundtable format. There will be a maximum of 2 group leaders who will introduce a concept or case study to the participants followed by an interactive discussion and live feedback. The round table leaders will rotate every 20 minutes. Table leaders will rotate three times during this session.

Roundtable 1

14:05 - 14:40 PANEL DISCUSSION: Beyond Selfies: Are your customers the new marketing department?
  • Understanding how customer loyalty program that rewards customers who book regularly will benefit the hotel and customers
  • How to enhance mobile traffic and ensure a robust and seamless experience with content that can be shared on social media
  • Identifying ways to empower your audience with engaging content, including local attractions and activities, visuals and trending topics
Kezia Da Rocha, Director of Marketing at Holiday Inn Dubai

Kezia Da Rocha

Director of Marketing
Holiday Inn Dubai

Roundtable 2

14:05 - 14:40 PANEL DISCUSSION: What and how hotels and restaurants are going to benefit from Expo 2020
  • Discussing the post-event demand to avoid the risk of overcapacity; Dubai Expo 2020 is projected to attract 25 million visitors over a period of six months, with more than 70 percent of these coming from outside the UAE but what will happen after that?
  • Highlighting how hotels are planning to retain the staff as it will bring more career opportunities and more jobs
  • Evaluating mid-range hotels as a more lucrative investment as part of a mixed use development, rather than as stand-alone assets to avoid overcapacity
Danelle Palang, Director of Marketing and Communications at Dusit Thani Dubai

Danelle Palang

Director of Marketing and Communications
Dusit Thani Dubai

14:40 - 14:50 Chairman’s Closing Remarks

14:50 - 23:59 Networking Lunch