Invited Speakers

  Andrew Burgess
APAC & Middle East Director, TINT
 
For the last 7 years Andrew has been working with large digital agencies, specialising in conversation & viral marketing, Andrew helped brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations over social media, exclusively focusing on social media marketing for agencies clients

Two years ago, Andrew moved to TINT a global technology platform that collects, moderates and curates social content from across the world and displays it anywhere. Using TINT, organisations harness and filter the wealth of user generated content created about their brand and category every day and display it across websites, mobile apps, digital advertising, TV, digital billboards and jumbotrons.

TINT is trusted by over 45,000 brands worldwide, including NASDAQ, Google, CNN, Nike, Sony and Ford, who use the technology to create a social hub of fans, followers and conversations and turn it into a powerful tool for building their brand, engaging customers, and inspiring action.

Andrew Burgess
APAC & Middle East Director, TINT
View Profile

  Alana Witte
Founder, The Chief Guest Officer
 
Alana Witte founded The Chief Guest Officer to help hotels and restaurants develop a single "guest-centric" vision across all methods of customer contact in the guest journey, and realign all departments of the business to support this, in order to truly reinvent the guest experience, create more loyal (and profitable!) guests, and drive revenue.

Before establishing The CGO, Alana led the accelerated global growth of Revinate (the hospitality industry’s leading online reputation and guest satisfaction technology) in the Middle East & Africa, launching Revinate’s Dubai and Cape Town offices. Alana holds a master's degree in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas, and began her career in a communications and branding advisory role in the MEA market predominately in the hospitality, tourism, and development verticals. Given Alana’s involvement in both the hospitality industry and technology transfer, she is keen to engage MEA's hospitality stakeholders to explore how the region’s hotels can truly reinvent the guest experience.

Alana Witte
Founder, The Chief Guest Officer
View Profile

  Alex Lee
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Revenue, &
Distribution, Jumeirah Group
 

With more than 15 years of leadership experience Alex spent the early part of his career with Hyatt & Marriott International before joining Jumeirah Group in 2010.

Alex commenced his revenue management career with Hyatt, having previously worked in a number of hotel operational roles. While at Hyatt Alex gained value experience implementing a number of next generation reservations, revenue management and business intelligence systems.

Following this Alex joined Marriott in 2003 working across a number of multi property and regional revenue management roles. While with Marriott Alex dedicated a significant portion of time in a training and development capacity, delivering revenue management development programs.

In 2010 Alex moved to Dubai to join Jumeirah Group where he holds the role of Senior Vice President, Marketing, Revenue, & Distribution. In this commercial role Alex has been instrumental in guiding the commercial success of the group through a period of continuous growth.

Alex Lee
Senior Vice President, Marketing, Revenue,
& Distribution, Jumeirah Group
View Profile

  Alexander Suski
Founder, The Chief Guest Officer
 
Mr. Alexander Suski was appointed Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa in 2016. In his role, he oversees the commercial support for the current 29 hotels in the portfolio as well as 40 future openings and is responsible for driving the broader short and long-term marketing and sales strategies for the region.

Mr. Suski brings with him 15 years of marketing and sales experience, working with leading hotel groups in Europe and the Middle East. He joins from Kempinksi Hotels, where he held the role of Area Director of Sales and Marketing for their Egyptian and Bahrain properties before moving to the UAE as Director of Sales and Marketing at Kempinski Hotel Ajman and Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. During this time, he was responsible for creating and implementing sales and marketing strategies, driving marketshare, profit growth and the positioning of the hotels in the market. Prior to this, he gained valuable experience in Europe, working with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG), Sofitel Luxury Hotels (Accor), Crowne Plaza (IHG) and De Dikke Van Dale (Fletcher Hotels).

In his current role, Mr. Suski is tasked with coordinating the sales and marketing initiatives for the Group’s existing portfolio and new openings. In addition, his commended leadership skills and an impressive performance record, combined with a thorough understanding of the Middle East & Africa market will be instrumental in driving the Group's ambitious financial growth and expansion plans.

A Belgium national, Mr. Suski is fluent in Dutch, English and French and holds several industry qualifications.

Alexander Suski
Director of Sales and Marketing
Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East and Africa
View Profile

  Amer Al Halabi
General Manager, EMEA
HotelsCombined
 
Amer has a wealth of experience in tourism, e-commerce and business development, spending over 19 years working in the tourism world across e-commerce and market development for various international companies.

He has deep knowledge of the Middle East & North Africa and Europe markets, established presence and branches of international brands and companies in almost all cities in the region.

In 2013 he was appointed as General Manager for the EMEA region for HotelsCombined. In this role, he is responsible to manage existing relations and affiliates and to develop the direct business with key strategic partners. Amer holds an MBA in marketing and has great experience in all media mediums and marketing.

Amer Al Halabi
General Manager, EMEA
HotelsCombined
View Profile

  Daniel Weihrauch
Consulting Partner MEA
RAIN Group
 
Daniel Weihrauch is a Consulting Partner for the MEA region at RAIN Group which specializes in creating value for hospitality and tourism, consumer goods as well as professional services in the region.

Spending over a decade in various Sales, Business Development and Marketing roles across the region and having worked for leading hospitality groups such as Jumeirah, InterContinental Hotels Group and Kempinski, Daniel launched his own Sales Advisory Business HQ in Dubai two years ago and has successfully partnered with RAIN Group since 2016.

Daniel has successfully developed businesses from various geographies all over the world including the entire Middle East and Africa with focus on Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, CIS and Europe. His expertise in engaging buying centres within tourism and hospitality, MNC’s or family owned conglomerates across the region, blended with his solid network, access and industry expertise are highly valued by clients.

As a trainer, coach and consultant, Daniel has personally delivered engagements for firms like Dusit Thani, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Fairmont, Kempinski, EMAAR, Meraas, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Aramex, Nespresso, Richemont and others.

Daniel Weihrauch
Consulting Partner MEA
RAIN Group
View Profile

  Bilal Kabbani
Industry Head Travel, Google
 
Bilal leads the travel vertical at Google for the Middle East & North Africa region. He works closely with the region's leading airlines, hospitality groups and online travel agents and helps them grow their ecommerce revenues and brands by leveraging Google platforms and technology. Previously, Bilal worked in management consulting with Strategy& (Booz & Company) and in marketing communications with leading global marketing agencies. Bilal holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Bilal Kabbani
Industry Head Travel, Google
View Profile

  Guy Barnes
Director of Strategic
Accounts, IDeaS
 
Guy Barnes has been a contributing member of the IDeaS Revenue Solutions team for nearly 15 years. For the last five years, Guy has found his passion as the Director of Strategic Accounts, based out of the SAS UK headquarters.

Within this role, he is responsible for continuing and growing relationships with enterprise hotel groups within EMEA and key strategic accounts globally. Guy started his journey with IDeaS as solution trainer by passing on his knowledge of innovative revenue management solutions to IDeaS clients.

Prior to joining IDeaS, his experience included a volume of corporate revenue management positions, particularly with Forte Hotels and Macdonald hotels.

Guy Barnes
Director of Strategic
Accounts, IDeaS
View Profile

  Laurent A. Voivenel
Senior Vice President, Operations & Development for
Middle East, Africa & India Swiss-Belhotel International
 
Laurent A. Voivenel is the Senior Vice President, Operations & Development for Middle East, Africa & India for Swiss-Belhotel International, spearheading the group’s expansion in the region. He holds over 30 years of extensive international hotel and asset management experience with some of the world’s leading and most prestigious hospitality brands including Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Prior to joining Swiss-Belhotel, Laurent was the Chief Executive Officer of HMH – Hospitality Management Holding for over three and a half years and was the primary driving force behind repositioning HMH as the Middles East's largest and most credible operator in the dry segment while setting in motion aggressive expansion.

With a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Laurent has a proven track record in areas of corporate mergers and acquisitions, hotel development and investment, multi-brand operations, as well as outstanding management experience across Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Being based in the Middle East for the last 17 years,Laurent also has a deep understanding of the region's unique business dynamics and culture that has resulted in a solid network and close ties with hotel owners, developers and investors.

Laurent A. Voivenel
Senior Vice President, Operations & Development for Middle East
View Profile

  Niklas Schlappkohl
Senior Director
Travel Solutions - Global Client Solutions
 

Niklas Schlappkohl is the Senior Director, Travel and the in-house expert consultant for the Travel industry. His responsibilities include strategic localization consulting for clients as well as managing the Travel vertical internally.

Niklas joined Translations.com after 20 years in the global digital travel industry, having managed ecommerce and localization efforts at some of the leading hospitality brands including Starwood, Accor, NH Hotels and most recently Carlson Rezidor, where he was Senior Director, eCommerce.

Since 2015, he has also been Chairman of the HSMAI Digital Marketing Advisory Board.

A native from Germany, Niklas has a BA in Languages, and MA in International Relations and speaks 8 languages.

Niklas Schlappkohl
Senior Director,
Travel Solutions - Global Client Solutions
View Profile

  Patrick Andres
Managing Director, Asia-Pacific Rainmaker Asia-Pacific
 
Patrick is a seasoned industry expert with over 25 years of experience in the travel and hospitality technology industries, and has in-depth knowledge of the Asia-Pacific region where he spent almost 20 years working for global organizations based out of Hong Kong and Singapore. Prior to joining the Rainmaker group, he was the Singapore-based Executive Vice President Asia-Pacific for Duetto. He has also held senior management positions with Travelport, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, IATA, Expedia, Micros-Fidelio and SAP; primarily based in Canada and Asia. As Regional Managing Director with the Rainmaker Group, he leads all commercial operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Patrick is a key member of the senior management team responsible for driving revenue, securing new business and identifying key strategic opportunities to grow the company’s footprint across the Asia-Pacific. Patrick has an MBA in International Business from the University of Ottawa, and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from McGill University. He is currently based in Singapore.

Patrick Andres
Managing Director, Asia-Pacific Rainmaker Asia-Pacific
View Profile

  ROBERT A. GILBERT, CHME, CHBA
PRESIDENT & CEO, HSMAI
 
As President and CEO of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, has been guiding HSMAI through a dynamic and exciting period of change as the 7,000+ member organization has been re-established globally to grow the revenue for hotels through sales, marketing, and revenue optimization. During Gilbert’s tenure, HSMAI has achieved tremendous success with a number of initiatives ranging from the development of expert communities in the areas of Digital Marketing, Resort Marketing, and Revenue Management, the development of HSMAI University’s webinars and certification programs and the global expansion of HSMAI thru the formation of HSMAI Global and regional development in Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East. Gilbert holds a BS degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and has been a member of HSMAI since joining the student chapter at Cornell. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Cornell. Gilbert is a past chair of the Convention Industry Council (CIC), and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Travel and Tourism Coalition of the U.S. Travel Association. He also serves on a number of advisory boards of hospitality and hotel management schools.

Robert A. Gilbert
CHME, CHBA, President & CEO, HSMAIs
View Profile

Conference Sponsors

Gold sponsor

Silver sponsor

Bronze sponsor

Award Sponsors