In Press Release

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Middle East (HSMAI ME) has wrapped up its 5th Annual ROC Commercial Strategy Conference, with 28 keynotes and 8-panel discussions covering a wide range of topics aimed at accelerating recovery in the hospitality industry.

The event took place on 28 & 29 November at the Conrad Dubai with over 275 attendees gathered to hear keynotes and panels exploring every aspect of hospitality, from sales, and marketing, to commercial and revenue management. This year’s conference also featured speakers and experts from outside the hospitality industry who contributed with a fresh perspective, bringing valuable insights and ideas to attendees.

H.E. Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketingsaid “With the world on the move again the successful hosting of this important industry event in Dubai further reinforces the city’s position as a leading international destination for events and is well aligned with the ambition of our visionary leadership to place Dubai on top of the world as a global economy and tourism hub. This event also showcased the strong sense of vibrancy and optimism that prevails in Dubai and allowed us to share with participants our experiences in successfully transforming challenges into opportunities and ultimately developing a viable blueprint for sustainable growth across all sectors including tourism. The delegates were able to hear about the updates and transformations taking place across the industry, exchange views and information on growth strategies, and renew their commitment to continue working together to further bolster this crucial sector. The presence of so many industry experts and professionals at this conference reflects the increase in business and travel confidence and adds to the continuing momentum across global tourism. We look forward to welcoming similar events in the future as we continually strive to achieve Dubai’s vision to become the most visited destination and the best city in the world to live and work in.”

The also event highlighted how the region has seized its unique position post-pandemic, as speakers focused on industry-relevant issues.

Key highlights of day one included a fireside chat with HE Issam Kazim, CEO at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), discussing the outlook of tourism to Dubai and what the destination needs to do to remain an attractive city for international markets. Anas Bukhash, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Bukhash Brothers, spoke about the importance of humanizing brands, and a panel discussion focused on loyalty and partnership took center stage.

Bob Gilbert, President and CEO of HSMAI said: “Since the pandemic, we have noticed a shift where professionals from all departments attend our conferences, especially those from the commercial sector. We’re seeing more and more sales executives attending marketing and revenue conferences, and more marketing executives attending sales and revenue conferences. HSMAI is breaking down silos between departments as Marketing, Sales, and Revenue Management colleagues seek to gain a better understanding of each other’s disciplines and come together to make the best business decisions.”

“This year there has been a significant increase in participation, and it’s encouraging to see how it’s gaining traction. With each passing year, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International gains more respect and value in the Middle East. When we started 5 years ago, we focused on the Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC), however today, all disciplines work towards optimizing revenue, so we’re inclined to a commercial strategy conference that shares a more holistic view. By offering industry professionals and partners leading education, best practices exchange, thought leadership, and networking opportunities, we plan to continue building this regional community” added, Mona Faraj, Managing Director of HSMAI Middle East.

A significant addition this year to ROC Middle East was the ROC Global tradition – ROC(ing) The Lightening Round where senior revenue and marketing executives from global hospitality brands shared their best practices, strategic insights, and big ideas for driving revenue and profit.

The ROC Star Awards were back this year in a brand-new format. Sales, marketing, and revenue initiatives were recognized by the audience themselves after being shortlisted by the advisory board.  The winners this year were Ayman Husain from Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC Hotel & Convention, and Alain Aboukhater from Al Bandar Rotana Dubai Creek. They were each gifted with 5000 USD worth of education at Cornell and HSMAI.

Day two featured a stunning lineup of speakers and panels some of which included, Mark Adams of VICE Media who took to the stage to discuss ‘3 Laws of cutting through’, while John Sanei, Futures Strategist & 5x Best Selling Author, shed some light on ‘What might it mean to be human in the future’ and ‘How can we add value in a world with ubiquitous access to free information’.

Jeff Strachan, Director, of Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) then summed up the fantastic two-day event in a 30-minute presentation for attendees to take home the very best of what HSMAI Middle East’s  5th Annual ROC Commercial Strategy had to offer.


Founded in the United States in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprised of nearly 5,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue. HSMAI operates regionally around the globe via regional boards of directors and staff. The organization is present in multiple regions: the AmericasAsia PacificEurope, and Middle East .

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