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Over 200 hospitality leaders attend key conference in Dubai

DUBAI, December 8, 2019

More than 200 hospitality industry leaders from across the region and further afield came together to share industry knowledge to support the advancement of the hospitality sector in the Middle East during the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) annual revenue optimisation conference (ROC 2019) event last week.

Held at the InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City, the ROC 2019 edition featured a mix of topics, discussions and best practices for approaching digital marketing and media investment, acquisition/development of new markets, understanding the power of data, and total hotel revenue management and strategy.  

The conference featured international and regional speakers and five insightful panel discussions on topics including ‘how hotels can effectively plan to acquire new feeder markets’ with subject thought leaders including, Hoor Alkhaja, associate vice president at Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, as well as experts from Accor and Rotana.

Bob Gilbert, CEO of HSMAI, emphasised the importance of the ROC event in the region. He said: “We are pleased to have the ROC here in Dubai for the second year in a row. The conference is critically important to the hotel industry because it brings together all the corporate thought leaders from sales, marketing, revenue management, distribution, hotel brands, and owner groups here in the region. The rapid growth of the hotel industry in this region has made it difficult for the demand of hotel rooms to catch up with supply. Regardless of if you are preparing for Expo 2020 in Dubai, when demand is high, or going through a low period, the revenue management function is critically important."

Chris Avery, regional vice president of sales at Cvent, took to the stage to discuss why hotels need to change the way they manage their groups and focus more on millennials, he said: “One of the key learnings from today was the growing cost of doing business and how fascinating it is if you do not manage your channels properly. We need to cost control and make sure reservations come from the most effective channels and we don’t give away commissions to third parties unnecessarily."

“Millennials are the new generation of planners and luxury to them is being able to make changes online without having to go back and forth with hotels.”

HSMAI provides practical tools, insights and cutting-edge expertise to enable knowledge sharing, enhance professional development, as well as increase sales, inspire marketing, digitally transform businesses and take the lead in revenue strategy. HSMAI is the global leading association for the hotel industry and the Middle East membership is growing rapidly.

Peter Storer, chief revenue officer of Avero, gave his thoughts on how the regional hotel industry can optimise revenue in the coming months, he said: “This region has a very unique opportunity, in that the market has been growing exponentially fast in the last five years… in this region the key to success in revenue optimising is primarily driven by taking advantage of Expo 2020, I think there is going to be a lot of demand coming into the market and having the right tools in place before Expo 2020 and using them will really allow people to take full advantage of that opportunity.

Mona Faraj, managing director at HSMAI, believe the digital marketing vertical at the conference was one of the key highlights, she said: “The digital marketing vertical exceeded all expectations in terms of the attendance of industry professionals, which proves that our region needs a hospitality-focused forum where marketing and communication topics are discussed. Marketing is a key element of a holistic revenue strategy that governs all commercial disciplines and we now plan to run the HSMAI Digital Marketing Conference next year alongside the ROC.”

HSMAI aims to grow the annual ROC events year-on-year and continues to bring the most exciting names in the industry together to share best practice.

The event was organised in partnership with key organisations including platinum partners; Avero, Cvent and Livingroom, and gold partners; Cendyn, Illusion, Seera, RateGain and Wego. - TradeArabia News Service




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