Mumbai: Hotelivate, a new-age, comprehensive hospitality consulting firm in the Asia Pacific region, will host the 15th edition of its annual Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA) at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai on April 3 and 4. This two-day conference is dedicated to the region’s hospitality sector, with emphasis on showcasing potential growth and investment opportunities, while also addressing the major challenges faced by the industry at large.

HICSA maintains its core focus on a content-rich agenda, bringing to the fore subjects that are most relevant to the current hospitality scenario. The two-day event will see the influencers, decisions makers, movers and shakers and the disruptors of the hospitality space all gather under one roof.

Commenting on the 15th anniversary of HICSA, Manav Thadani, Founder Chairman of Hotelivate and Founder of HICSA said, “Over the last 15 years, the conference has consistently managed to scale greater heights, establishing itself as an unparalleled platform that stimulates exchange of ideas and best practices; fosters new partnerships and collaborations; and facilitates knowledge-sharing in the interest of the hospitality industry. We thank our loyal delegates, speakers, sponsors and supporters for their patronage.”

Applauded for being proactively progressive, HICSA has an evolving agenda each year, and in 2019 as well, the conference programme has been designed to ensure that all participants get the most from it. The event will constitute numerous interviews, keynote addresses and TED-style masterclasses.

Manav Thadani will open Day 1 of the conference with his address, ‘Manav Thadani Uncensored: Mine is Bigger than Yours’. Known for his candour, Manav is all set to rattle a few cages and shake-up the comfort zone of various industry players. Following this are two sessions dedicated to the evolving investment landscape of the hospitality industry in India and the alternate avenues for raising capital – ‘Need of Intelligent Capital in Hospitality’ and ‘Institutional Equity and the Hospitality Sector’. These sessions will see the participation of Khushru Jijina, Managing Director, Piramal Capital and Housing Finance; Pawan Swamy, Managing Partner – India, B|FIN; Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, OYO Hotels and Homes; and Bejul Somaia, Partner, Lightspeed India. The key highlight of the day, however, will be the interview with Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Trusts and the keynote address by Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels on ‘How to Build a Company’.

The conference will draw to a close on the first day with the ‘HICSA Lifetime Achievement Award’ being conferred upon Raymond Bickson for his outstanding contribution to the hospitality sector during his time as the Managing Director and CEO of IHCL from January 2003 to 2015. Moreover, the winners of the ‘HICSA Hotels of the Year Awards’ presented by MakeMyTrip will be announced. Recognising the most outstanding hotel developments in the previous year in South Asia across six categories – Best Luxury/Upper Upscale Hotel; Best Upscale Hotel; Best Upper Mid-Market Hotel; Best Mid-Market Hotel; Best Budget/Economy Hotel; and the newly introduced category, Best Conversion Hotel – the awards have grown from strength-to-strength, encompassing a wide range of accommodation products across the lodging industry.

From the trailblazers to the rule-breakers sharing their two cents, Day 2 of HICSA, has a fast-paced, content-rich agenda planned with an aim to offer something for everyone. Two brand new sessions will mark the beginning on the second day – The C-Suite PIT Stop and The Idea Factory. The C-suite PIT Stop will commence with a five-minute presentation by each panelist, namely, Alan Watts, President – Asia Pacific, Hilton; Craig Smith, President and Managing Director – Asia Pacific, Marriott International; and Katerina Giannouka, President – Asia Pacific, Radisson Hotel Group. This will be followed by a round of interview questions by facilitators Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels and Megha Tuli, Co-founder and Managing Partner – Revenue Management, Hotelivate. The session will conclude with an open 15-minute Town Hall where panellists will welcome questions from the audience.

The Idea Factory, on the other hand, will showcase industry experts sharing their views on the new innovative ideas that are taking shape in the hospitality space, such as tented accommodation, new forms of entertainment and co-working spaces, among others. Each panellist will be given 5 minutes, during which they will introduce their idea via either a TED-style talk or a presentation.
A few of the other interesting sessions planned for the day are – ‘What do Independent Owners Need and Want?’; ‘The Future of Franchising: What to Expect in the Years Ahead’ and ‘Can Hotel Leasing Show the Way?’ Also, for the first time ever, there is an entire section of the agenda dedicated to hotel architecture and design.

Titled, ‘Design by Confab: In Association with Jaquar Group’, the two-hour session will feature top architects, designers, sustainability specialists and project managers from across the region, speaking on the viability of new age hotel designs, customer experience and environment sustainability making business sense. Lastly, keeping up with the tradition, HICSA will conclude with the hotter than ever ‘The Hot Seat: Where Are We in the Industry Cycle?’ Upping the ante, this year’s session will feature a mix of industry stakeholders, from owners and developers to operators and an OTA – all put under the spotlight and on a microphone.

HICSA is also dedicated to providing its participants a collaborative atmosphere to network and conduct business with influential decision makers. To that effect, the HICSA Mobile App provides all conference-related information and an opportunity to network effectively via its tool – LIVE WIRE. In addition, networking opportunities will be provided during cocktails, dinner and lunch at the conference venue along with informal networking breaks during the event.

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