Mumbai: Hotelivate, a new-age, comprehensive hospitality consulting firm in the Asia-Pacific region, will host the 16th edition of its annual Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA) at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai from April 1-2. This two-day conference is dedicated to the region’s hospitality sector, with emphasis on the 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 fore subjects that are most relevant to the current hospitality landscape and attracting influencers, decision-makers, movers, shakers and the disruptors of the hospitality space under one roof.

Commenting on the 16th anniversary of HICSA, Manav Thadani, Founder Chairman of Hotelivate and Founder of HICSA said, “This year’s conference is particularly important coming on the heels of various global and regional destabilizing events, such as the trade war, possibility of a war in the Middle East, and the dreaded Coronavirus – needless to say, the hospitality industry is affected on many levels and HICSA will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to deliberate and ideate. The conference continues to scale greater heights, establishing itself as an unparalleled platform that stimulates exchange of ideas and best practices. We, in fact, have a series of first-time speakers this year, talking on a range of subjects that may not be directly related to hotels, but the industry can certainly benefit from them – this is what makes HICSA so special, innovative and fresh.”

Applauded for being proactively progressive, HICSA has an evolving agenda each year, and in 2020 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 interesting panel discussions.

Manav Thadani will open Day 1 of the conference with his address, ‘Manav Thadani Uncensored: What 25 Years of Hospitality Consulting Taught Me’. Manav, well known for his candour, is all set to rattle a few cages. Following this, Chris Nassetta, President & CEO, Hilton will be interviewed by Dan Lesser, President & CEO, LW Hospitality Advisors on ‘Celebrating 100 Years of Hospitality’. Close on the heels of this interview would be three keynote addresses ‘The Loneliness of Leadership’ by Keith Kefgen, CEO & MD, AETHOS Consulting Group; ‘The Hypocrisy of Hospitality’ by Gaurav Sinha, Founder & CEO, Insignia Worldwide; and ‘Change Management’ by Federico González, President & CEO, Radisson Hospitality AB.

The day would also see Ankur Gupta, MD, Real Estate India, Brookfield Asset Management, being interviewed in a ‘Fireside Chat: Closing the Deal of the Year’; Adeeb Ahamed, MD, Twenty14 Holdings having a conversation on ‘Buying The World’; and Puneet Chhatwal, MD & CEO, IHCL being interviewed by Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage. The session ‘Global Leaders’ Panel’ will see bigwigs like Dimitris Manikis, President & MD-EMEA, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts; Peter Fulton, Group President-EAME and South West Asia, Hyatt Hotel Corporation; and Radha Arora, President, Rosewood Hotel Group share their views on the regional hospitality landscape. Day 1 will draw to a close with the announcement of the winners of the ‘HICSA Hotels of the Year Awards – 2020’ presented by MakeMyTrip. 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 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, will have a fast-paced, content-rich agenda planned with an aim to offer something for everyone. The day will start with The Morning Trends: Kapil Kaul, CEO-India/ME, CAPA will speak on ‘Airline Trends – Traffic in South Asia’; Rohit Sachdev, MD, Soho Hospitality will talk about ‘F&B Trends’; Stefan Breg, Group Strategy Director, Keane Brands will share his thoughts on ‘The Great Hotel F&B Fightback vs Free Standing’; and finally, Matteo Thun, Founder, Matteo Thun and Partners will discuss ‘Design Trends’.

The other interesting sessions planned for the day are – ‘How the Market Views the Hotel Companies’, ‘The Business of Finer Things’, ‘Small, Traditional and Unique’ and ‘New Kids on the Block’ – to name a few. There will also be two presentations – Odisha State Government’s ‘The Best Kept Secret’ and Madhya Pradesh State Government’s ‘The Heart of Incredible India’. Lastly, keeping up with the tradition, HICSA will conclude with the hotter than ever ‘The Hot Seat: How Brands Need to Innovate?’. Upping the ante, this year’s session will feature a mix of owners and operators – all put under a microscope and on a microphone.

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