Event preview: The Great GM debate

With The Great GM Debate set to take place on September 27 2016 in Dubai, Hotelier Middle East gives you a sneak peek into what to expect from the conference this year

A panel discussion from last year’s GM Debate.
A panel discussion from last year’s GM Debate.

The Hotelier Middle East: Great GM Debate 2016 is set to take place on September 27, 2016 at the Conrad Dubai, and ahead of the event, here’s a brief of what to expect:

Panel discussions

The well-known panel discussions will return this year, with a focus on topics the advisory panel considered most important. The day will begin with a discussion on 2021 and beyond, and what our panellists think will happen after 2020. Another important discussion will be on MICE, and the potential of the Middle East to capitalise on this sector. Finally, the third panel discussion will focus on food and beverage, as hoteliers are competing in a tough market which has seen a regular stream of new restaurant openings.

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In conversation with…

Having received positive feedback about on-stage interviews with industry heavyweights, this year The Great GM Debate will host multiple “In Conversation With…” sessions, with hotelier celebs, if you will, on stage. These hospitality personalities will be interviewed live by ITP Business Hospitality Group senior editor Devina Divecha, with the floor also opening up for questions.

At the time of going to print, confirmed keynote speakers include Ròya International founder Ahmed Ramdan and Hilton Worldwide president Middle East & Africa Rudi Jagersbacher.


Snappy presentations on specific topics which affect the general managers of today will be hosted by the experts in the field. This year, Chris Hewett from TRI returns to give the general managers and corporate teams an update on the market data and forecast for the months ahead. In addition to this, The Great GM Debate 2016 has confirmed two presentations: one focused on how to manage and optimise revenue in today’s hospitality market, and a second on how to create personal engagement with guests and clients in a digital age. We will also offer an introduction to the new trade association for general managers: The International Association of Hotel General Managers.

Special panel

Hotelier Middle East will launch a new format at The Great GM Debate: a quick-fire trend forecasting panel. In this session, our panel of industry experts have just three minutes each to speak about the international hospitality trends they foresee hitting the region in the coming year and share their ideas on their longevity in an ever-changing hospitality landscape.

GM Debate 2016 speakers

Keynote speakers:

Rudi Jagersbacher, president Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide

Ahmed Ramdan, founder, Ròya International


Christopher Hewett, associate director, TRI Consulting

Mark Willis, area vice president for Middle East & Turkey, The Rezidor Hotel Group

David Prince, area vice president — Dubai & Northern Emirates, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation

Sam Ioannidis, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

Judith Cartwright, senior vice president global revenue management & distribution, Kerzner International

Stefan Breg, director of F&B Europe, Africa, Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

James Hewitson, GM, Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara

Kai Schukowski, GM, Kempinski Hotel Ajman

Dirk Haltenh,  resort executive chef, Madinat Jumeirah

Mark Patten, senior vice president — F&B, Atlantis the Palm

Leon Larkin, founder & president, International Association of Hotel General Managers

Martin Kubler, CEO, sps:affinity

Alexander Schneider, GM, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai

Darren Darwin, GM, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Bani Haddad, founder & managing director, Aleph Hospitality

Stefan Viard, GM, ME by Melia Dubai

Peter.Katusak-Huzsvar, general manager, W Dubai — Al Habtoor City

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