Why Johannesburg conference will help shape Africa’s tourist experience for years to come

In June this year, The Hospitality Leadership Forum brings together key personnel from across the world for a unique three-day conference focused on the future of the sector across Africa

Across Africa, hotel investment is soaring with international brands making the continent their key focus for growth. But what does this mean for the industry? The Hospitality Leadership Forum brings together top international speakers and experts to consider the future.

With hotel investment volumes across sub-Saharan Africa forecast to grow year on year between 10 and 20 percent in 2018 to about $500million (R6.07billion), the sector is undergoing a boom.

In June this year, The Hospitality Leadership Forum brings together key personnel from across the world for a unique three-day conference focused on the future of the sector across Africa. Each session carries a panel of up to ten industry experts giving a varied view on each topic.

“This year is set to see a transformation in the way the hospitality industry operates across Africa and everyone wants to understand the new developments and what they mean on the ground” said Christine Davidson, Vice President of dmg events (www.dmgeventsme.com) in Africa.

“There have been announcements almost weekly from international hotel brands looking to expand on the continent, who are investing millions of dollars, and governments are recognising the vital role tourism plays in their future economy.”

“The Hospitality Leadership Forum, offers the opportunity to discover what’s new and hear from some of the people driving the change.”

This year’s conference is part of The Hotel Show Africa (www.TheHotelShowAfrica.com) from June 24 to 26 at The Gallagher Conference Centre, Johannesburg.

The programme offers essential information and insight for all verticals in hospitality, from the changing role of the hotel general manager to empowering women in leadership, which opens the first day.

There are sessions on new data protection regulations and why investing in high tech security is the future, to discussions on why your marketing needs to be agile to adapt to a fast moving tourism landscape.

With technology spending in the hotel sector forecast to grow 7 per cent this year, the first session on Day 3 of the conference considers what the future will look like. Panelists include Adam Burt, Area IT director Africa & Indian Ocean for the Radisson Hotel Group and Gillian Saunders, Deputy CEO of Grant Thornton.

The conference will also look at ‘superbuilds’ and brands that are new to Africa. These large, mixed-use multiple-accommodation complexes – seen only in Dubai and the USA – are being constructed across the African continent and the conference offers the chance to hear first- hand from the people investing, planning and managing them.

Day 2 has a keynote session looking at why new hotels will look very different and how operators are more involved in the construction phase than ever before. You’ll also see why hotel lobbies are set to become the heart of the hotel. Panelists include Adriaan Davidson, Director, Savile Row; Graeme Erens, CEO & Executive Creative Director, Genius Loci Worldwide, Dubai; and Zinon Marinakos, MD Africa, DSA Architects International.

One of the highlights of Day 2 is a panel discussion that targets the most important role in a hotel: the changing role of the hotel general manager. No one has to understand the future of the industry so thoroughly.

This session – for GMs only – will examine the challenges today…and tomorrow. Panelists include Patrick Serakwane, GM, Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge; Luigi Rosi, GM, Happy Valley Hotel, Swaziland; Dale Simpson, Curator, Radisson Red Hotel, Cape Town; Brett Hoppe, GM, Sun Time Square, Sun International and Joep Schoof, GM of Spier Hotel & Leisure.

A major concern in the industry is security & compliance and the conference will look at mitigating the risks and explore the opportunities offered by the new digital economy. This session will give insights into the GDPR legislation, PCI compliance, security platforms and why investing in high-tech security is the future of smart hotels, speakers include Busisiwe Mathe, Director of Cyber Security & Privacy at PwC.

“We sincerely believe this is the main conference event for the hospitality industry and we are so pleased that so many senior people have agreed to be part of it,” said Davidson.

“This is not only about understanding the way hotels will operate in the future, it’s also about understanding the changing expectations of guests. We all know that free high-speed Wi-Fi is no longer the benefit it was five years ago, all guests expect it. We know that check-in times have to be fast and painless. But how is your hotel viewed from a sustainability perspective? Are you offering a unique experience? What do you offer that others don’t? Delegates will have the opportunity to consider all this and more at the Hospitality Leadership Forum.”

Learn more about The Hotel Show Africa 2017 and the Hospitality Leadership Forum at www.TheHotelShowAfrica.com

 APO

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