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HSMAI Middle East concludes 6th Annual ROC Commercial Strategy Conference,



The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Middle East successfully concluded its 6th Annual ROC Commercial Strategy Conference, the last of the Global, Commercial Strategy Conferences after London, Toronto, Singapore, India, and Korea.

The event’s theme was around Connect Evolve Lead. Connect: Phil Bedford, MSc, Asentiv Worldwide, shared an inspiring keynote on networking in the hotel industry. Evolve: Steven van Belleghem, a Customer Experience Enthusiast spoke about the story of evolution and the infusion of genuine Customer Culture. Lead: Michael Dominguez, Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) spoke about The Importance of Culture, Understanding the importance of humility and starting with building the right team members.

The HSMAI conference was a remarkable gathering of minds, highlighted by global keynote speakers whose insights were both relevant and thought-provoking.

The conference also featured engaging roundtable discussions that fostered dynamic exchanges of ideas providing attendees with key take-home messages on the latest trends and strategies in the industry, emphasizing innovation, customer engagement, and future-forward thinking.

The ROC Star Awards held during the second day of the conference, acknowledged three top talents nominated by their peers for their exemplary achievements and influence in the hospitality sector. Nine nominations were selected by the advisory boards from a total of 41 submissions. Outside of UAE, 50% of submissions this year were received from KSA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq making this a truly regional awards program acknowledging the efforts, innovation and performance of our on-property executives.

The 2023 ROC Star winners are Linda Mwaffak, Commercial Director, Conrad Dubai, Abhay Bishnoi, Director of Revenue Management at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Laurence Desirée Klett, Director of Marketing Communications & Sustainability, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara.

Each winner received a prestigious array of rewards, including a choice of one of the HSMAI certifications – Certified Hospitality Revenue Management Executive (CRME), Certified Hospitality Digital Marketer (CHDM), or Certified in Hospitality Business Acumen (CHBA). Additionally, the awardees were granted complimentary registration to an online course from Les Roches e-Academy, valued at €1000, and a merit-based 40% scholarship to Les Roches’ Executive MBA in Global Hospitality Management or Executive Master’s in International Hotel Management. The honorees also received two complimentary registrations to select HSMAI ME events and a complimentary one-year HSMAI membership for 2024.

Mona Faraj, Managing Director of HSMAI Middle East, added, “This year’s HSMAI conference brought global perspectives and diverse voices to our regional community with local insights, ensuring a rich and varied discourse. The diversity of our speakers, hailing from different corners of the world, has not only broadened our horizons but has also brought a wealth of knowledge and experience closer to home. Furthermore, the ROC Star awardees this year underscore the vibrant and dynamic nature of the hospitality industry in this region. These individuals exemplify the best of our profession, and their achievements are a beacon for others to aspire to be leaders of change.

The event was organized in partnership with key organizations including Dubai Economic Tourism, Atomize, Fornova, AlMosafer, FLYR for Hospitality, HoloConnects, IDeaS and 30+ other sponsors. As the hospitality sector in the Middle East region expands rapidly and evolves constantly, the conference offered timely insights to hotel professionals.



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