The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) has returned to Saudi Arabia this week, bringing together government leaders, hospitality investors, owners, and operators for the redesigned 2022 edition of the event at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel.
Under the theme Reimagined Horizons, the two-day conference programme at FHS Saudi Arabia addressed the future of hospitality, hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital in the Kingdom. With change and innovation as key drivers of the future, the ‘Lead the Change’ pitch competition was designed to celebrate the industry’s changemakers.
A special open mic session led by judges Tim Peck, Chairman OBM International, and Rohan Ranade, Associate Vice President Real Estate & Development for the Indian Hotels Development Company Limited (IHCL), saw nine finalists take the stage for three minutes to present how they are a change leader in the hospitality industry through their innovations, leadership, or sustainable practices.
Finalists covered a wide range of topics from changing the way hotel management agreements are done in the region, the importance of developing a culture of collaboration to drive growth and how the hospitality industry can be elevated by sensory experiences, to keeping food production and consumption as close as possible, and the opportunity to enrich the guest experience by combining physical and virtual reality experiences as part of a hotel’s service offering.
The judges, with the help of delegate votes in an open poll, named Sally Alkatat, Senior Manager Development Middle East & Africa at IHG Hotels & Resorts, the winner of the ‘Lead the Change’ competition at FHS Saudi Arabia.
“Change starts with setting an ambitious vision. To lead it, we have built a comprehensive journey of small yet innovative steps towards it by predicting investors and guests’ behaviours throughout. We manifested those future needs in launching new brands and adapting our hotels operations across Saudi and the region to align with KSA’s vision of sustainable tourism. Our journey focuses on implementing leading innovations with sustainable footprint and a zero-carbon emission target inspired by global successful practices in the hospitality and other industries,” Sally said in her pitch.
• Bani Haddad – Founder & CEO of Aleph Hospitality
• Sally Alkatat – Senior Manager Development Middle East & Africa at IHG Hotels & Resorts
• Sarah Jane Grant – Director at LXA
• Rahaf Alaish – Student at the Glion Institute of Higher Education
• Atul Chopra – Founder & CEO of Fresh On Table
• Abdullah Al Muslemani – CEO of Crown & Co
• Gauthier Guillaume – CEO & Creative Director at GG & Grace International
• Kristina Zanic – CEO at Kristina Zani Consultants
• Olivier Ponti – Vice President at ForwardKeys