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Leaders to discuss future of AI and data in hotels at ATM 2023

Leaders to discuss future of AI and data in hotels at ATM 2023

The future implications, and opportunities, of big data and artificial intelligence will be discussed at this year’s Arabian Travel Market. ATM 2023 will bring together four of the industry’s biggest names to debate the subject and provide those in the audience with invaluable insights.

What More Can Big Data Unlock? will see Chris Hartley, CEO, Global Hotel Alliance; Tommy Lai, CEO, GHM Hotels; Sandeep Walia, COO Middle East, Marriott; and Nicolas Huss, CEO, Hotelbeds on stage together.

The 30-minute conversation will be moderated by Paul Clifford, Hospitalty & Design Group group editor, ITP Media Group.

All the panellists
Chris Hartley

Since 2004, Hartley has been running Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), and since 2006, has led its growth, forging a unique collaborative alliance, which enables independent, privately-owned hotel brands to compete with the world’s largest hotel companies.


Today GHA represents a collection of 40 brands with over 800 hotels in 100 countries serving 24 million members.

The GHA DISCOVERY programme generated over $1.4 billion in revenue and more than six million room nights in 2022, after NH joined the alliance in June 2022, and GHA is now poised for further growth as travel continues its strong recovery in 2023, and independent brands benefit from the value of the shared loyalty platform.

Nicolas Huss

In charge of a leading hotel accommodation distributor; until July 2021, Huss was a non-executive independent board director to Amadeus IT Group, where he was also Chair of the Audit Committee. Since 2020, he has been an independent non-executive director for Entersekt, an innovator of customer-centric fintech solutions, and is the current Chair of a Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency company, Bitstamp, a role he has held since May 2021.

Speaking about his involvement in the panel, he said: “Data is key for the industry to provide a personalised service to customers but also for us to predict trends. Hotelbeds receives 4 billion searches every day, which provides a wealth of information from our partners and clients about what the end consumer is looking for from the travel industry. We’re also able to predict the next emerging destination trends such as the desire to explore indigenous trends, walk in the footsteps of the characters in our favourite TV shows or place more emphasis on well-being breaks.

“Data is the insights the whole travel ecosystem needs to know: it’s the key to unlocking consumer needs and offering a personal service. Using it in the right way also encourages customer loyalty and that’s what helps business thrive.”

Sandeep Walia

Walia is the chief operating officer for Marriott International in the Middle East. With over 25 years of international experience in the hotel industry, Walia is currently responsible for the operations of Marriott’s properties in the Middle East (including Egypt and Turkey) which features over 230 operational properties and more than 100 properties in its pipeline.

Walia explained: Arabian Travel Market provides us a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with regional and global customers, and we look forward to thanking them in person for their ongoing support and collaboration. The event also provides an important platform for the industry to learn from one another and discuss opportunities and challenges that impact us all. I look forward to joining colleagues from across the industry to discuss how we can better deliver memorable and personalised experiences for our guests to help drive loyalty.

Tommy Lai

Lai has served as the CEO of General Hotel Management Pte Ltd (GHM) since 2018.

Lai has been instrumental in GHM’s growth and expanding presence in the luxury hospitality industry. He has helped drive the brand’s successful operation of its Chedi properties in destinations around the world. Lai lead a group of consultants for GHM in the development of an ultra-luxury hotel brand in Saudi Arabia and was also at the forefront of the effort to transform historic places into stunning hotels.

He said: “ATM is a great platform for knowledge-building and for unlocking business potential through this meeting of the minds. I am delighted to join this panel discussion as it will shine a spotlight on how we can enhance the guest experience through a deeper understanding of big data.

“This sharing will offer useful insights into ways we can better realise tangible benefits from the adoption of advanced analytics, not only to harness big data for smarter revenue management but to also adapt quickly to changes in our ever-evolving hospitality landscape.”

The details
The panel takes place on May 1 from 13:30 – 14:15 on the Tech Stage.

ATM 2023 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner. The show forms an integral part of Arabian Travel Week, a 10-day-long festival of travel and tourism events.

To register as a visitor for ATM 2023, visit

Source: Hotelier Middle east