AHIC 2020 goes virtual as well as onsite

AHIC 2020 is ‘on the road’ for its 16th edition this year at the time to going to press. Taking place virtually and onsite over three days from September 29 to October 1, the three-day event is packed with critical insights from industry leaders and networking opportunities designed for a new world.

The programme, which features over 60 speakers, is broadcasting live from pop-up studios across Dubai. Each day, hosted in a new location with select live audiences, the event is streamed onto a virtual platform purposed for both onsite and virtual attendees. Safety protocols are strictly observed onsite, and the live component is subject to government regulations permitting.

Through the mobile and web applications, both sets of attendees are able to network and schedule meetings onsite or through one-to-one video calls, truly bringing everyone into the ‘same room’. Attendees will also be able to create personalised schedules, choosing content, outdoor experiences, and networking opportunities that they would like to attend either virtually or onsite in Dubai.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Founder of AHIC, says: “Now more than ever, the industry needs to gather and work together to ‘Transform Tomorrow’. We believe collaboration plays a key role in these challenging times, which is why AHIC on the Road is the perfect forum at which to connect with fellow industry leaders, exchange experiences and learnings, and most importantly, plan for the future.”

“Over three days in both live and virtual sessions, we will tackle the transformation of business into future-proof operations; a business able to succeed in the ‘new normal’ of 2020 and beyond, where travel restrictions, changed operating environments and a tighter hold over costs will put pressure on owners and operators alike,” adds Worsley.

The first day of AHIC 2020 is focused on investment and feature discussions with hotel owners as well as the Hotel Investment Outlook 2020 presented by JLL Hotels & Hospitality. The afternoon is focused on the ‘Future of Hotel F&B’ and is hosted by Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts from Pierchic, which is broadcasted around the globe.

Ahead of hosting AHIC 2020, José Silva, Chief Executive of Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, said: “The vision I had for Jumeirah when I joined as CEO three years ago, was to be a world class destination for outstanding culinary experiences and an incubator of creativity. The ambitious moves we have made to redefine our culinary positioning have been intrinsic to the reputational and commercial success we have achieved to date.

The second day, hosted by Accor at the Rixos Premium JBR, features a series of plenary sessions discussing the transformative forces at work in hospitality and how we can harness them. In the afternoon, the programme sees a series of break-out streams that look at how the industry is transforming through technology. This includes sessions on disruptive technologies, big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as well as a panel featuring CIOs from Accor, Kerzner, Marriott International, Amaala and Jumeirah Group to discuss how owners and operators have embraced technology during Covid-19.

Mark Willis, CEO Middle East & Africa for Accor, says: “We look forward to hosting the second day of AHIC 2020 at our wonderful Rixos Premium JBR property. The day promises to be filled with interesting discussions delving into the new reality of the hospitality industry, as well as look into ways in which hotel operators have, and continue to, transformed the way in which they operate, given the unforeseen circumstances we have experienced this year.”

Day three is the ‘Day of Transformation’ and uncovers how the industry is transforming to move forward. Hosted by Viya, Dubai’s lifestyle rewards app, and taking place at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, the morning programme features sessions on ‘Building Back Better’ and rethinking the hotel workforce. In the afternoon delegates have the opportunity to choose from a series of ‘AHIC Your Way’ break-out sessions, which features 45-minute roundtable discussions including the topics of innovation in design and building, Saudi Arabia, asset management, sustainability and learnings for the future.

In addition, ‘AHIC off the Record’ features a series of closed-door conversations around some of the key markets and development opportunities in the GCC. In these sessions, delegates have the opportunity to meet, pose questions and share knowledge with industry experts and fellow attendees. Topics include finance, the transformation of management agreements and owners off the record.