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In 2017 hundreds of hospitality professionals attended the conference with very positive feedback.  This year the conference is even bigger and better.

Created in full consultation with our Advisory Board of leading industry experts, the programme this year is one of the most comprehensive ever seen for the industry.  Subjects address key issues, challenges and market developments locally, regionally and internationally and meets the needs of all hotel professionals from smaller independently owned to large international branded establishments.

Each day is packed with information and consists of in depth discussions and debates, allowing for delegates Q&A either publically in the main session or directly after in a private one to one with the speaker.

Each session contains up to 10 expert speakers with differing views and experiences, ensuring delegates get a full 360 range of insights and ideas and take away the most value.  In short, there is a view covering every possible angle, but if you don’t hear what you want – you can ask questions too.

Last year the conference booked up fast so please BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT



If you would like to join other industry leaders on this exciting and informative platform please contact Fran Lupton on +27 (0) 11 783 7250 or email















Conference Day 1



11:10 – 11:30

Welcome address 
Minister of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa 
Honourable Tokozile Xasa

11:30 – 12:15

African hospitality: what does the future hold?
Future trends and the outlook. 
Expert panel looks at the opportunities and changes across all sectors of the southern African hospitality industry, from the smallest guest house through to the big hotel conglomerates. 
Sisa Ntshona, chief executive officer, South African Tourism 
Gillian Saunders, deputy chief executive officer & head of advisory, Grant Thornton 
Maryke Dreyer, business development manager, STR Global 

Danielle le Clus-Rossouw, research analyst, Euromonitor International

12:30 – 13:15

Third-party hotel management – unlocking the potential of the African market 
Africa needs more hotels. And while the pipeline is growing ~30% YoY, this pace of growth is comparatively modest. With a choice of just two operational models (owner operator/direct management), investors, particularly those looking to enter hospitality for the first time, currently face significant barriers to entry. The proven answer is third-party management (accounting for 260,000+ US hotel rooms), which brings franchising into play as a serious, and rapidly scalable, alternative. Working with an experienced third-party operator, investors gain access to brands that wouldn’t have been franchised to them directly, and free themselves from needing to manage their assets themselves. 
Martin Kubler, ceo, sps:Affinity & chairman of the Vision Conference
In conversation with: 
Bani Haddad, founder & managing director, Aleph Hospitality, Dubai 

13:15 – 13:45

An owners perspective of how to succeed in South Africa’s top tourist destinations 
An owner of five 5* properties reveals how they have succeeded in highly competitive tourist destinations where hotel inventory is at a surplus. Prudence shares insight into how to engage and attract guests, differentiating her establishments from many.
Prudence Sibuyi, managing director, 
AM Investment

14:00 – 14:30

South Africa’s revised hotel classifications and what they mean to you
Tourism Grading Council of South Africa has released its new classifications, discover what the changes mean to your establishment.
Thekiso Rakolojane, marketing & communications manager, Tourism Grading Council

14:30 – 14:50

Harmonisation of tourism grading and classification standards in the SADC region 
Following the recent restructuring, the harmonized grading and classification standard for the region, adopted by the member states, will commence with the implementation phase. The participation and involvement of the private sector in the region is critical to its success.
Thembi Kunene-Msimang, executive: marketing & communications, Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA) 

15:00 – 15:45

Architecture & design: Why tomorrow’s 3 star will look like a 4 star 
A changing market means a dramatic change in the way hotels are designed to incorporate the flexibility to meet the needs of all types of guest. This session presents case studies offering an insight into some of the new hotels already in operation and we discuss the operators taking a fresh look at the buildings of tomorrow. 

  • Why there will be 3* hotels that are specified and designed to feel like a 4 or 5*
  • Whole complexes under one operator that offer a variety of guest accommodation from self-catering to five-star luxury.
  • Discover the plans for mixed-use properties that may include office space and shopping as well as residential, hotel apartments and the full hotel experience.

Gabriel Hugo, interior designer, LYT Architecture
Gray Todd, architectural director, LYT Architecture 

Philippa Frowein, architect, LYT Architecture

16:00 – 16:45

Why exciting design is going mainstream
Unique interiors are no longer the preserve of boutique hotels as big operators recognise they must adapt to thrive. Discover the future décor and interior design ideas aimed to attract and keep guests in 2020. 

  • Discover why some big chains are shedding their corporate brand image and taking the best from trend-setting younger brands
  • Why the new focus is ‘social experience’ for their guests
  • Why younger guests have different expectations and how do you satisfy that
  • What does this mean for suppliers?

Nathalie van der Merwe, interior designer, Darley Interior Architectural Design (DIAD)
Nicole van Douwe, interior designer, Darley Interior Architectural Design (DIAD)
Adrian Davidson, director, Savile Row

Conference Day 2

26 JUNE 2017


11:00 – 12:00

Why second tier city development is one of the top expansion opportunities 
Development in secondary cities has been successful in other parts of the world and now Africa is grabbing a slice of the action. Second tier hospitality development offers an extension of a brand’s existing market. But it is important to get the launch right. Discover the advantages of new territories and hear some of the success stories. 
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa 
, chief executive officer, FEDHASA 
Philippe Baretaud , SVP head of development, Africa & Indian Ocean, Accor Hotels
Kamil Abdul Karrim, managing director, Pam Golding Tourism & Hospitality Consulting

12:15 – 12:45

The accommodation market is changing. Are you prepared? 
The way people choose to stay away from home has undergone a revolution in the past decade as the internet has put traditional accommodation models under pressure, we look at the future of alternative lodging and its impact on the market. The rise of AirBnB and Hotel Apartments – how traditional vs new hotel options can co-exist and prosper. 
Rosemarie van Staden, chairperson, National Accomodation of South Africa (NAA) 

13:00 – 13:45

How to differentiate from your competitors
Africa’s forecast hotel growth is good for the country’s economy, from job creation to boosting foreign income. But more hotel rooms means a more competitive environment for operators big and small. So, how can hoteliers differentiate themselves? 
Panelists talk about competition and reveal some of the new ideas that are attracting guests. 

Andrew McLachlan, SVP business development Africa & Indian Ocean, Carlson Rezidor Group 
Alexis Janoray, vice president development, sub-saharan Africa, Accor Hotels 
Geri Wessels, director development, sub-saharan Africa, Hilton

Neil Bald, chief executive officer, AHA Hotel & Lodges 

14:00 – 14:45

The new technology that will change the way you do business 
Some hotels have embraced cutting-edge technology, while a few still believe having guest wi-fi is the height of modern hospitality. But where is the market today in terms of technology and what’s next for the hospitality sector? This session will look at the new technology that will improve guest experience. 

  • How the ‘Internet of Things’ is set to revolutionise the way hotels operate: from the clever monitoring of power and water usage through to predicting a maintenance problem before it occurs.
  • Are robots the new ‘talent’ to recruit in hospitality
  • The future of VR in changing the face of the hospitality industry
  • How facial recognition technology is changing our business

Darryl Erasmus, chief quality assurance officer, Tourism Grading Council of South Africa
Esther Mc Lean, senior manager, solutions, Grant Thornton 
Chris Alexandre, chief executive officer & founder, 
Simeon Tassev, managing director, Galix Networking

15:00 – 15:45

Getting personal, staying social – why data interpretation is the ultimate intelligence 
Discover why the data you already have from guests can transform your business: appeal to their needs and your profitability will improve. Understand the information you already have and transform your marketing strategy. 
There’s a revolution underway in the hospitality sector led by those who recognise that guest engagement is the key to success. A happy guest will be a returning guest. 
Hotel operators know more than they realise about the person who visits, say data analysts, and understanding how to use that information will boost profits. Your data means you know guests’ interests and personalise accordingly, increasing the opportunity for direct bookings. 
Chris Alexandre, chief executive officer & founder, 
Guest Revu
Lindelwa Isabella, executive marketing manager – hotels, Tsogo Sun

16:00 – 16:45

Raising the bar – it’s about more than a drink at the end of a busy day 
The hotel bar used to be considered a necessary guest convenience. Now it is a profit-making destination not just for guests, but for visitors already in the area and increasingly it is part of the community. 
Don’t just keep those visitors from out of town happy, you have a huge potential audience on your doorstep who live there. 
We look at the development of drinks in hotel bars and restaurants and the choices that keep the visitors coming back. 
David Clarke, vice chairman, South African Sommelier Association (SASA)
Pieter Oosthuizen, mixologist, Kegtails
Michael Agar, brew master, Agar Brewery

Conference Day 3

27 JUNE 2017


11:00 – 11:45

Creating the perfect leisure and resort experience
Adding leisure and entertainment to your establishment will enable you to tap into more guests and spend, whether spa, beauty, activites or waterparks. How can you expand your offering and reap the benefits, what it gives your customers and why you need to diversify from the traditional model in order to succeed in creating great guest experiences. 
Wesley Grobler, executive director, Warison Gemel
Grant Sandham, group sales & marketing manager, Premier Hotels & Resorts 
Jean Hanekom, hotel operations manager, Emperors Palace
Robert Hodson, general manager; marketing and sales, Legacy Hotels & Resorts

Raul de Lima, resort general manager, Sun City Resorts, Sun International

12:00 – 12:30

What’s cooking?
Top chefs reveal their kitchen secrets and explain how they meet the demands of increasingly discerning diners at some of the country’s top restaurants. 
These big names offer a glimpse into one of the most exciting sectors of the hospitality sector, including. 

  • Why quick service still means great food
  • Why South Africa is one of the world’s top food destinations
  • Cut your waste – boost your profit. Some new ideas
  • Trending local produce
  • What diners want

Blake Anderson, complex executive chef, Monte Casino, Tsogo Sun 
Tyron Lumley, executive chef, Fairlawn Boutique Hotel & Spa 
Lorraine Jenks, sustainability facilitator, greening, ethical food activist and climate change leader

12:45 – 13:30

How to successfully transfer your brand DNA to your staff 
Engaged employees build strong brands. Recruiting, training and retaining your staff must be a top priority. One of the most powerful assets you have is your people. Building a strong brand requires that all employees feel connected to the restaurant, hotel or cafe and understand their role in delivering on the promises you make. If you’re not inspiring your talent to be brand ambassadors, you’re missing out. 
Nokuthula Kamwendo, director of human resources, Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliffe
Ashnie Muthusamy
, talent manager, 
Sun International 
Graphnot Ruwona, human resources director, Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
Thandeka Kase, human resource manager, Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton
Peter Thomas, cluster human resource manager, Hilton

13:45 – 14:15

How to attract and secure business and MICE tourism
Southern Africa’s hospitality sector is enjoying an increase in business visitors for the MICE sector (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions). Hotels across the region have the facilities to accommodate business tourists in large groups but there is evidence that they don’t know how to attract or win custom in this lucrative growth sector. (If you can cater for wedding parties, you can be accommodate convention visitors). 
This session examines 

  • How to prepare for site visits by potential organisers
  • What is expected and how to provide it
  • Top tips on winning convention business
  • Becoming a key MICE destination
  • Success stories

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, chief convention bureau officer, National Convention Bureau
Adriaan Liebetrau, sales and marketing manager, Sandton, Tsogo Sun
Lindy Cambouris, business development manager: national, Cape Town International Convention Centre

14:25 – 15:05

Security: beating cyber crime 
Technology is vital to the way you operate but can also provide a gateway for criminals. 
Hilton Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin Oriental and the Trump Collection are among the big operators who admit payments systems have been compromised in the past few years by hackers hunting for credit card details. 
In January, a top European hotel paid a ransom to cyber blackmailers who had hacked the electronic key system. 
So, if the leisure industry is the cyber criminals’, what can you do to minimise the risk? 

Why investing in high-tech security is the future of smart hotels, how can I anticipate risk? 
Paul Beyleveld, consulting systems engineer, Security Sales: Sub-Saharan Africa, Cisco
Kris Budnik, partner: risk assurance – cyber security and privacy, PwC
Simeon Tassev, managing director, Galix Networking

15:15 – 16:00

Responsible tourism offers Africa the chance to set the standard worldwide 
By 2024 it is estimated that 5 per cent of the global holiday market will be made up of people who want their destination to be eco-friendly. To survive every hotel will need to prove its sustainable credentials or face a loss of business. From this year South African Tourism is now grading hotels on their eco credentials. 
Corporate business already recognises that sustainable practise is a vital demand from shareholders and customers. Their employees who travel are increasingly expected to justify their carbon footprint too – including the hotels in which they choose to stay. 
Sustainability is a vital part of the hospitality industry’s future and in developing markets, like Africa, there is an opportunity to incorporate sustainable practice from the very beginning. 
Lorraine Jenks, sustainability facilitator, greening, ethical food activist and climate change leader
James Peech, founder, The Peech Boutique Hotel
Mandy Clifton- Smith, Group Environmental Manager, Sun International
Miles Oates, chief executive officer, Solarus 

*Conference programme subject to change