Dirk Dalichau, Ovolo Hotels
Dirk Dalichau, Ovolo Hotels

On the back of significant demand, the 2015 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) has been extended by a further half-day and the line-up of speakers now includes more CEOs, owners and investors from across the globe.

AHICE, being held at Grand Hyatt Melbourne, now starts at 10:30am on Wednesday April 29 and concludes at 5:00pm on Thursday April 30.

The news comes as hosts HM magazine can confirm almost 300 hotel executives, investors, owners and suppliers have already confirmed their attendance at the event, one that’s expected to sell-out in the coming weeks.

New global leaders confirming their attendance at AHICE include: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s President of Asia-Pacific, Thorsten Kirschke; Ovolo Hotels’ Chief Operating Officer, Dirk Dalichau; Pro-invest’s Managing Director, Ron Barrott; Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia’s CEO, Andrew Williams; and leading publican turned major hotel investor Arthur Laundy.

Carlson’s Thorsten Kirschke

Leading Australian restaurateur Luke Mangan, the consulting chef for Virgin Australia and P&O Cruises, and who has restaurants at Hilton Sydney and Hilton Surfers Paradise alongside ventures across Asia-Pacific, is also scheduled to now speak on the future of hotel restaurants globally.

New sessions also added to the two-day program include: the importance of Indigenous training and employment in Australia; an update on the new brands heading for Australasia (including Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn Express, Aloft and W); and the latest in technology, from Smart TVs to the Apple Watch opening doors in hotels.

Other key international speakers include Hilton Worldwide’s President of Asia-Pacific Martin Rinck, Accor Asia Pacific’s Chairman and CEO Michael Issenberg, Far East Hospitality CEO Arthur Kiong and Majid Al Futtaim’s CEO of Hotels, Simon Barlow.

Barlow was formerly the President of Asia Pacific for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and is travelling to the event from Dubai where he is heading one of the Middle East’s fastest growing hotel investment companies.

TFE Hotels Rachel Argaman
TFE Hotels’ Rachel Argaman

Local speakers confirmed for AHICE include Mantra Group’s Bob East, SilverNeedle’s Andrew Turner, Accor’s Simon McGrath, Pan Pacific’s Craig Bond, ICC Sydney CEO Geoff Donaghy, MCEC CEO Peter King, IHG’s Karin Sheppard, Quest’s Zed Sanjana, Choice’s Trent Fraser, TFE’s Rachel Argaman and more.

Key investors James Hines, Jerry Schwartz, IBA’s Mark Bullock, Pro-invest’s Phil Kasselis and Lancemore’s Julian Clark are also confirmed as speakers over the two day event.

Tourism Australia’s Managing Director John O’Sullivan is scheduled to give a keynote speech, while Tourism Industry Association New Zealand’s CEO Chris Roberts will provide an update on the hotel industry across the Tasman and Albury Mayor Kevin Mack till talk about the need for governments of all levels to support regional tourism.

Michael Issenberg
Accor’s Michael Issenberg

A new ‘meet the press’ session will also be held, whereby leading journalists will be asking CEOs about pressing issues in the hotel industry across Asia-Pacific and key members of the panel include the Australian Financial Review’s Property Reporter Larry Schlesinger, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Commercial Property Editor Carolyn Cummins and HM magazine’s Editor-In-Chief James Wilkinson.

Other topics at AHICE will also include Asian investment in Australasia, local investment, fund management and family investment alongside hotel development and key operations panels covering IT, F&B, human resources, hotel management contracts, OTAs, aviation and more.

AHICE remains focused on covering key operational topics, while the new investment panels have been added due to industry demand.

The official welcome reception, sponsored by Intrust Super, will be held at Park Hyatt Melbourne at 6:00pm on April 29 and is one of many networking events to be held throughout AHICE.

Sponsors of the event include: King Coil Commercial by AH Beard, Foxtel for Business, Fairmont Designs, Tourism Australia (gold); Avico, Bite Size Coffee Treats, Comp Now, RMS Hospitality Solutions, Nespresso, United Technologies, Vogels and Yardley Hospitality including Dometic and Samsung (silver); and Piazza D’Oro coffee (lanyard sponsor).

Supporters of the event include: Accor (diamond); IHG and Quest (platinum); AHL, Choice Hotels Australasia, Mantra Group, Marriott International, TFE Hotels and Wyndham (gold); and Best Western, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Hyatt and Starwood (silver).

Special thanks also to the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA), Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) and the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) for their continued support of the event.

For the full program and to book tickets to AHICE, visit www.ahice.com.au

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management