Collaboration and innovation at Serviced Apartment Summit MEA

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 18 September 2019


UAE: hospitality and real estate leaders gathered at Rove hotel and letswork, Dubai Marina this week for Serviced Apartment Summit MEA 2019.

The audience and the agenda reflected the rapidly changing hospitality landscape in the UAE. Attendees included representatives from the short-term rental, serviced apartment, hotel, co-working and supplier sectors.

After event host Piers Brown welcomed the audience, Kirsty Heaton, coach at Mindful ME, led a short meditation session to allow this in attendance to clear their minds, in order to make the most of the day.

This was followed by a presentation and lively Q&A with Hadi Moussa, Airbnb's general manager for the UK, Northern Europe and MEA, which touched on the company's drive to provide experiential travel, the Luxe upscale offer, and its aim toward with more hotels and serviced apartment providers. Moussa said the UAE region had "huge potential" for growth in the short-tern rental sector and said that Airbnb is in constant discussion with the Dubai authorities over regulation in the emirate.

Christopher Lund, head of hotels at Colliers International MEA then gave a comprehensive overview of the mixed-use, serviced apartment and short-term rental models in the region, including top tips on managing inventory, strategy, and positioning for success.

Simon Townsend, senior director and strategic advisor at CBRE Middle East then hosted a panel discussion looking at owner and operator strategies in the region. Panellists Anil Bhardwaj, director of A.A Almoosa Enterprises; Sherman Ho, VP development, Oakwood and Simon Hasdell, VP hospitality asset management, IFA Hotels and Resorts discussed their perspectives as hotel developers, serviced apartment operators and holiday home operators respectively.

Ali Manzoor, partner, hospitality and leisure development consultancy (MENA), Knight Frank Middle East, then presented a market analysis of Dubai holiday homes, looking at Airbnb and how the peer to peer sharing economy in the emirate is shaping the hospitality real estate sector. He then hosted a discussion panel in the growth of the sector featuring representatives from Airbnb, Maison Privee and GuestReady.

After a coffee break, the first of a new format for the event took place - interactive session which saw the audience divided in to groups to discuss industry topics, with group leaders then feedback interesting ideas to the collective. The first session looked at the co-living and co-working sectors and saw some great teamwork and collaboration from those involved.

Following lunch, Jonathan Humphries, chairman of HoCoSo, presented a case study about micro-living brand Stay Koook, and then led another collaborative session, this time a development workshop combining investors and operators interests to create an innovative extended stay concept.

Four innovative companies in the MEA region then spoke about their vision - presenters were Rana Mukherji of Hotelier Coin, Khurram Shroff of IBC Group, Khaled El Sayyad, of Prime Residential, and Mahwussh Alam of OnePerfectStay.

The day was rounded off by a prize draw and drinks in the Rove hotel's restaurant, The Daily, with many attendees reflecting how the collaborative and wide ranging agenda accurately reflected the state of the hospitality industry in the UAE.

To download speaker presentations click here.

Event feedback

"I've very much enjoyed it. It has a very interesting agenda and there have been good opportunities for networking, I've made some good contacts. It's a good format and hopefully next year we can be more involved."
Rico, Picenoni, executive director of development, residential and extended stay, Accor

"It’s been great. I love the new format, it’s been really interactive. There's a great mix here of suppliers, owners and developers, and we see this as a great strategic event to get our name known across the region."
Paul Stocker, VP operations, Oakwood

"We’ve been to a lot of different conferences and events but I’ve never seen such a dynamic event - everyone has come here ready with ideas and discussion points. Meeting the guys from Airbnb here and all these different companies I didn’t know were in the region was really beneficial to me."
Omar Al Mheiri, co-founder, letswork

"It's been great to see platforms and OTAs like and Airbnb being represented here. It is important for them to be here with us and they have sent senior people here. This provides us with opportunities to speak with them and discuss the direction of the industry moving into the future."
Paul Mallee, co-founder and MD of Maison Privee

"I had a great time. There have been some great discussions and I would definitely recommend that people attend."
Panos Loupasis, VP development, Middle East & Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

"It's been a great exchange of information and it's good to see people from all disciplines of the hospitality sector represented here today. It's given us lots of thoughts for how to come together and make our businesses more sustainable."
Mahwussh Alan, co-founder and MD, OnePerfectStay

"I love these new concepts and I am enjoying the high level of engagement from the audience. I was in moderating a session after lunch and thought everyone would stay out but that wasn't the case. There are people present from all over the industry and they are coming with ideas wanting to contribute. The place we're in is different but it's nice to be somewhere different as we're sick of boardrooms all the time!"
Rami Shamaa, co-founder and MD, Maison Privee



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