Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

17 – 19 April 2018

AHIC Village, Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Purchase Pass

2018 Session

Discussion Room – Round table: Manchise – What are the benefits?

Philippe Bijaoui photo

Philippe Bijaoui, WYNDHAM HOTEL GROUP’s Chief Development Officer for Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa (EMEA) has more than 20 years of hotel real estate and development experience in markets across EMEA and most recently served as Vice President Development Europe for InterContinental Hotel Group, where he defined and implemented the development strategy for the region. He has also previously held senior development roles with Rezidor, Club Med, HVS International, City Hotels S.A. and Groupe Immobilière Hôtelière. Bijaoui has a Master of Business Administration from I.M.H.I. Cornell, and speaks multiple European languages. 

Elias Hayek  photo

Elias Hayek leads the global Hospitality & Leisure Group at Squire Patton Boggs, a leading international law firm with 1500 lawyers in 46 offices across 21 countries. He is a widely respected hospitality lawyer with over two decades of cross-jurisdictional professional experience in the hospitality sector, including in sector specific corporate and commercial transactions; management, licensing, franchising and service agreements; hospitality M&A and joint ventures; hotel project leasing agreements; mixed use and branded residential developments; sale and lease / manage back transactions; and food and beverage, restaurant and health and wellness management and licensing agreements.   Over his career, Elias closed over 350 hospitality and leisure projects across virtually every major city in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.

Elias is the current Vice Chair of the Leisure Industries Section of the International Bar Association (IBA) representing more than 80,000 individual lawyers spanning over 160 countries; He is charged with leading the hospitality and leisure initiatives for the IBA.  Elias also holds two other leadership positions in the IBA.  He is also the former president of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Middle East chapter, a position he held from its formation and launch until 2017.  

Prior to joining the firm, Elias worked for 17 years at a leading Fortune 500 international hotel brands owner and operator, where his last role was as vice president, Legal – Europe, Middle East and Africa Division. During this time, Elias worked in both the Brussels and Dubai offices and was responsible for overseeing all regional legal matters in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean, including advising corporate executives and hotel management on  operations, acquisitions, development, HR, sales and marketing, dispute resolution, litigation and arbitration.

Elias is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Global Board



Patrick Smith photo

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Patrick has been a pivotal founding member of the company, joining IFA Hotels & Resorts in 2004 supporting the company’s international expansion, before heading the Middle East Development team, and then subsequently joining IFA Hotel Investments in 2010 to assist building what is now the IFA Real Estate Services Group.

The IFA Real Estate Services Group comprises more than 20 real estate related service companies organized into six business divisions. The Group provides fully integrated hospitality, facility and real estate services on a contract and consumer basis within its separate integrated business streams serving each sector. Patrick leads the operational and strategic direction of the Group in support of the Company’s Vice Chairman.

Prior to joining IFA, Patrick was Schooled via The Savoy Group's Management Training Programme in London followed by five years feasibility and valuation consulting with PKF and HVS International covering Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Filippo Sona photo

Filippo Sona has been in the global hotel industry for the past 20 years working for International hotel companies and consultancies in UK, USA, Middle East and North Africa. Filippo is specialized in destination and hotel development for mixed uses and stand alone projects, market & financial feasibility study, operator selection and strategic asset management. Filippo understanding of management agreements has been an invaluable skill to global law firms as an expert witness in International Arbitrations. His extensive operational background allows Filippo to provide true strategic operational and financial advice, to enhance hotel profitability and drive asset value. Filippo holds an MBA from Oxford Brooks University and an Honours Degree in Hospitality Management from Thames Valley University, London.