Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

09 – 11 April 2019

AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

2018 Session

CDO in the Hot Seat

Jonathan Worsley photo

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events, is one of the founders and organisers of multiple leading international conferences for the hotel investment industry, including the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, now in its 14th year, The Summit in London, the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum.

More recently, Jonathan and his team have entered the Latin America market partnering with SAHIC in Cuba and Buenos Aires and the inaugural Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.

Bench Events has also branched out into the related fields of aviation and F&B, with the respective launches of AviaDev Africa, inaugurated in 2016, and The Global Restaurant Investment Forum now in its fourth year.

In 1997, Jonathan was one of the founding members of the annual International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, a conference he subsequently organised for 19 years, which today attracts over 2,000 delegates. Earlier in his career, Jonathan worked for real estate consultants CBRE & Hotel Partners, hotel advisors PKF and hotel operator Forte & Holiday Inns.

Jonathan sits as a shareholder and board director of STR, a global benchmarking company with over 50,000 participating hotels following the merger of The Bench, STR and Deloitte’s Hotel Benchmark. He sits on the board of Hotel Swaps, which allows participating members to swap empty hotel rooms with other members around the globe and is an investor in TripTease, the tech start-up that enables hotels to increase direct sales and aims to defeat rate disparity.

Jonathan and his colleagues are actively involved raising money for the communities in which Bench Events works. They raised more than £200,000 for TUSK, Cancer Research and the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation by participating in the Kili Madness challenge and breaking the World Record for the highest game of cricket ever played on top of Kilimanjaro. In 2016, Jonathan cycled from Amsterdam to Berlin with nine others for the opening of IHIF and raised funds for the Anne Frank Trust and Future Talent, a feat he will tackle again in 2017.

Jonathan is a Trustee of Future Talent, a charity that provides financial support to gifted young musicians in need of financial assistance to pursue their dreams and talent.

Elie Younes photo

Elie leads Radisson Hotel Group’s expansions across Europe, the Middle East & Africa with an international team of 25 executives based in Brussels, Moscow, Barcelona, Milan, London, Oslo, Dubai, Frankfurt and Cape Town. Under his leadership, the group has launched and delivered an active asset light strategy with a solid pipeline of 120 hotels and opened over 110 hotels across EMEA.

He is focused on driving organic growth but also helps drive the company’s expansion related acquisitions, as well as the growth into new business concepts on alternative lodging.

He has recently re-engineered Radisson Hotel Group’s development strategy to focus on an asset right growth and accordingly adjusted the organization and its corresponding capabilities for execution. He has a clear vision on delivering a compelling value proposition to investment stakeholders and is on a mission to have this executed, globally. Elie’s cultural background and lifestyle accelerates his stamina and ability to be nimble, anticipate and act fast – decisively.

A Lebanese national and English citizen, Elie began his career in managerial roles in his home country, before joining HVS in London in 2001. He progressed quickly to the position of Director (and a Designate MD) with HVS within 5 years. He also authored a number of publications on hotel performance assessments and investments. In 2007, he joined Starwood in London as Senior Director of Acquisitions and Development. His next move took him to Hilton Hotels Worldwide as Vice President Development, based in Dubai, before joining Rezidor in 2010, as Vice President of Business Development for the Middle East and Africa. In January 2013, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Business Development EMEA, and then to Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer two years later.

Elie is fluent in English, French and Arabic and loves exploring new cultures around the world. He is educated in Beirut, Paris, New York and London, at universities like Notre Dame, IMHI/Essec, Insead, Cornell University, Johnson Graduate Business School and City University.