Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

09 – 11 April 2019

AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

2018 Session

Agreements of the 21st Century

Vikram Loomba photo

Vikram is a director in the Real Estate, Hospitality, and Leisure Advisory Services division of PwC Middle East. He received a Master of Management degree in Hospitality Management with specialization in Real Estate Development and Finance from Cornell University, New York. His operational and advisory experience in real estate and hospitality spans over 23 years across several countries in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, and North America. Prior to joining PwC, Vikram worked for Ernst & Young, and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in various management positions.

Louis Abboud,  photo

Louis Abi Abboud has diverse experience within the hospitality industry, having served on the property owner side as well as the hotel operator side.

He began his career in hotel operations with Starwood Hotel and Resorts at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in California where he held management positions for a couple of years, before joining the Saudi Bin Ladin Group in Jeddah, as part of their Asset Management team overseeing a 3000+ keys portfolio of hotels in Makkah. Louis later moved to Dubai, joining international consultancy firm HVS. He then moved to Asset Management & Business Planning at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, to work part of the team overseeing eleven internationally branded properties in addition to several new hotel developments across the region.

Since November 2014, Louis joined the development team of AccorHotels middle east.

Louis graduated from Sagesse University’s Faculty of Hospitality Management with an academic certification of École hôtelière de Lausanne with a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Management. He also holds a certification in Real Estate Investment and Asset Management from Cornell University.

Joby Beretta photo

Joby Beretta is the Founder and Director of The Bench FZE.  He advises hotel owners, investors and operators on a range of hospitality projects around the world.  Joby has negotiated hotel management agreements for some of the most iconic hotels in the region such as Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al Arab and mixed-use hotel projects such as The Address Jumeirah Resort + Spa.  Prior to establishing The Bench, Joby was Senior Legal Counsel at Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts and more recently Partner and Head of Hotels & Leisure for the Middle East at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.   

Joby is recognised as a leading hotel lawyer in the UAE by Chambers & Partners Real Estate 2018, which noted: "Joby Beretta of The Bench FZE is described by sources as "very sharp, with strong technical and commercial acumen, and he's effective at handling clients." Market commentators frequently note his expertise in the hospitality and leisure sector."

The Bench FZE is an innovative legal services provider offering cost-effective legal services and legal recruitment.   Established in the United Arab Emirates, The Bench responds to the demand for a boutique law firm specialising in the Middle East hospitality and F&B sectors.  The deep bench of lawyers have ‘Big Law’ training but ‘New Law’ mindsets and are recognised year after year by Who’s Who Legal, Legal 500 and Chambers.

Panos Loupasis photo

Panos, a Greek national holds a BSc in Economics from the Aristotelian University in Greece and an MBA in International Hospitality Management from IMHI, a program established by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

Panos, started his career in the hospitality industry on an operational level in properties in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

He moved to the Middle East in 2003 as cluster Revenue Manager for ACCOR in Dubai before moving into the field of business development with Holiday Inn Express where his contribution was instrumental for the introduction of the brand in the GCC.

In 2007 Panos joined The Rezidor Hotel Group as Regional Director of Business Development where he drove growth for Rezidor through the execution of management contracts. In 2009 he joined Taameer Real Estate Investment Co where he undertook various tasks ranging from business development, to equity raising, asset- and project management.

Panos joined the Wyndham Hotel Group as Senior Director of Development for MEA in September 2011 to drive growth in the Middle East and Africa under management and franchise contracts. He got promoted in November 2015 to Vice President Development MEA. In this role Panos leads the company’s growth strategy and execution, which now features more than 75 hotels operational or under development across MEA.

Costas Verginis photo

Costas is a hospitality professional with 20+ years experience in the hospitality industry. Costas has served the hospitality industry in various capacities, namely hotel operations, hospitality education, hospitality consultancy and since January 2013 hotel development.

Costas started his education in a traditional Swiss Hotel School, followed by Master and Doctoral degrees in the UK. His PhD thesis is in the area of real estate finance and specifically on hotel feasibilities and valuations.

Costas held various operational roles in hotels in Switzerland, Cyprus and the UK, and taught hospitality related courses in the UK, Greece and the UAE.

Between 2006 and 2012 Costas led Deloitte’s hospitality and real estate Middle East consulting team, and in this capacity he has advised many developers and hotel owners across the Middle East in areas of strategic growth, business planning, growth strategy, asset management, hotel operator selection, feasibility studies, and market trend analysis.

Since January 2013, Costas joined the Marriott International lodging development team, with focus on the markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.