Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

09 – 11 April 2019

AHIC Village, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

2018 Session

Tapping into the Millennial Mindset, why investors need to broaden their thinking

Benoît-Etienne Domenget photo

Graduating from HEC business school in Paris, Benoît-Etienne Domenget started his career with Accor Group, managing different hotel properties before joining the corporate office as Senior Vice-President Development to head the group’s strategic development in Europe, Middle-East and Africa (EMEA) regions.
From 2011 to 2015, Benoit-Etienne acted as Managing Director of Accor Switzerland, leading the expansion of the brand portfolio in the Swiss market and directly supervising its 55 properties. He was then called to the helm of Michel Reybier Hospitality Group, including luxury hotels such as La Réserve and Victoria-Jungfrau Collection, vineyards and wellness businesses.

In January 2017, Benoît-Etienne was appointed CEO of the newly-formed Sommet Education, encompassing the prestigious Swiss hospitality management schools of Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education with branch campuses in Switzerland, Spain, UK, US, China and Jordan. The group was founded following the institutions’ acquisition by French investment company Eurazeo.
“The unique positioning of Sommet Education and its institutions combining prestige, excellence and an international outlook, paired with the demand for world-renowned quality education offers the potential for the group to become the market leader in its category.”

Michael Bisordi photo

Michael Bisordi founded Tungsten Partners 13 years as a private holdings company based in New York and which now has ownership in roughly 30 companies ranging from consumer products, fashion, art, real estate and hospitality, including The Ace Hotel brand/operating company.

Prior to this and after graduation from Cornell University, Arts & Sciences, Michael spent roughly six years split between The Global Real Estate Finance Group at Lehman Brothers and following that, on the Global Acquisitions team at Starwood Capital Group, with a focus on Europe.  

Tungsten Partners is the longest standing owner in the Ace Hotels. For roughly 10 years, Tungsten Partners was charged with selecting cities and properties for respective locations of Ace Hotels globally as well as many of the brand's well known creative partnerships, until the death of Ace's founder and majority owner Alex Calderwood after which Tungsten has moved on to pursue other projects but remains an owner in the company. 

Tungsten currently owns equity stakes in multiple different hospitality brands and hotel properties including, but also separate from Ace. Tungsten is currently increasing its activity in global "place-making" and cultural engineering, bringing to bear its decade of experience with Ace and Tungsten's various active partnerships in other creative brands. Tungsten's role of hotel "producer", which can exist independent of any brand, is based on creating an impactful, localized, customized narrative for select properties globally, under a new strategy Tungsten describes as "meta-branding."

Olivier Harnisch photo

An international hospitality management leader with over 30 years of experience, Olivier Harnisch is the Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group. He is mandated with driving the overall operations of the organisation with a focus on setting new benchmarks for Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai and other international markets. 

He is responsible for the overall management strategy for 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, and the pipeline of over 30 projects in the UAE – in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah - as well as in international markets including Egypt, Maldives, Bahrain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

With the goal of national and international expansion as well as enhancing productivity and profitability, Olivier leads the company in unlocking the potential of its three hotel brands – the premium luxury brand Address Hotels + Resorts, the upscale lifestyle brand Vida Hotels and Resorts, and the contemporary midscale brand Rove Hotels.

He is also responsible for the leisure clubs under Emaar Hospitality Group and the Lifestyle Dining assets. In addition, he will focus on further enhancing guest experiences and implementing new strategies that create long-term value for all stakeholders.

Olivier joins Emaar from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels, where he was Chief Operating Officer, responsible for a portfolio of over 350 leased, managed and franchised hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He has acquired in-depth expertise in all aspects of the hospitality business through multiple leadership roles across four continents. He has significant regional and international experience in both hotel and restaurant operations.

Olivier started his career in 1986, and was initially associated with individual hotels, food and beverage operations and airlines for over 13 years, enabling him to gain strong insights in classic hospitality and in developing compelling guest experiences.

He then worked for over 14 years with an international hotel chain where he held the position of Vice President for Northern and Central Europe, before taking up his last role in 2012.

Olivier holds an MSc in Organisational Behaviour from the University of London, an MBA in International Finance from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and a Degree in Hospitality Management from Berlin School of Hotel Administration. Having worked across the globe, Olivier is fluent in six languages.

Amar Lalvani photo

Amar Lalvani is CEO & Managing Partner of Standard International (the parent company of Standard Hotels), CEO of Bunkhouse Group and CEO of One Night. Prior to leading the investment and formation of Standard International he was Chief Investment Officer for Andre Balazs Properties and held various executive roles with Hilton Worldwide and Starwood Hotels & Resorts including leading the global development of W Hotels. Prior to that, Amar worked for The Blackstone Group and began his career with Starwood Capital Group. In addition to serving on the Boards of Standard International, Bunkhouse Group and One Night, he currently serves on the Board of Twyla and was a founding Board member of Peloton Interactive. Amar has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

María Zarraluqui photo

María Zarraluqui is Global Development Managing Director for Meliá Hotels International Group, she is heading the worldwide development for the Group and is responsible for executing together with her team of developers the growth strategy of Meliá worldwide, having signed over the last 3 years more than 110 deals worldwide.  María holds a Law degree from the University of Navarra in Spain, as well as a Master’s degree in Enterprises Legal Consultancy for the Deusto University in, Spain, a Postgraduate degree in Urban Development Law from the UIB University and got a Mention of honour as number 1 of the 2008-2009 Executive Tourist MBA, IE Business School, in Spain. She joined Meliá´s legal Department in 1999, on 2008 she joined the Development team as Development Director and was promoted to Global Development Managing Director in 2011.