Hotel & Catering News Middle East, a BNC Publishing monthly, has announced the judges for its Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2020, due to take place on April 6, 2020.
Meet the Judges
Chief Executive Officer, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) since June 2019, brings a wealth of industry experience to aid the continued growth of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world.
Phillips joins RAKTDA from the Dubai based International Hospitality Consulting Group INHOCO, where he was senior partner and senior vice president of development, responsible for hotel project pipelines exceeding $5 billion in assets. He is also the co-founder and CEO of SugarMoo Desserts, Dubai’s first online dessert delivery bakery and co-founder of Earth Hotels, a sustainable, tech-forward and design-centric hotel concept.
CEO and Founder, Virtual Solutions Global Ltd. and TV Personality Dawn Gribble has over 20 years of experience working with hospitality, and food and beverage brands, and has partnered with award-winning boutique hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, international food brands, celebrity chefs and influencers.
Gribble has appeared on numerous top TV shows, including MasterChef and is an Expert Judge on The Restaurant Talent Show. She is the founder and chief strategist of Virtual Solutions Global, a boutique marketing agency specialising in the hospitality industry, with offices in Dubai and the UK.
Gustavo de Hostos
Managing Partner, H-Hospitality Dubai
Gustavo is the managing partner of H-Hospitality for the MENA region. He has spent the last seven years establishing and heading up the main office in Dubai, with a weekly presence in the KSA to oversee high-end hotel and restaurant projects for the upscale segment.
Gustavo’s expertise ranges from the business and operations divisions of hospitality and F&B, all the way to Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH) design and execution components. The managing partner and his team have spent the past few years focusing on growth, being the first in the industry to offer full in-house strategic and operational planning, concept development and design solutions (FOH and BOH) for upscale hospitality and F&B projects in the MENA region.
CEO, sps:affinity – Strategic Partnership Solutions
Martin Kubler is a hotel GM and hospitality and service industries consultant with 20+ years of executive-level management experience in hotels, in Europe and the Middle East, and interim-and board-level consulting experience in Africa and Asia.
Kubler is the founder of Iconsulthotels, a boutique hospitality, leisure, and tourism consulting firm, and the CEO of sps:affinity, a Dubai-headquartered business advisory and consulting company. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a frequent speaker at hotel, marketing and customer service conferences and events, and a regular contributor to industry websites and publications.
Partner – Hospitality and Leisure, Knight Frank
Manzoor has been in the Middle East since 2011, primarily working on hospitality development projects throughout the MENA region. In this time, he has worked with developers, investors and governmental institutions on feasibility studies, concept definition, pricing strategies and optimum site use for both large-scale multi-use projects and stand-alone assets.
Manzoor has worked with major hotel operators to develop market-entry strategies for new markets, and also helped developers successfully select operators for hospitality assets across the region.
Talal Al Rashed
Hospitality Consultant and Social Media Influencer
A Kuwaiti hospitality consultant and social media influencer who has been based in Dubai for the past six years, Al Rashed has shifted from his career in accounting, investment banking and real estate, to hospitality by studying in one of the world’s top hotel schools: Glion, and worked at different hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, Turkey, Saudi and the UAE.
Now, he travels to experience hotels and airlines, as well as luxury and dining scenes around the world and works with different lifestyle brands. Al Rashed is a public figure who leveraged social media to reach out to an elite following from the GCC region, Middle East and entire world. A global influencer, he has collaborated with many hospitality and lifestyle brands around the region.