17th Edition of HICSA successfully concludes
Hotelivate hosted the 17th Edition of its Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA) at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai on 6 and 7 April 2022. This annual event is India’s largest hospitality investment conference and this year it saw well over 400 delegates in attendance representing various businesses across the hospitality spectrum which indicated a turning point in the industry’s recovery.
After a hiatus because of a global pandemic, a completely in-person conference was a much-needed welcome change. A collection of presentations, keynotes, interviews and panel discussions covered a plethora of themes and topics as industry stalwarts addressed the challenges hospitality has faced in the past two years and highlighted the growth potential and investment opportunities going forward. The two-day hospitality focused conference was indeed a success as it provided a much-needed boost to one of the worst-affected industries in the country with some of its most prominent thought-leaders and trend-setters uniting under one roof. This year was also unique as it saw an amazing gender representation with more than 20% women speakers as well as new perspectives being shared with 55% speakers as first time speakers.
Commenting on the 17th anniversary of HICSA, Manav Thadani, Founder Chairman of Hotelivate said, “The feedback received has been over-whelming and heartening. The hospitality industry was in dire need of some positivity and we do hope that HICSA has been able to be that platform. All the sessions were extremely well received in terms of attendance as well as content. We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from our delegates, patrons, speakers and sponsors. None of this would have been possible without them”.
Day 1 of the conference started with a Power Networking session which was something unique this year. It allowed the delegates to exchange business cards and get acquainted before the sessions began. The keynote sessions, interviews and plenary panels were all content-rich and provided valuable insights to the changing hospitality landscape. Delegates were seeing taking down copious notes as notable speakers such as Jesper Palmqvist, Area Director Asia Pacific STR, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO, OYO, Aaditya Thackeray, Hon. Minister of Tourism and Environment & Protocol, Government of Maharashtra, Aditya Ghosh, Co-Founder Akasa, Board Member – Fabindia, OYO and Homage were speaking. Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Limited was felicitated with a lifetime achievement award, celebrating a professional journey like no other. He was seen attending the event with his family.
The day closed with the ‘HICSA Hotels of the Year Awards’ presented by MakeMyTrip, that recognizes the most remarkable new hotel developments in the South Asian region. The winner of the Critics’ Choice Award was Six Senses Fort Banwara, Rajasthan and the winners across the other six categories were: Taj Lakefront, Bhopal – Madhya Pradesh in the Luxury/Upper Upscale Hotel – Urban Segment; Raffles Resort, Udaipur – Rajasthan in the Luxury/Upper Upscale Hotel – Leisure Segment; Vivanta Pakyong – Sikkim in the Upscale Hotel Segment; Fairfield By Marriott, Benaulim – Goa in the Upper Mid-Market Segment; Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Sonamarg – Jammu &Kashmir in the Mid-Market Segment and Ginger Gajuwaka, Visakhapatnam – Andhra Pradesh in the Budget/Economy Segment.
Consistent with the HICSA tradition, Day 2 of the conference featured many relevant panel and group discussions as well as a few keynote sessions with industry leaders. All the sessions saw a fantastic response and some thought-provoking Q&A from the audience. Sessions like Island Hospitality discussed burning current issues while sessions like India Tourism Unleashed – Picture Abhi Baaki Hai and Trial by Fire: Travel & Tourism were centered around changing traveler sentiments. While the session on Real Estate: The Best Asset Class for Returns was extremely insightful, the session titled How Will Management Contract Evolve – Post Pandemic left delegates wanting for more.
The conference ultimately concluded with the famous “Hot Seat Debate” moderated by Manav Thadani, which put the spotlight on its panelists, bringing it all out in the open. The panel had Kapil Chopra, Founder and CEO, The Postcard Hotel, Priya Paul, Chairperson, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, JB Singh, President & CEO, InterGlobe Hotels, Snehdeep Aggarwal, Founder-Chairman, Bhartiya Group and Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and VP Operations – South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, and with this, it brought an end to the most exciting two days.