Gaurav’s experience in the hospitality industry commenced with Hilton Worldwide in 1997 where in his last role he was appointed as the Area Director for Marketing across Middle East & Asia Pacific. He subsequently established IWG | Insignia Worldwide Group in 2003, a strategic consultancy offering strategy branding, design and communication services for travel, hospitality and destination brands.

Gaurav has developed some of the world’s most revered brands and works with over 180 hotels across 20 countries, nearly 165 restaurants, and 30 wellness and leisure brands. He is on the Advisory Board of AHIC (Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference) and a strategic partner of HAMA (Hotel Asset Managers Association), as well as the founder of The Travel Marketing Council. He is listed at #47 amongst the 100 Most Influential Indians in the GCC by Arabian Business magazine and also nominated as Indian Entrepreneur of the Year, by Entrepreneur magazine in UAE. As much a philanthropist as an entrepreneur, Gaurav is the co-founder of Harmony House, a day-shelter for 500 destitute children in India.

Jurgen Baumhoff



Jurgen is a celebrated hotelier whose experience over the past 44 years has seen him lead from senior management positions across several international brands like Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, IHG, Marriott, Moevenpick, Hyatt, including his post as the COO for Emaar Hospitality.

His solid expertise in hospitality operations, finance, development, and marketing runs deep and spans operator selection, management agreement negotiations and review, asset management, pre-opening consultancy, operational audits, recruitment, F&B advisory, and partner selection.




René brings a seasoned history in hospitality management, operations, finance, investments, asset management, and business development.  He has led business development and growth initiatives internationally as prime driver of investments, asset management, and new business development for Sovereign Wealth Funds, Government, Public & Private Companies, Royal Families, HNWI, as well as Family Offices. In his past role as Vice President Asset Management of Dubai Investment Group, Rene's responsibilities included the asset management of the international hotel and real estate asset portfolio of Dubai Holding, which included Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts amongst other international real estate assets.

René is one of the founding members of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association MEA (HAMA MEA). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management from Boston University, with a Minor in Marketing and a Master’s degree in Finance and Economics, and today is a member of the Advisory Board to Boston University School of Hospitality.




Before establishing The Chief Guest Officer, a Dubai-based guest experience advisory for hotels and restaurants, Alana led the accelerated global growth of Revinate (the hospitality industry’s leading online reputation and guest satisfaction technology) in the Middle East and Africa, launching Revinate’s Dubai and Cape Town offices.

Having worked in the Middle East for the past 10 years, Alana began her career in a communications and branding advisory role in the MEA market predominately in the hospitality, tourism, and development verticals. Alana holds a Masters Degree in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas and a double-major Bachelors Degree in Spanish and Arabic from the University of Virginia.




Specializing in private equity, hospitality, leisure and real estate, Stefan has built his 23 year career in the investment, advisory, and management consulting sectors.

As the former Vice President of Investment for The Abraaj Group in Dubai, Stefan has garnered considerable expertise as a principal in the direct investment space, taking a lead role in the successful conceptualization, strategy, and development of multiple projects, including the Capital Club DIFC in Dubai and for the UAE developer Enshaa PSC – owner and developer of Emirates Financial Towers DIFC, Palazzo Versace Dubai hotel and D1 residential tower in Dubai. He has been part of principal teams which have led the successful development of real estate projects regionally to the tune of AED 1.5B in development value.